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How to Check the Network Interface Card (NIC) Status in Windows XP

Whether your network interface card (NIC) is part of your PC’s motherboard circuitry or attached as an expansion card, you can inspect its status by using the Device Manager in Windows XP.

Follow these steps to check on the NIC’s hardware in your Windows XP computer:

  1. Press Win+Break to quickly summon the System Properties dialog box.

  2. Click the Hardware tab.

  3. Click the Device Manager button.

    The Device Manager window appears.

  4. Expand the Network Adapters area by clicking the plus sign [+] icon.

    You see a list of all network adapters installed in your PC.

  5. Double-click a network adapter entry.

    The adapter’s Properties dialog box appears. On the General tab, you see the device status. It should say This device is working properly. If not, any specific problems are noted.

  6. Click the Resources tab.

  7. Review the Conflicting Device list.

    No conflicts should be listed. When they are, resolve them by looking at the source of the conflict.

  8. Click the OK button to close the Properties dialog box.

  9. Close the Device Manager and the Control Panel windows.

The first solution for fixing a bad NIC is first to view the suggestions listed in the Properties dialog box. When those suggestions aren’t helpful, one alternative is to use another NIC.

If you have a NIC on an expansion card, simply remove the old expansion card and install a new one.

When the NIC is on the motherboard, your alternative is simply to install a second NIC as an expansion card.

For a laptop, get a USB NIC, either wired or wireless, when the laptop’s NIC fails.

  • You will probably know when the NIC isn’t working properly before you even open its Properties dialog box. That’s because bum devices are flagged with a yellow icon in the Device Manager.

  • When you’re having network adapter problems in Windows XP, click the Troubleshoot button (after Step 5) to run the NIC Troubleshooter.

  • If your PC came with a NIC diagnostics tool, using it would be, obviously, a better option for checking on the NIC as well as for testing the NIC’s condition. Check the Start button’s All Programs menu. Look for a folder (submenu) specific to the NIC manufacturer, such as Intel, Netlink, or Linksys.

  • Yes, you can have multiple network adapters in a PC. For example, a laptop computer would have both wired and wireless NICs. When you have multiple NICs, you can repeat these steps to review any problems or conflicts with each of the adapters.

  • To disable a NIC, open its Properties dialog box. Choose Disable from the drop-down menu at the bottom of the General tab. By disabling the device, you ensure that Windows XP doesn’t use the problem NIC and, instead, uses another NIC that functions properly.

  • To deal with a hardware conflict, you must reset the IRQ on one of the two conflicting devices. Or, you can remove one device. My suggestion is to see which devices can be replaced by a comparable USB device. USB devices don’t have the conflicts that IRQ gizmos do.

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