IRQ problems/questions & network card setup

I have a problem with setting up my network card and a few IRQ questions -PLEASE HELP!

(does anyone know of a web site which explains all about IRQ's?).

My network card is un-branded aswell.
My computer is (if this helps): AMD K6/2-450MHz, 64mb ram, 17.2 gb hdd, gigabyte ax montherboard, 2 serial ports (one disabled now), parallel port, 2 usb ports, sound card, 2d 4mb graphics card.

I'm not sure wherther it's my computer or my network card thats the problem, but basically to set the IRQ on my network card there is a utility which came with it. This program is really badly written and it often doesn't work sometimes. it says in the instructions to run this program in dos mode. as soon as it loads (in dos mode and starting using a boot disk) it crashes and doesn't do anything. so my only option was to run it in windows 98, which works, but says that all my IRQ's are being used, except for IRQ3.

When I looked through my IRQ list in device manager (double click computer at the top) and it appears that ALL my IRQ's are being used. So how am I going to get some more?

what am i going to do when i get a 3d card? or something else?? i tried disabling my com2 port in the bios and that gives my irq 3 and then i set it in the network card config program and manually in the resources tab of my network adapter, but it still don't work.

So can i get more IRQ's? if so, how?
Is there a limit?

if you can help at all please do!!
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If this is a PCI card the IRQ is set by BIOS,and if necessary is re-directed by Win98's IRQ Steering.The latter allows some devices to share IRQs,but not every card is happy with this arrangement.We'll need more info before we can give you a definitive answer:

Is this a PCI card?

Are you using either of the serial ports,or the USB ports? (If not,you can disable these in BIOS to reclaim thier IRQs)

Does this card use the Realtek 8029 chip? (should be marked on the card)

Does this motherboard use a VIA chipset?
1)No miracle ...
Make a map like that :
You can use :

IRQ2 /IRQ 9 : video card (?)
IRQ5  : sound card (?)
IRQ7 : lpt port
IRQ10 : sound card (?)
IRQ11 : usb port ?
IRQ12 : PS2 mouse (?)
IRQ14 : first eide controller
IRQ15 : second eide controller

If you need more IRQ you must disable integrated peripherals :
ComX,usb, second eide controller ...

Some peripherals can share the same IRQ .. ( irq stering)
USB for example ...
Verify others ressources :

3) control panel win 9X : To avoid conflict,assign ressource manually.

3D card :
Some card don't need irq ( only @mem)
Change 2D card and buy a 2 D/3D card ...

To mattcei :
Sorry for my answer, when I read the question, your comment was not here ...
More details in my answer but same ideas ...
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simonprrAuthor Commented:
I like all your answers, but i want to reject this so other people can post comments. After a while if no-one else is posting comments i'll give you both some points. cheers.
simonprrAuthor Commented:
The network card is ISA i have 2 isa slots in total and the other isa is being used by my sound card. is this a problem? I therefore have only 5 PCI slots free and no ISA (is why i have the problem?)

I'm not using my USB or Com2 (com2 i've disabled) yet. But will do soon. Plus other people i know have a network card, 3d card, modem (card), sound card, etc and they aren't getting the problem! SO why am I?

I don't think the card has a Realtek 8029 chip and i'm not sure about the VIA chipset (i'll check tonight with the motherboard manual).

I also had another idea, in one of my other machines I have a D-Link DE220 PCT PnP ISA Combo Card. If I take this un-branded one out of my pc and put this one in...will this help or even fix the problem?

I would prefere not to disable lots of things as i may want to use them. Plus, i really can't afford to by a 3d card just to fix this!

The fact that it's an ISA card changes everything.
Will the DOS setup utility let you select PNP mode? If it's set to non-PNP mode you MUST set the IRQ with the DOS setup utility,which usually has to be run from a clean boot (F8 - Safe mode command prompt only).I wouldn't trust it to actually make any changes to the card's eprom when run through Windows.
At this point I suggest you try that other card.
simonprrAuthor Commented:
I can send you a copy of this program by email if you wanted so you could have a look at it, but my mate has just reminded me that if you run it without the card in the pc, then it doesn't work anyway...

however, in the dos setup utility (which i have been running from a boot disk and also tried F8 command prompt only then running it, but as soon as it loads it hangs and ctrl+alt+del doesn't work, neither does anything - it completely locks.

