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pschwanConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Well, I'm not sure what your hardware or software background is given the information you provided, but I'll do my best to explain assuming both are at a beginner level.

First you need to choose a NIC.  I highly recommend 3COM as they are the easiest to install and the most realiable.  A good model would be the 3C905B-TX 10/100 Ethernet card.  To install the card, you'll need an open PCI slot on your motherboard (or ISA slot if that's what kind of card you get).  After putting the card in the slot, fire your system back up.  If you're using Windows 95 or 98, it should detect the card right away and either install the drivers automatically or prompt you for a disk containing the drivers (usually this disk will come with the NIC).  If you have to do any adjusting of IRQs and memory addresses, the kind of unspoken standard is to set it at IRQ10 and base address 0300-03ff.  This can usually be done through the Device Manager in the System applet of the control panel.  If you are using Windows NT4, you will need to add the NIC through the Adapters tab of the Network applett in Control Panel.  
You should be able to tell if the NIC is installed properly after you reboot the system.  Look for indicator lights on the back of the card to be lit up by the time Windows has finished loading.  Windows will also usually give you error messages if it is not configured properly.

Hopefully I've given you the information you need.  If you need any specifics or are having trouble, feel free to email me at

Good luck!

NIC, btw, stands for Network Interface Card:)
rsespoAuthor Commented:
Adjusted points from 100 to 200
I agree with pschwan with a couple tweaks to what he has listed.

1) The 3C905B is being discontinued and is replaced by the 3C905C, which requires a later driver (which is backward compatible with the B NIC).  However, it is possible that asking for the B will get a negative response.

2) 3COM actually includes an excellent diagnostic utility that can report diagnostic information while the card is in use (i.e., while NT is running).  The indicator lights are great, but nothing is better than seeing the diagnostic test output in the Win NT GUI.

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