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All network cards shown as "unknown" in XP

Posted on 2005-03-12
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Running XP SP2 network cards are detected and drivers installed by the system but they come up as "unknown" in the device manager.  As a result, the drivers will not load.  It is not a busmastering issue as I have tried different types of cards (manufactured prior to and after busmastering became standard.  The motherboard is an intel p4 2.5 gig board).  The registry looks good.  It is like I have lost the category of network card.  I have tried uninstalling all network components and then reinstalling them.  I have also scanned for viruses and so on with Adaware pro and Mcafee viruscan.  Any suggestions before I reinstall winXP?

Dr. Z
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Question by:DRZCM
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by:Kipski
ID: 13524901
When you say network cards, is this multiple cards in the same machine??

It is possible that there is a conflict of some kind, remove all the network drivers that have been installed, take all network cards out, reboot to make sure the new configuration is set....

Close down again, put just one network card back in and try installing the drivers again....

Does this help???

If it does, add the other network cards back in one at a time....
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by:DRZCM
ID: 13525112
All together or one at a time, same difference.  If together, the multiple cards are detected. Since no drivers are actually loaded there can be no resource conflict.  I suspect that the problem has something to do with the network cards comming under "unknown" rather than "network adapters."  When I try to install an adapter manually I don't get the category "network adapter" to no go on the manual installation.  I have tried all drivers (from original to most up to date to unsupported).  All the drivers work fine with the cards on an identical machine.  I have tested them on the other machine and they are fine.  Its gotta be some problem with windows but I wish I knew what.  Does anyone know how to access the hardware category definitions for XP?
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Kipski earned 375 total points
ID: 13525142
You did say:

"cards are detected and drivers installed by the system but they come up as "unknown"

That means that the drivers are installed, the problem is that the system does not recognise the cards as matching the drivers..  This is why they are in the "unknown" category.....  It does not know that they are network cards....

It does not mean that Windows does not have a networking category, just that it does not like the drivers, or the cards...  You need to find out which it is...  

Hence a back to basics approach....  
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by:DRZCM
ID: 13526478
It likes the drivers fine.  Devices are detected and the appropriate drivers install automatically.  In the registry, the drivers show up fine.  In any case, I solved the problem by running a system restore from MSCONFIG.  I suspect some type of virus  or malware as I had not installed anything new.  I am simply curious as to how any network adaptor suddenly gets put as unkonwn even with the proper drivers and even when they show up as network cards in the registry.  

Dr. Z
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by:Kipski
ID: 13526490
Computers, you gotta love em, eh :):):)
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by:DRZCM
ID: 13533393
Well, I have solved the problem but not the mystery.  I will leave this question open for that reason.  The only clues I can guess at are some automatic update such as for win XP, Mcafee or Adaware messed up some system files in some way.  There is a similar question posted in hardware.  So I am not the only person who has had this problem recently.
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by:Kipski
ID: 13544328
That is a possibility...  I havent had that problem with NICs but windows has updated my graphics drivers for me in the past and screwed things up....

If I hear of anything that may help resolve the mystery, I will let you know :):)
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