Network card installation : PCI

by Johannes Helmig [Published on 1 Nov. 1998 / Last Updated on 1 Nov. 1998]

Before putting in the network card into the PC, I propose to follow a German saying, which was made by Lenin: "Vertrauen ist gut, Kontrolle ist besser" (it would be in English:" it is good to TRUST, but better to CONTROL").

Before continuing, you should be familiar with I/O-addresses and Interrupts/IRQs
When buying a network board, make sure, that you can get updates of
the Network drivers !

I had some bad experience with purchasing a very new model of network-board:
It was delivered with a BETA-test version of the Win95 adapter-driver, which did NOT work properly for me, I had to put the board away for several weeks, before I could download from the Internet the final release of the driver (Since the manufacturing life-time of new computer equipment is sometimes only MONTHS, some manufactures start already shipping the equipment BEFORE it is fully tested).


In theory, the installation of a PCI network card should be much easier then the installation of an ISA card: The PC-BIOS assigned automatically the I/O-address and an Interrupt/IRQ.

check the floppy provided with the card (if any) to verify, whether and where it contains the required driver for Windows95/98:

Search for a directory "Win95" or similar, and locate the INF-file, containing the Setup-Information. If no floppy disk is provided, then the driver for this NIC should be included already with Windows.

Now, we are ready to install the board.

Since it is a PCI-card, Windows 95/98 will detect it on startup and either will use its own driver (if the card is known)

or will prompt you for the "Manufactures Disk":

where you now need to define the location (directory) for the INF-file.

To verify, which resources (I/O-address and Interrupt/IRQ) has been assigned, you can try in the Control-Panel, Network-Applet, the Properties of the PCI Network card:

but for a PCI-card, the tab: "Resources" (listing the I/O-address and Interrupt/IRQ) is usually missing.

For that, use in the "Control-Panel" the System-Applet, tab: "Device Manager"
(which is also used to check conflicts in resource usage)

Locate under "Network adapters" your PCI-network card and check its "Properties"
You can try to Double-Click on a resource in an attempt to change the values:


But also "un-checking" the "Use of automatic settings":

will NOT allow you to manually define a configuration value.

Check in the "Control-Panel" "System-Applet under tab: "Device Manager" in the Properties of the "Computer", that the Interrupt is not used by multiple devices:



If another device is using already the Interrupt, try to move the other device to a different Interrupt or check in your BIOS: most BIOS version allow either to assign an IRQ to a specific PCI-slot or allow to reserve specific IRQs NOT to be used by a PCI-device.

However, there is an exception under Windows95 OSR2.0/2.1 and Windows98:
PCI Steering to share Interrupts between PCI-devices

It has been suggested, that a lot of problems with Networking in Windows98 are due to inproper support for IRQ-sharing, and disabling PCI-sharing would solve some problems.

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