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Realtek Wired NIC not showing up in device manager

Posted on 2008-10-26
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I just finished reinstalling the o/s on a customer's machine from HP's original recovery discs.  The machine works fine except that it cannot connect using the wired LAN connection.  Looking at device manager, the wireless device is listed, but the wired device isn't, even with show hidden devices checked. I applied all the latest patches, including the BIOS updates from both HP and Microsoft.

The customer's original complaint was the usual slow system and intermittent ability to connect to the internet.  She said this started happening after she tried a "defrag or something" ;).  When I called her to discuss the issue I found with the wired connection she said that she always connects wirelessly and never used a cable to get connected to the internet.

My question is, "Is it safe to assume that there is a mobo issue that is keeping the wired device from appearing?" I would have tried clearing the CMOS but HP, in their infinite wisdom, wants you to disassemble the laptop just to get to the CMOS battery, which is beyond the scope of my work on this machine since the customer won't want to pay for the labor involved in the process, nor would she be interested in a mobo replacement.  Of course, if she wants wired connectivity there are some USB devices that she could purchase for a lot less than a mobo replacement.

Your thoughts?  Is there something I'm missing here?  Usually device manager or unknown devices will show when there's a problem with a driver, but in this case the device itself appears to be non-existent.
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Question by:nipstech
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11 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Darr247
ID: 22809060
Have you looked through the CMOS/BIOS settings to see if the internal ethernet controller is disabled there?
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Author Comment

by:nipstech
ID: 22809328
yes. there isn't a setting to enable it. only for the wlan adapter.
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by:Darr247
ID: 22809611
On the http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareList?os=228&lc=en&dlc=en&cc=us&product=1127349&lang=en page, I don't see a Realtek NIC listed. Usually they put drivers for everything on the website in case your recovery CDs were misplaced.

Was there a chipset driver listed on the CD?
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Author Comment

by:nipstech
ID: 22809630
the only thing close to a chipset driver was the amd processor update.  on hp's web site, the wired nic was listed as realtek.  i was on the phone with hp, was transferred, then on hold for almost 30 minutes before i hung up. typical of hp...
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by:Darr247
ID: 22809999
>  on hp's web site, the wired nic was listed as realtek.

Where was that on the website?
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Author Comment

by:nipstech
ID: 22810503
It's buried it the specifications section of the service manual:

http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c00501998.pdf
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Darr247 earned 500 total points
ID: 22812927
Back to the original question
> "Is it safe to assume that there is a mobo issue that is keeping the wired device from appearing?"

It's probably not a motherboard issue other than the fact that if the controller is integrated onto the motherboard (rather than a 'daughterboard' module that mounts on and connects to the motherboard), and it goes bad, the whole motherboard has to be replaced to fix the onboard network controller.

Since there's not a separate callout for the wired network device in the diagrams, it does appear to be integrated onto the motherboard; I didn't see one for the modem, either, so that's likely integrated as well... I wouldn't be surprised to find those 2 items were related, actually, since Realtek makes modems too.

Is there anything lodged inside the jack (shorting the connectors together)?
Do the Link/Activity LEDs light when you connect it to a network?

If both of those are no, I would say you've done all you can without disassembly.

And I have seen integrated network controllers go bad before. Fortunately they were desktop machines with spare PCI slots, so I didn't have to replace the motherboards... but that's no help in this case. :-|

If the notebook has USB 2.0 ports, there's more than enough bandwidth there to use a 100Mb adapter if a wired network connection is desired. e.g. SMC SMC2209USB/ETH or Belkin F5D5050. Beware, though - some adapters' ad copy say they ''talk to 10/100 networks'' but are actually USB 1.1 so they max out at 12Mbps, such as the Linksys USB100M (which is $1-$2 more at CDW than the SMC or Belkin adapters cited).
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Author Comment

by:nipstech
ID: 22813072
thanks for tthe clarification, darr. there is nothing wrong with the physical connection. no activity leds are lit.

as an off-topic side, i see from your profile that you list ham radio as a hobby. would like to touch base with privately to talk about some vintage equipment i have here that i might want to get fired up and working again...

thanks,
Jon
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Expert Comment

by:Darr247
ID: 22819257
It's not exactly off-topic since there is no HAM Radio related zones here. You could post it in Other -> Miscellaneous, before emailing me though, just to make sure we're not violating the rules. Plus you might get more answers on it than just from me. :-)

Got an old set that hasn't been used in a few years and needs to be brought up slow to reform the caps?
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Author Closing Comment

by:nipstech
ID: 31510146
i did some research and looked at the ratings for the usb devices. all of the ratings were negative, with the units failing or the cheap plastic dist covers over the rj45 breaking off. i finally went with a Dynex pcmcia card for around 27.00. windows immediately recognized it as a realtec adapter and the system is now able to connect  both wired and wirelessly. my customer is a happy camper!
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Author Comment

by:nipstech
ID: 22875368
Darr,

I'll definitely post the ham radio in other->misc as soon as i have some free time...thx, Jon
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