Blind to both own Wifi hardware and external adapter

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A few weeks ago, I opened my late-2008 aluminum MacBook to a grayed-out wifi icon telling me no hardware was installed. I don't know whether this is a hardware or software issue, but in any case, the computer being as old as it is, I decided to merely procure an external Wifi antenna instead of having the machine repaired (it rarely leaves the desk anyhow).

But this external antenna, too, remains obstinately unacknowledged. It's a cheap nameless thing I bought here in Brazil. It claims to be Mac-compatible. I searched around, found what seemed to be the correct driver, installed that, and rebooted. Now there's an application on my computer called "Ralink Wireless Utility" but it doesn't open when clicked. The USB antenna doesn't show up anywhere, not even under System Information under "USB". And System Preferences has a seizure and freezes when I click on the Hardware tab under System Preferences>Network>Advanced.

If I could either make this antenna work, or make the computer recognize it's own wifi, I'd be delighted. Thanks in advance for your help!
 
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Turns out the device I had had a Mac driver, just not for my operating system. I returned it to the store.
 
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First of all, is your WiFi connection within your residence? And, if you posting here via another machine, how is it connected to the internet? If your Wifi connection is within your residence, with all your computers off, you could try and turn off the modem and router, wait about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then turn your router and modem back on (the sequence and length of time depends on your ISP).

There is the possibility that it is a software issue, or that your hard drive needs maintenance (which you can possibly do yourself, from a software perspective). What OS are you using on the Macbook? Also, what machine are you using to post here?
 

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