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How to Upgrade the Network Interface Card (NIC) Driver

The software that controls the network hardware — specifically, the network interface card (NIC) — is a driver. Rarely do you need to update this software. In fact, a routine or security update is included with the standard Windows Update. But you can upgrade a NIC driver manually if you must.

To specifically update a NIC driver, follow these steps:

  1. Set a system restore point.

  2. Open the PC’s NIC Properties dialog box.

  3. In the NIC Properties dialog box, click the Driver tab.

  4. Click the Update Driver button.

  5. Follow the directions onscreen to search the Internet, or use the Windows Update service to find the best or most current driver.

  6. In Windows XP, choose to install the software automatically.

    What happens next depends on whether you need a new driver.

    If the driver is up-to-date, you see a message explaining as much. Otherwise, a newer driver is downloaded from the Internet and installed on your PC.

  7. Close the NIC Properties dialog box as well as any other open windows when you’re done.

You might have to restart your computer; do so, if prompted.

  • When the new driver doesn’t fix the problem, replace the NIC.

  • If problems occur, restore the system: Restart the computer. Also, if you can, run System Restore and choose the most recent restore point.

  • Updating the NIC driver may solve some problems. But mostly, when you have NIC problems, you should do a hardware analysis.

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