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.

See Also

The Author — Johannes Helmig

Dr.Johannes Helmig is working as Director, Technical Knowledge Management in the Belgium office of Gerber Technology where he is involved in Customer Service and internal training, with special interest in Networking.


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