network adapter error

veldwolf used Ask the Experts™
My system recognizes my Network hardware, but will not install their drivers. When I choose to install,  the system goes through the motions, but ends with a window that says: Cannot install this Harware. There was a problem installing this hardware (the name of the hardware) An error occurred during the installation of the device. The system cannot find the file specified.
This behavior is for all network hardware, i.e. Ethernet, wireless adapter, etc...
I have a Ralink wireless card and an Nvidia nForce onboard ethernet adapter.

All devices were functioning properly until i removed Kaspersky Anti-Virus.

I have tried a winsock reset, i have even taken a brand new, never seen before network card
and tried installing it. Same thing happens.

Under device status (via device manager) both devices say:
"this device is not working properly becuase windows cannot load the drivers required for this device (Code 31)

If i try to uninstall the device in all cases it gives the error:
"failed to uninstall the device. the device may be required to boot up the computer"

Windows XP SP2

Please dont tell me to reinstall windows.
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have you tried installing the driver with the manufacturer's driver?  Download the latest nforce for your board from nvidia and try that.  also download the latest drive from ralink.

it seems unlikely that uninstalling your antivirus would uninstall drivers.
what happens when you boot into safe mode with networking?


I've tried downloading the drivers, no luck. Bear in mind the same thing happens when I install a brand new ethernet card which has never been used on the PC before.

The behaviour is pretty much the same in safe mode. I get the same uninstall error and the device doesnt function.

I suspect the uninstall went wrong somehow and has affected all the network adapters. In addition, I have Vmware installed, it's network adapter is the only one visible in Network Connections, when i click on it's properties all clients, services and protocols are gone (excpet Client for Microsoft Networks) and if i try to add something like TCP/IP protocol i get the error: "Could not add the request component. The error is: The system cannot find the file specified"

something odd is deffintily going on.  what happens when you uninstall vmware server?

you might want to rebuild the install of the OS.  you can pop in an install CD and run the repair wizard on it.
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did you recently install service pack 3 when this problem occurred?
According to this article: if the RunOnce key is missing from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion, it will cause the "system cannot find the file specified" error when attempting to install drivers.  I just had this problem with the video driver of an older Dell with an 845G chipset, and sure enough, the RunOnce key was missing.  Once I added it, I was able to successfully load the video driver.
I just found this thread while Googling the exact same error message that the original poster is experiencing.  I have an XP Pro SP3 desktop with a 965 motherboard and a Netgear WG311T that gives the "unable to find the file specified" error.  It does the same thing with two other network adapters as well, although I was able to install drivers for a Geforce GTX-260 card with no problems.  The RunOnce key is present and accessible, and I even tried deleting and recreating it.  So, in short, the RunOnce key repair I quoted may not resolve this problem with network adapters, although it did help in the case I mentioned above.
I had this trouble with other (usb) networks cards I used to try to circumvent the original issue as well.  Here is my write up:


I experienced this exact problem and spent many many hours trying to resolve it.  All Internet searches revealed many things to try but nothing short of reinstalling Windows resolved the problem.  I gave up and called MS for after hours support ($515).  They were able to give me the fix within minutes.  If the solution below helps you, please help me defray my out of pocket costs for the support call by sending a buck or two to my paypal account - lancesjunk 'at'

Background of my problem.  I accidentally installed symantec endpoint protection with network threat protection (the firewall) on my exchange server.  This hosed up all network communication.  I uninstalled the product, but it left the "teefer2" network drivers in the hidden device manager (seen by running "set DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES=1" and setting Show Hidden Devices from the view menu of device manager.  

The network communication problem still existed after going through the lengthy manual removal process found here:  [url][/url]

I was not able to uninstall or replace the drivers for the network cards to get them working correctly. It would always give me the error about the device being needed for booting.  

Throughout this process, I have continually received the error, "#E154 Class installer failed. Error 2: The system cannot find the file specified.", while trying to get the drivers installed/updated for the cards.  This was in the file c:\windows\setupapi.log  I tried every driver known to man for these cards.  At the end of every driver installation or update, I would get an error from the Hardware Update Wizard, which says:

"Cannot install this hardware"
There was a problem installing this hardware
Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet
An error occurred during the installation of the Device
The system cannot find the file specified

The actual process looks correct, as in, it is showing the files getting copied and I get the signed driver error on some that I tried, but the error is always the same.  

Without much hope left, and facing a possible restore, I went through the entire registry and deleted anything that was associate with the broadcom cards and teefer2.  This removed the nics and teefer2 from device manager and I was confident reinstalling "from scratch" would work, but it did not -I got all the problems mentioned above from the hardware wizard, and in setupapi.log.

This was my breaking point and decided to seek Microsoft's help.  I am glad I did as their solution was simple, yet very obscure.

Backup and then delete the REG_BINARY value 'CONFIG'  (not the  "network" key from HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Network

You then restart the computer and either Windows will install the card automatically, or you will have to kick it off.  If it is already in Device Manager, you may have to update the driver.  This time it will work like magic.

A MS knowledge base article can be found here: [url][/url]
Although, it is for a slightly different issue, the underlying problem of holding onto incorrect information is the same.  It also lists only win2000 and 2003sp1 having been affected, but my problem was on SP2 of 2003 server.

After the headache I got from endless google searches and deadends, I hope this helps somebody before going through all the trouble.  Please forgive the reposting on other threads experiencing the same problem.

~Lance Smith

Thanks slsmith!!!  That advice helped me with a similar issue that was stumping me, and I did not really want to format my customer's machine...

Your welcome.  It is suprising how many people this issue has affected.

I can't believe this worked. I've had an old AMD laptop (ze4420us) with 2000 on it lying dormant for 3 years!!! Every year or so I look around for a solution, because I surely could not figure out  the problem....and finally here is the solution.
Thanks smith. I never liked using this laptop with XP (it's dual boot) due to the 256MB ram, but here it is working like a Lomborghini on Windows 2000. Thanks Smith. If I could give you points for someone else's question I would.
Oh man, WinXP pro here. Dell B110 dimension worked here! Thank you SLSMITH!!!

Whew what a ridiculous issue.

4-5 years later and this issue is still hanging around - sad.  The paypal email is defunct so please do not use.  Find a good charitable cause instead.

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