Installing and configuring ndiswrapper on SLED 10

This document (3558227) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10


There are many users out there that are tying to use wireless on Linux, only to find out that their particular chipset only has a windows driver. What can one do in this situation? Well SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10 comes with a module called ndiswrapper. This module creates a wrapper around a windows driver allowing it to communicate to Linux using the native windows driver.


Installation and Configuration

In the following solution we will be using a Dell D600 laptop which has a broadcom wireless chipset. Therefore the individual examples given may reflect files and results specific to this implementation, however you should be able to apply the same concept to the workstation and driver that you are using.

  1. Download your windows driver to some place on your Linux desktop. The driver files need to be the .sys and .inf files.

  2. Go to the Computer button and click on Install Software. Once the Software Installer (zen-updater) appears, type ndiswrapper in the search field. Select and install the ndiswrapper and ndiswrapper-kmp-(default, smp, or bigsmp) packages onto your workstation. The ndisrapper-kmp package must match the kernel-(default, smp, or bigsmp) you are running. If you are unsure what kernel you are running then you can open a terminal and type rpm -qa kernel* to find out. In this example, the kernel-default is installed, therefore the ndiswrapper-kmp-default is selected in conjunction with the ndiswrapper package.

    Note:If this is your first time using the Software Installer with this particular user, you will receive a prompt labeled Add Privileged User which will require that you know the root password. If you do not know the root password then please contact your system administrator.

  3. Once the software has been installed, open a terminal and su to root.


  4. Change to the directory where the .inf and .sys files are located.

    #cd wireless/

  5. Install the driver by typing ndiswrapper -idriver.inf where driver.inf is the actual name of the .inf file.

    #ndiswrapper -i bcmwl5a.inf
    Installing bcmwl5a
    Forcing parameter IBSSGMode|0 to IBSSGMode|2
    Forcing parameter IBSSGMode|0 to IBSSGMode|2
    Forcing parameter IBSSGMode|0 to IBSSGMode|2
    Forcing parameter IBSSGMode|0 to IBSSGMode|2
    Forcing parameter IBSSGMode|0 to IBSSGMode|2
    Forcing parameter IBSSGMode|0 to IBSSGMode|2
    Forcing parameter IBSSGMode|0 to IBSSGMode|2
    Forcing parameter IBSSGMode|0 to IBSSGMode|2
    Forcing parameter IBSSGMode|0 to IBSSGMode|2
    Forcing parameter IBSSGMode|0 to IBSSGMode|2

    Note:If you receive the error message "couldn't copy driver.inf at /usr/sbin/ndiswrapper line 135" then you have either typed in the wrong driver name or put in the wrong path.

  6. Now create an alias for the file by typing ndiswrapper -m.

    #ndiswrapper -m
    Adding "alias wlan0 ndiswrapper" to /etc/modprobe.d/ndiswrapper

  7. To load the module type modprobe ndiswrapper.

    #modprobe ndiswrapper

    After doing this you should see your wireless options show up under the NetworkManager. For example, if you right click on your NetworkManager you will see that Enable Wireless is checked.

Making the Connection Permanent

The modprobe ndiswrapper option will work until you reboot. Once the system has rebooted you will loose your wireless configuration unless you do one last bit of additional configuration. This information is split up into two sections, either of which can be used to make your connection permanent, but the Yast section should be used if additional configuration is needed (for example; static IP or the addition of and external wireless card).

Kernel File Method

To have this module load every time you reboot you need to add the module to the /etc/sysconfig/kernel file using your favorite editor. In this example the terminal is still in as root so we can edit the file by typing gedit /etc/sysconfig/kernel. Look for the line MODULES_LOADED_ON_BOOT="" and place ndiswrapper within the quotes. Save the file and it should now load when you reboot as well.


Note:If you are not editing the file as root then you will have a readonly copy and will not be able to save it.

Yast Method
  1. Click on Computer, Control Center, and select Yast under the System section. You will then be prompted to put in roots password.

  2. Select Network Card under the Network Devices section and click Next.

  3. Keep the Network Setup Method set to User Controlled with NetworkManager.

  4. Click Add under the Network Card Configuration Overview section and then change theDevice Typeto Wireless and type in ndiswrapper (all lower case) in the Module Name field. Note: The USB and PCMCIA options should only be checked if you are plugging in an external wireless card. The USB for a USB card and PCMCIA for an external PCI card.

  5. The next screen is the Network Address Setup. If you are going to be using NetworkManager to just connection to your wireless network via DHCP then you don't need to change anything with your configuration. If you need a static address then you can fill out the information accordingly. Note: If you are going to be setting up a static IP address, don't forget the Hostname... and Routing configuration buttons.

  6. This last screen is for filling out you wireless connection information. If you are going to just be connecting to a broadcasting access point then you don't need to fill out this information. However if you have wireless configuration that you would like to put in, the configuration option is their for you.


This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:3558227
  • Creation Date: 06-Oct-2006
  • Modified Date:03-Mar-2020
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop

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