Set up a Home Windows Hacker Lab
version of the chapter from Carolyn Meinel's latest book, Uberhacker!
What? You say setting up your network didnt
go perfectly? Imagine that! Fortunately for you,
the rest of us are victims of Murphys Law, too. The
following techniques have fixed many a recalcitrant network --
they may help yours, too.
In this section you will learn what to do if:
- Device Manager says the NIC failed to properly install
- NIC wont respond to a ping from inside its computer
- NIC wont respond to a ping from across the network
Device Manager says the NIC failed to properly install?
If you ended up getting the dread yellow question mark,
either Im lame or youre lame or -- golly, maybe the
NIC manufacturer or Win 95/98 is lame. Here are some things
that could have failed, and how to fix them.
1) Did the installation process say it couldnt find
certain files on the CD-ROM? Check the path to the CD-ROM.
Regardless of how many hard drives your computer has, Windows
driver installations assume your CD-ROM is the D: drive.
Tell it where to look for your CD-ROM! Also, if you have
an installation disk, put it in the floppy drive and tell the
installation process to look there, too. If your computer
has a modem, click on Windows update, too.
(See Figure 6.)
2) On bootup, did Windows fail to discover your new hardware?
Click start, then control panel, then
Add New Hardware. After this search ends, click
on details to see what Windows found.
Figure 6: Looking in all the right places for a NIC
driver. Be sure to tell Windows where to find your CD-ROM
3) If this didnt work, in control panel, click network,
click add from the configuration tab,
then highlight adapter and click add.
In the Select Network Adapter dialog box, select
the manufacturer of your NIC in the left hand list, and model
in the right hand list. If your computer tells you to turn
off the computer and install that NIC first, you may have a problem
with a messed up installation. In Control Panel click on
System, then Device Manager and look for a yellow question mark.
Highlight that device and click remove. Then reboot and
try the installation again.
4) Maybe you decided to save money and get a used NIC that
didnt come with a floppy with the drivers on it, and it
wasnt on the list Windows offered you for installation.
However, you usually can get the drivers from the manufacturers
web site. Remember where you put the driver on your computer
so you can tell Windows during installation where to find it
(see Figure 3).
5) You decided to get a mystery NIC that doesnt even
have the manufacturers name stenciled on the circuit board.
Oh, yes, Ive found a few like that. Those are the
orphan cards you get for free from your buddy who works at a
computer repair shop, the brand X cards from Lower Slobovia.
If you live in the US, there is always a way to find out who
built it. The Federal Communications Commission requires
that an identifying code be stenciled on the circuit board of
everything that emits RF (radio frequencies) sold in the US.
Yes, NICs emit RF, too, not on purpose but as a side effect of
their operation. You can look up these FCC codes at http://www.sbsdirect.com/fccenter.html
or http://www.fcc.gov/oet/fccid/. From there -- if lucky
or persistent -- you should be able to figure out how to get
a driver for your NIC.
6) Or, heres a way that is brutal but effective.
I regularly reinstall Windows 98 just because I get tired of
all the ways it progressively screws up. This also helps
wonderfully with device problems. The surest way I have
found to install a NIC is to put it into a card slot, reformat
the hard drive, reinstall Win98, then put all your other stuff
back on from a backup. While reinstalling, use expert mode
and choose virtual private networking support. Youll
use it later if you are serious about becoming a networking expert.
Cant Ping your NIC from inside its computer?
Click System in Control Panel. Then
click device manager and look for any yellow question marks.
Chances are you will discover an unhappy network adapter.
Here is how to fix it.
Look for conflicts of interrupt request (IRQ) or input/output
(I/O) range. Each device (hardware item) on your computer
that uses an IRQ and I/O range must use it only for itself and
not share it with any other device. Highlight your NIC.
Then click the properties tab at the bottom of Device
Manager. This brings up a Properties window. Click
on the "resources tab. It has a window you can
scroll to look at resources used. The only two you care
about are Interrupt Request and Input/Output
Range. At the bottom of this tab it will tell you
whether there are any conflicts in resource use.
If there is a resource conflict, here is how you might
be able to fix it.
First, are there free IRQ and I/O ranges left on your
computer? Heres how to find out. In control
panel, click on System. This brings up the System Properties
box. Then click Properties and highlight Computer at the
top of the list. Then click on Properties.