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Strange NIC/PC problem

Discussion in 'Networking' started by coulterp, Oct 20, 2003.

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  1. coulterp

    coulterp Thread Starter

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    I'm new to the forum but not new to networking. This one, though, has me scratching my head.

    I have a Gateway PC (Pentium I, 240MHz) running Win98SE with a Realtek 8139-series PCI NIC (MCS 10/100 Ethernet NIC, PCI 2.1 spec)). The PC is PCI v2.1 spec and has four PCI slots and I have tried them all, but in all get the problem described below.

    If I boot to DOS mode and then run the diagnostics program provided with the NIC it reports "Fatal Error" no LAN detected! Yet I can go straight on to start-up Win98SE and happily surf the net over the LAN (and ADSL connection via a NAT-router operating at 100Mbps). All the usual things at Windows level (winipcfg, shows the IP address and MAC address information as expected for the configuration) indicate that the NIC is running fine.

    The one thing I have noticed is that access to the PC from other PCs on the network (via Network Neighborhood) does appear to drop out now-and-then, but after a period the link returns, but even during this internet access appears unimpaired. But generally I can access files in both directions (to/from the PC) across the network and the PC can print quite happily to a networked printer attached to another PC.

    In fact I have found more-or-less the same problem if I have a Netgear FA311 NIC (PCI v2.2) in the PC. The DIAGS problem reports problems when booted to DOS, but continue up to Win98 and the network connection is fine. This same thing happened with two different FA311s.

    I think this rules out a problem with the NIC's. All three NICs are Win98SE compatible.
    I think Win98SE can be ruled out as the problem (despite the slightly flaky Network Neighborhood internet access seems fine).
    This leaves, as far as I can see the PC at DOS/BIOS level. But the (MCS) NIC and PC are listed as PCI v2.1 specification and yet at DOS level the DIAGS programs (in the case of both NICs) indicate problems. Admittedly the PC is a fairly old Gateway P5-133, but it is running the latest available BIOS for the box so I can't really upgrade that.

    All the NICs without exception work perfectly (including DIAGS progs) in a Dell 8200 Win XP HE box. The NICs connection to a LAN via a Netgear router (previously RP614 now WGR614, both fine).

    Has anyone seen anything similar? Any ideas how to rectify the problem? (Gateway and Netgear have been unable to provide any useful input!)

    Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions.

    Cheers,
    P
     
  2. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    I have to confess, I've never run the DOS diagnostics on any of my NIC's, at least not for about 10 years since I left DOS. :D It's quite possible that they wouldn't work on mine either...
     
  3. coulterp

    coulterp Thread Starter

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    I am only running the DIAGS program because of the slighty flaky Network Neighbourhood connection between the PCs. And I am only running the provided DIAGS EXEs from DOS because it is requried to do so!
     
  4. Monstrous Mi

    Monstrous Mi

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    NIC cards need a DOS driver to work in DOS. I have also been frustrated using NICs in DOS when I was trying to Ghost machines over a network.

    As a matter of fact, Norton Ghost has the DOS drivers for several brands of NIC but not the one I had. I searched the Internet for DOS drivers for my NIC and got several but like I said, it was frustrating.

    I honestly don't think running diagnostics in DOS is going to help your intermittent network problems. I would try another approach like installing NETBEUI as your network protocol.
     
  5. 10forcash

    10forcash

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    Are the drives mapped or just network connections ?
    if they're mapped, check the properties for the card, if wake on lan is checked, release it, also check the power properties to ensure that the HDD does not power down or the system go into standby. There is a known problem with APM and some network cards, win98 and above enforce application layer priveleges on top of the core OS, try disabling APM and check the bios settings for power saving 'features'
    Cheers,
    10forcash
     
  6. coulterp

    coulterp Thread Starter

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    Just network connections. Checked tha LAN card (WOL off), APM feaures off (on card and in BIOS). No noticeable difference yet (currently got connection in both directions). But the DIAGS program supplied with NIC still claims there is no LAN card installed in the system.

    Haven't tried NETBEUI option yet. The downside of doing that is that other PCs on the network are WinXP which do not have NETBEUI installed (and I wished to keep it that way, seeing as it is a dead protocol and the world - and even Bill's mob - are going TCP/IP.)
     
  7. 10forcash

    10forcash

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    Are you running a DOS window in W98 or booting to DOS from a floppy, if it's a DOS window, the diags will fail as W98 has already allocated resources and handlers to the card, the diags cannot release the OS. Try mapping the drives, this may cure the problem, I seem to remember that XP has a 'idle timeout' on network resources unless theyre mapped. Also, if you have IPX/SPX installed, try removing it and using TCP/IP only, I agree on NETBEUI, its also a great way of slowing your network to a crawl (as is IPX/SPX). One other thing, does the W98 box think it's a master browser ? if so, relegate it and let the XP boxes argue it out.
    Cheers,
    10forcash
     
  8. coulterp

    coulterp Thread Starter

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    Am aware there is no point in running a DOS window from Win98, so booted to DOS of course. Am a TCP/IP site only (neither IPX nor NETBEUI have strayed unto any of the systems). Not aware that the Win98 box thinks it's a master browser but I'll check it out.
    Thanks.
     
  9. GeekGawd

    GeekGawd

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    I would thnk the DOS program is not really running its set of commands correctly or not getting the right readings back from the NIC.
    Was it the same NIC that came along with the Gateway PC or one which you bought after (3rd party) getting teh w98 PC.

    ====
    off the track question:
    What does one mean by "master browser" and how would one "relegate it"
    ====

    ~Gg~
     
  10. coulterp

    coulterp Thread Starter

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    I think that is exactly right - that the DIAGS program is not gettting the right reading s back from the NIC. It's that that I'm trying to work out how to solve (as then the flakiness of network connections at Win98 level may be solved).

    No the NIC did not come with the PC, the NIC is a Realtek 8139 based device acquired recently (the Gateway PC is 8 years old(!)and originallly came with Win95 installed). The PC was upgraded to Win98 (but the DIAGS prog issue was present in both Win95 and Win98 scenarios, thus it is more fundamental than a Windows problem.
     
  11. GeekGawd

    GeekGawd

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    Check this link out. Really a shot in teh dark.
    not too sure on this one.0
    http://www.startech.com/tech_support/realtek8139.cfm#5

    While reading this, had a thought. Did you run the Diags on the NICs from any other machine?
    Could it be something quirky with the interfacing between the DIAG and NIC...sounds way toospaced out. Even with a fresh driver installation for the realtek same problem?

    ~Gg~
     
  12. coulterp

    coulterp Thread Starter

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    I have seen the same diagnostics program difficulties for the Realtek and a Netgear FA311 NIC in the Gateway Win98 box. The Netgear FA311 normally resides in a Dell WinXP where its diags program is just fine. I have not tried the Realtek in the Dell bix (no point since the Netgear works fine in it!)
    I have installed, de-installed and re-installed the Realtek NIC in the Gateway box several times (deleting the drivers and pulling the card out) but to no avail; the diags program insists there is no Ethercard in the system (proclaiming a "fatal error") even though when I boot on up to Win98 I access the internet through the card without difficulty!
     
  13. GeekGawd

    GeekGawd

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    hmmm, if it aint broke dont mess with it. :)
    The diags seem to be picky, i guess, which machine they are run on. Odd...something that is quite possible for a "branded" PC diagnostic software...

    ~Gg~
     
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