Windows 7 Ultimate, NIC device is seen in Device Manager, but Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection will not show in ipconfig - except when booted in safe mode

This problem has been a diagnostic puzzle for me.
Here is what I know:

The device manager shows the network adapter as: "NVIDIA nForce 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet"

When I uninstall the device using the Device Manager, after about a minute or so, the machine will BSOD with STOP 7E.  
The reported module is nvlddmkm.sys.  

With the machine booted normally, I can manually assign an IP address, netmask, defgw, and dns.  
However, ipconfig /all does not show the Ethernet adapter.  Only two pseudo devices: "Tunnel adapter Reusable ISATAP Interface" and "Tunnel adapter Teredo Tunneling Pseudo-Interface" - neither of which have an IP address.  The internet is /not/ surfable.

With the machine booted into safe mode, the "Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection" /will/ show, and does have an IP address, and the default gateway is pingable, and the internet is surfable.

What I am hoping for is guidance, either in learning more about the problem, or more hopefully - to solve the problem and allow the machine to automatically connect to the network without manual intervention.

Thank you in advance for your help.

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A few things come to mind. Mostly indicating a driver issue. To help you troubleshot.

Start windows using F8. And select disable driver signature enforcement.  and check if the NIC is showing and working (it may popuout so that you "install" drivers"

Also, try to uninstall nVidia drivers. And let windows find the driver automatically from Windows update.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Something does not sense to me here. Never has a machine bluescreened on me simply for uninstalling the wired NIC. It would appear that your basic machine may not be Windows 7 compliant, or that the Nvidia NIC is causing some problems.

Have you tried upgrading the BIOS in your computer? And if it is a Name Brand computer, does the BIOS preclude the use of the Nvidia NIC as "not its own"  IBM pulls that trick.  Is there an embedded controller? There is on my Thinkpad; there is not on my IBM Desktop. If there is one, try upgrading it.
... Thinkpads_User
ChrisEddyAuthor Commented:

Thank you for your thoughts.

Again, booting into safe mode, the ethernet NIC works.  ifconfig shows it has dynamically received an IP address and all other network configuration needed to connect to the LAN, and the machine can surf fine.  However, if the machine is booted normally, the ethernet NIC does not work, the adapter is present in the list of LAN adapters, but it the ethernet NIC is not shown in ifconfig.  I have also assigned static configuration to the NIC, but the NIC does now show in ipconfig, and the machine cannot surf the internet.  

The machine came with Windows 7 Home Premium installed, and there are no XP drivers for this computer.  Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit was installed by someone else, so that the Microsoft Virtual Machine could be installed, so it could host Windows XP, so that an old but essential 16 bit application could run (16 bit applications fail under the 64 bit version of Windows).  If this sounds like a complex solution, it is, but I cannot change it at this time.  

Note that there are several other of the exact same computer with this same configuration in the office, and they do work.  It's only this one machine that has the problem with the NIC.

Note also: yesterday, someone on a different computer reported a sudden onset of the same inability to connect to the network.  I wasn't there to confirm that the symptoms were indeed the same, but they later reported that the solution was to do a Windows 7 repair, and that machine has worked ok since then (read: since yesterday).

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ChrisEddyAuthor Commented:
Also, I've uninstalled the NIC device through the device manager on the machine that I originally submitted the problem on.  After this, the machine became hung, to the point where sometimes the mouse would not move, but always the start menu and any other window became unresponsive.

The machine is made by Acer.  There are no NIC drivers available for this machine from the manufacturer.  The device is reported as an nVidia nForce 10/100/1000 mpbs.  I was unable to find drivers for this device on the nVidia site.

JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Is it feasible/possible/worthwhile to replace the NIC with a new NIC?  Get a brand name Intel NIC and disable the other one (in the BIOS if you can).   ... Thinkpads_User
ChrisEddyAuthor Commented:
Yes, this is a very f/p/w thing to do.  

However, me thinks this has been done before because the break away slot covers are both removed, suggesting that the previous person has already done this.

New news: (yet) another person has looked at the problem, and the report is that they found the NIC drivers are this problematic machine are from the Windows Update site, but the NIC drivers on all the other computers (which are the same make, model, OS, ...) all have nVidia drivers.  These drivers were acquired, installed, and supposedly the problem is resolved.  Checking ...
ChrisEddyAuthor Commented:
... Confirmed.  The computer can surf fine, and the current driver set is from NVIDIA, not Microsoft.

This problem looks to be solved.  

Thank you all for your participation.


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