 (yes it's stupid running it under windows 98, but it's the only way to get it working) when you load the program there is a main menu:

mode - PNP

irq - select one you want (however most except for 4, it says are being used - although 4 in windows is supposed to be the parallel port)

i/o - there's numbers ranging from 210 can't remember exactly what.

a few other options i can't remember and 'auto configure' and 'save'

auto configure does work either (i've tried this lots of times). oh and a test option, it all comes up saying 'ok' on irq, i/o, etc - which it tests.

so will i have the similar problems with the d-link card? that's isa too!
why doesn't it work in dos when it's suppose to be the only place i use it?
what's eprom and is there a way to let it write to this in windows (i.e. run in separate menory space)?

thanks for your help!

- Realtek 8029 chip : network chipset on network card (cheap chipset).

- ISA card : this type of card can't share IRQ .... Only PCI device can share IRQ...

- Disable PNP on your ISA card. Assign irq manually. Many problem with PNP ...

- Declare irq using by ISA card in your motherboard bios. It must be a Award bios. There is a section plug and play ..

- I have a SG586GA (Gigabyte)with this configuration ...
AGP video card ( no irq), SCSI PCI card, COM1 enable (modem), PCI sound card, USB enable, LPT enable, PCI network card (100mb), 2 ide channels enable.
No ISA cards : too many problems ...


If you are sure that this PROGRAM is the correct one for your ISA Card, I have a working copy of this program, that I will be
glad to send you by e-mail. It works by running it  from
A:\>prompt in Pure DOS MODE.

Post your e-mail address, and I will send it to you.
Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designCommented:
Within Windows 98, I find useful tools to diagnose and troubleshoot, which may help.  You can access it from the Accessories, System Tools menu, or directly like this:

Start-run-MSINFO32.  You'll see all the IRQ assignments posted, as well as any problem devices as you scroll through the information on the left.  Also under TOOLS, you have many other helpful interfaces, ASD being one.  What type of mouse are you using?  I assume you're using a PS/2 mouse and IRQ 12 is in use for that.  Parallel port assignments normally are Irq 7.  


Here are some helpful Microsoft Knowledge Base links surrounding your troubleshooting efforts which should prove helpful in regards to Windows 98.
-Troubleshooting Device Conflicts with Device Manager-

-Description of PCI Bus IRQ Steering
-Description of Microsoft System Information (Msinfo32.exe) Tool

Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designCommented:
-Description of the Windows Registry Checker Tool (Scanreg.exe)-


Wonder also if you've checked the manufacturer of your motherboard to see if their web site may have updated BIOS and/or address any of your issues via a fix.

-How to Perform Clean-Boot Troubleshooting for Windows 98

Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designCommented:
Didn't want to overlook your other question about general IRQ info.

-IRQ conflicts involving serial and parallel ports

IRQ is an abbreviation for Interrupt Request Lines. According to the Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary, IRQs are 'hardware lines over which devices such as input/output ports, the keyboard, and disk drives can send interrupts (requests for service) to the microprocessor.' Device IRQ conflicts occur when two or more devices attempt to use the same interrupt simultaneously.

There are 4 COM ports, but only 2 can be used simultaneously. COM1 and COM3 share interrupt 4; COM 2 and COM 4 share interrupt 3.

The following are Industry Standard Port Configurations:
Port Address Interrupt
COM1 03F8h IRQ4
COM2 02F8h IRQ3
COM3 * 03E8h IRQ4
COM4 * 02E8h IRQ3
* Available only with DOS 3.3 and later.
Port Address Interrupt
LPT2 378h IRQ5
LPT3 278h None

Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designCommented:
Although this has been discussed, in part, here's the rest.

INTERRUPT REQUESTS (IRQs) are physical connections between external hardware devices and the interrupt controllers. When a device, such as a floppy drive controller or printer, requires the attention of the CPU, an IRQ line is used to get the attention of the system to perform a task. There are 16 IRQ lines which are numbered IRQ0 through IRQ15.

On ISA bus systems, IRQ lines must only be used by a single adapter. On PCI bus systems, adapters can share interrupts.


