PCI steering for not enabling! Help!

I don't get this: I have a WIN98 workstations that all work fine with WIN95. After the format and install of 98, the NIC (3c905B-tx) is flaky. Get this - It works every other reboot like clockwork. The card works, then after I reboot, it quits. Reboot again, and its working again. The device Manager says I need to have PCI Steering enabled. Of course, it only comes up when the NIC is not working. If I click on the Steering box that comes up, it tells me to reboot, and fixes nothing.

I have reinstalled the driver with the newest from 3com and no effect.
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

This sounds like a weird one...  A couple of questions (they may not be relevant, but I am just taking stabs here)

1.  After a COLD start (from a fresh power-on) does it work or not?

2.  Are there ANY other errors you know of that are reported, even if they dont seem related.

3.  If it normally doesnt work from a fresh startup, hold down control after the memory starts counting.  Dont let it go.  This will bring up the boot options menu.  Select the option that records the startup to the bootlog file (I forgot the exact wording, and Im on an NT box right now).  If you can do this please post the file here.

Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designCommented:
Have you created/checked bootlog.txt or bootlog.prv (the rename if run more than once) to see what load failed?  

Any other logs you create to monitor / track activity you may not have checked, such as Dr. Watson logs (created from Start - run - MSINFO32- tools)?

Is Windows 98 updated with fixes via WindowsUpdate?

Many unknowns, so I'll stop here.
jg, this is not uncommon with some motherboards and this particular NIC. Sometimes its the motherboard slot, and other times its been a duplicate device in device manager.

This will take a little bit of work, but give it a try.

1. Boot into windows 98 and remove all of the networking protocols via control panel, networking.

2. Now go into device manager and remove the NIC there.

3. Now shut the system down, pull the cover and note the slot that the NIC is in, and then remove it.

4. Now restart the system and boot into safemode.

5. Go into device manager and review each and every area very carefully. If you see any duplicate or even triplicate devices, remove all, don't leave one behind.

6. When you're done with #5, reboot the system into command prompt only via the boot menu (F8 just before windows starts).

7. Change directories to \Windows\Command. At the command prompt, type SCANREG/FIX<enter>

8. When scanreg is finished with the regsitry, boot into windows and make sure no network devices exist and not networking protocols are listed.

9. Now shut down again, reinstall the NIC, but this time use a different motherboard slot than before. Restart the PC and load the driver. Use the most current you have.

10. Now load your protocols and test the system.

Cloud Class® Course: Certified Penetration Testing

This CPTE Certified Penetration Testing Engineer course covers everything you need to know about becoming a Certified Penetration Testing Engineer. Career Path: Professional roles include Ethical Hackers, Security Consultants, System Administrators, and Chief Security Officers.

Be sure that in BIOS the PNP O/S  is switched to ENABLED.  There may be a problem with the settings in BIOS that declare how IRQs are assigned.  I guess AUTO is always a fall back.

Anyhow, I would try to remove all PCI STEERING references in Device Manager under SYSTEM DEVICES. and reboot.  This is of course after you have checked your BIOS.  welll, good luck.
Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designCommented:
Jq733, is all well?  Let us know your status; what helped.

jg733Author Commented:
Well, I tried and tried. I finally gave up and formatted and started over. No hardware or bios changes affected it. Question is: what caused it in the first place. I've got a truckload of folks that looked at this one, and let me tell you, there many some stumped MCSEs over here!
Asta CuTechnical consultant & graphic designCommented:
Truly bizarre.  I thought surely that when rebooted in SAFE MODE that you'd find phanthom stuff, ie. ports, duplicates or invalide/duplicate items.  Also thought that sound cards may also have been swapped and that a second and erroneous joy stick may still have existed with resource assignments (happened before, although no such indicator in normal mode in device manager).  

Assume that all is now fine.

Did the system reload after reformat resolve the problem?
Did you try Dew's suggestion of a safe mode boot and remove all the old trash devices remembered from whenever? That usually works for me. If you didn't and the reformat worked then it may have acheived the same result.
Did you also try another 3c905 in the same slot?

jg733Author Commented:
Well, all is currently OK. Not only did I reinstall, I reinstalled (formatted as well) three times. I don't understand this, but the third time I used the msbatch utility to set it up, and it worked. Anybody who can answer why this worked I'll gladly give the points to.

Again, this happened on three machines.
BTW: no sound card or joystick involved.

Utterly confused,

Jeff, your last comment (question) is easy. Why did it work, simple, the batch file pointed the installer to the files you wanted to use.

When Win98 installs typically, one of the procedures is to identify the hardware. This is accomplished by reading the dynamic side of the Bios as well as obtaining an instruction set from the Bios if PnP is enabled. This is saved to a dat file.

Windows loads all of the base files, plus the drivers and other files it believes it needs, then reboots the first time. It then compares the dat file to a direct interrogation of the hardware components based on the drivers. If this fails, one of two things will happen, Win98 will try and determine where it, as the OS host, has a better driver available, or it will flag the device in device manager and load the best driver it has or none at all.

When you used the match file, Windows defaults to the batch criteria first and then to its own code. Simple really!


Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows OS

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.