PC connection drop: how to tell if it's a hardware issue or software issue?

I have a windows 7 pc, it's connected to a switch through cat5 cable. Sometimes I see the the network connection icon goes into circle and I see a red X on it, but it came back after few sec. It doesn't happen very often though...so how can I tell if it's the NIC problem or the OS, software or driver problem or the switch? I have installed the latest driver and didn't help. I run continuous ping, for 4 hrs and got 3 request time out (As you can see in the screenshot)

ping
okamonAsked:
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epichero22Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Try either a new cable or a known working port on your switch to rule those two out (sometimes there can be a sever in the cable without being able to see it on the surface of the jacket).  If you're still getting the same problem then there may be a software issue, but it sounds like more of a hardware issue.
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cpmcomputersCommented:
See this article
Particularly check the power settings using the user interface section

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee617165(v=ws.10).aspx
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