Aside from viewing IRQ assignments in MSINFO32, you can get Device Manager via right-click on MY COMPUTER icon on desktop and choosing properties, or like this:

 View assigned IRQ settings
1) Click 'Start' on the Windows taskbar. (The 'Start' menu appears.).
2) Select 'Settings' and select 'Control Panel'. (The 'Control Panel' window appears.)
3) Double-click the 'System' icon. (The 'System Properties' dialog box appears.)
4) Click the 'Device Manager' tab.
5) Select the 'View devices by type' radio button.
6) Select the 'Computer' icon in the list box, and click 'Properties'. (The 'Computer Properties' dialog box appears.)
7) Click the 'View Resources' tab.
8) Select the 'Interrupt request (IRQ)' radio button. (The assigned IRQ values are displayed in the list box.)
9) View the assigned IRQ settings.
10) Click 'OK' to close the 'Computer Properties' dialog box. (The 'System Properties' dialog box reappears.)
11) Click 'OK' to close the 'System Properties' dialog box. (The 'Control Panel' window appears.)
12) (Optional) Select the 'File' menu and select 'Close' to close the 'Control Panel' window.


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Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designCommented:

How to: Change the IRQ (interrupt-request) line for a plug-and-play device.
How to: Change the IRQ for a legacy device
simonprrAuthor Commented:
Wow, so much info!!

Anyway, first all thanks everyone for you help + info - it's all helped me understand a bit more about IRQ's and other stuff like that.

It will be assigning points to people shortly (I can choose how many points i give each person can't I?).

Well, last night I took my un-branded ISA Ne2000 Compatible network card out of my pc and put my D-Link DE220 PCT ISA Network Card in. I turned it worked!!!

The bios spotted it immediately and added it to the list of cards I have in my system (including my sound card) and gave it IRQ 5.

When windows 98 started I got rid of my ne2000 drivers and it installed drivers for the d-link card (it must be a good card as i've had no problems with it at all in my other pc's).

So it's now working fine and I connected it up and now it's happily working (logining in to my NT server).

However, this means that I am one network card down for my computer I took this d-link one out of. I won't be able to buy on of these d-link ones for a while so I will have to get this one working.

i'm a bit confused, satwa, do you have a program to configure a isa network card - is that what you mean? Yes i am using the right one because it's on the disk which came with this network card.
(the readme.txt isn't helpful either).

If you do want to send me this program I will try, or if anyone wants to discuss this further: my e-mail is
(remember i can't receive anything bigger then about 1.5 mb in yahoo)

I'm going to keep this d-link card in my new machine as it's working and it's good plus quite fast. So there's no point contacting my motherbaord manufacturer ( it was a good idea).

Another thing i'm confused about is when I look in device manager (as astaec suggested) the irq for my network card is 10 and my parallel port 5, but when i boot up before it starts windows 98 is has the sound card (irq 12 - i think) and network card (irq 5).
why is this? or does windows just move them all around?

so if i do buy a usb webcam or 3d card or dvd-rom will i have problems with IRQ's like this?
do you mean all PCI devices can share irq's??


"all PCI devices can share irq's??"
Pb with SCSI card,video card's depend ... no rules ... best way : one irq per device...

USB CAM : USB interface . No irq for Cam. But one irq for USB interface.
You connect many peripherals with only one irq... (modem,mouse,cam ...)

3) DVD rom : if eide interface : No irq
( one irq per eide channel / 2 peripherals by channel ...

4) 3D card :
3D card :
Some card don't need irq ( only @mem)
Change 2D card and buy a 2 D/3D card ... best way ...

5) Sound card : new card need 2 irqs ..  
Irq 5 ( sound blaster compatibility )
and one another ..

simonprrAuthor Commented:
what do you mean by "only @mem"

yeah well it appears to be ok now. as everything working, i'll just make sure to buy PCI and/or pnp devices which are well supported and are from well known companies.
Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designCommented:
Windows does renegotiate/assign IRQs and reroutes as needed, if so setup.

I can only guess, and my guess is that some require dedicated memory address ranges, versus using IRQs.  Sometimes these reservations exist in the system.ini file (I believe), sometimes bios-set, sometimes if legacy, via a configuration interface, etc.  Usually the old S3 chipsets, among others require IRQs.  Documentation for your equipment should specify.  

As regards the Creative Sound Card IRQs, there is normally one IRQ and 2-DMA assignments (one high-level, one low).

@mem : memory address.

Card has an memory address ... Your processor can access (read/write)to the card with this address ( like RAM )...

Ressources :
IRQ -> interruption signal
DMA -> DMA channel
I/O -> I/O bus
mem -> memory bus
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