Network connection problems can be the result of a faulty network card or incorrect network card drivers. Unfortunately, the symptoms are never clear-cut, and often appear as intermittent connection problems. If you find that you are unable to connect to anything on the network, you need to focus more internally than elsewhere within the network.
Check the status of the network card. The status of the device will indicate whether the network card is functioning correctly.
The Device Manager provides a graphical view of the hardware that is currently installed on the computer. The device drivers and resources associated with that hardware are listed in the properties of each device. You can open the utility by right clicking on My Computer, selecting Properties, and clicking the Device Manager button from the Hardware tab.
If you have taken a peek in the Device Manager before, you may have noticed some kind of icon or mark beside one of your hardware components. Such a symbol would usually indicate that a device is not functioning correctly. However, the type of symbol will give you more of an indication as to what the problem might be. So here is a quick overview of the meaning behind these symbols.
A black exclamation point (!) on a yellow field – Indicates that the device is not functioning properly.
A red “X” – Indicates the device as been disabled.
A blue “i” on a white filed – Indicates the device was manually configured.
A green question mark (?) – Indicates that a compatible driver is installed but the device may not have all the functionality available.
From the list of hardware components, click the plus beside Network Adapters. If there is a red “X” or black “!” on the network card within Device manager, the drivers need to be reinstalled.
Device Manager is an invaluable tool for troubleshooting. Read more about Device Manager’s functionality in XP.
Reinstall the device drivers for the network card. It is always important to ensure that the correct drivers have been installed and that the drivers are up-to-date.
Manufacturers often update their drivers to fix problems and take advantage of operating system features. Updated drivers can be obtained from the manufacturer’s Web site. Some may also be available from Windows Update.
Before installing an updated driver, read the manufacturer’s instructions. Downloaded driver files are typically compressed into a self-executing file that needs to be extracted to your hard drive.
Because using the Device Manager is a convenient method to update existing drivers, follow these guidelines to install updated drivers:
- From the Device Manager, double-click the network card from the list of installed hardware.
- Click the Driver tab..
- Click Update Driver to open the Hardware Update Wizard.
- Accept the default option, Install the Software Automatically. Choose the Install from a List or Specific Location option if you have the updated driver so you can indicate the file location. Click Next.
- Windows searches for an updated driver and instructs you if an updated driver has been found. Install the updated driver and click Finish.
This article shows you how to use Device Manager in XP to troubleshoot device driver conflicts.
[tags]network, xp, windows, diana huggins, troubleshoot, wired[/tags]