Network card installation and IRQ/INT: ISA
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").
I will not make any recommendation, on which card should be used,
so I am using for this data based on an NE2000-compatible
board (these boards have a fairly old design and are NOT the
fastest boards, but have the advantage, that ALL operating
systems, like:Windows95, WindowsNT4, LINUX, OS/2,..., come
already with drivers for the network board as part of the
||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
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).
For another board, I could not find ANY new driver on the
Internet, it was a no-name board with no Internet support site,
and I am NOT able to use this board.
if you are a newbie to networking and want a trouble-free
get a network board, where the drivers are already
included in Win95 !
A network card needs for it operation a few resources, an
address, an Interrupt (IRQ) and sometime even a DMA
channel. And when asking Windows 95 to detect the new hardware
automatically, it does NOT always get it right,
If the card is for the PCI-bus, it is fine,
then the BIOS will tell Windows95 about the
assigned resources , see Network card
installation : PCI.
But if it a card for an ISA-slot, then these
resources have to be assigned often manually.
I myself prefer cards like the one below:
or the scan of a real board:
It has jumper (and on "good"
cards, the info on the jumpers is printed on the card itself,
which is good, because it is only a question of time, before you
loose the small manual deliver with the card).
||Tip: I had myself several times, that I opened an old
in there a Network-card, but could NOT identify it, and
no explanation for the Jumpers and NO MORE card-manual:
Therefor, I take a sticker, write on it all important
info like : what
are the jumpers doing, and then stick it ON THE CARD !
Other cards have no jumper, but a floppy with a "Software
Configuration" program (and it is usually also only a
question of time, before you have lost this configuration
In both cases (for Jumper-cards and for "Software
Configuration " cards), check first in the
"Control-Panel","System-Icon" on the tab
"Device Manager", then click on "Computer"
(the first line/item in the list, then select properties to get
your resource usage list:
Look now for an unused Interrupt. Very often, Network cards
are pre-configured to use Interrupt 5 or 10, but as you can see,
both these were already taken on my system, I selected to put my
NE2000 network board on Interrupt 9.
Once you have identified the Interrupt, configure your board for
it (at least CHECK it), also checking, that the proper
connector/plug is activated on a Multi-Connector
Board , then 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.
If you have a PCI-card or a Plug-and-Ply card, Windows 95 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
For other cards, you need to tell Windows95 about it (still to be
documented), but if you request Windows95 to "detect the New
Hardware", verify, that Windows 95 got it right:
In the Control-Panel, Network-Applet:
check in the Properties of the Network card the Resources:
- is the I/O-address properly detected
- is the Interrupt (IRQ) properly
If your network card has Jumpers or is configured with a
Setup-floppy, then these values MUST MATCH the jumper setting/
setup values. If you need to change one of these values, you MUST
also change the jumper setting or use the Setup-floppy to
configure the board for these values.
However, if your board is a Plug & Play board, when chaning
the "Basic Configuration" and then the values for
Interrupt and I/O address will program the network board to use
the new values.
So, watch out, on which type of board you have.
And once the board is installed and you/Windows have installed
the drivers, always check
in Device Manager for any conflicts.