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Thread: On board Ethernet got disabled by a bootable utilities disc

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    On board Ethernet got disabled by a bootable utilities disc

    AMD 970 chipset Gigibyte MB
    Win 7 Pro
    Realtek on-board chipset with a 1/18 dated driver update.

    It's kinda hard to describe this,, but long story short;
    I was tiring newer versions to update those bootable CD's with troubleshooting programs on them for possible future use (hopefully not) eg;
    Ultimate Boot CD,
    Knoppix v7.2 & 8.1
    EaseUS Partition Master WinPE,
    All IN One Rescue Toolkit,
    MiniTool Partition Wizard
    for examples.
    I believe it was one of the Knoppix versions that did something as they have Ethernet drivers so one can use the included browser, but that is only a guess.

    Somehow, the on -board Realtek Ethernet chipset got disabled or corrupted to a point I had to connection to the Router. The 1st time, in Device manager, the network device entry wasn't even there. I managed to get thing back, I believe by powering down and/or rebooting.

    The 2nd time, Device manager had the Ethernet device entry there and it showed that it was working, but no connection. Network & Sharing showed a "Unknown Network". The Router showed the port connected as did the LED's on that back of the Tower including activity. I couldn't even access the Router.

    I reset defaults in the UEFI BIOS, but that didn't work. Then I did something that I haven't had to for probably 16+ years, I cleared the CMOS on the MB, then reset the BIOS again on bootup. Connectivity was restored.

    So, the question is; what could of been done and how did this happen? How could a program outside of the installed O/S affect a on-board device after the program is closed? Has anyone heard of something like this happening?

    Mind you, I also didn't have connectivity when I re-loaded two of those bootable discs, so this is NOT a W7 O/S issue. I have a 2nd bootable HDD (same O/S) and that was dead also.

    I don't believe it was a 'virus', the iso's that I burned to the CD's came from the original source.
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    Re: On board Ethernet got disabled by a bootable utilities disc

    I hope I didn't loose anyone, if so please re-read. It had to be some 'tampering' with the on-board Ethernet chipset and the driver it temporarily loaded.
    Last edited by videobruce; 24-03-2018 at 04:11 AM.
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    Re: On board Ethernet got disabled by a bootable utilities disc

    Try reflashing the latest bios?
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    Re: On board Ethernet got disabled by a bootable utilities disc

    I'm struggling a bit to understand what your questions are. But the coffee hasn't been absorbed yet so apologies.

    How could a program outside of the installed O/S affect a on-board device after the program is closed? Has anyone heard of something like this happening?
    Software can update firmware, BIOS and microcode these days. But extremely unlikely a boot CD will do that. If it doesn't have any permission to alter your default OS (ie you weren't mounting the default OS volume) then it won't affect the software on there either. So most obvious answer is to say it isn't.

    So, the question is; what could of been done and how did this happen?
    On board ethernet connectors are not the most robust of things and in my experience of building PCs over the years they are one of the most common things to disappear and reappear on the device manager. It could be that the connection is flaky, thus windows thinks the hardware has been removed on one install, and potentially 'helpfully' cleans up by removing the driver for you. Then on another boot there's enough of a connection for windows to think there's new hardware, and so it tries to reinstall a driver for it - only if the connection is partial it might not be able to ID the device properly so fails to find the right driver/set up the device properly.

    Then after a few boots you might be fine. Or it might go again and you're back to square one.

    Solution in my opinion is spend the few dollars on a NIC and use that instead of the onboard. You'll make the money back in diagnostic time.

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    Re: On board Ethernet got disabled by a bootable utilities disc

    The O/S was NOT modified. The MB Ethernet was. Proven by the same problem arising using the other bootable HDD and in those two bootable CD's that had included Internet address (Ethernet drivers).

    I agree and I plan on looking for a Ethernet card (with a better chipset). In almost 18 years, I never had a Ethernet chipset or card go south (even thou this really didn't die).
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    Re: On board Ethernet got disabled by a bootable utilities disc

    Knoppix isn't a program, it is a full blown operating system. The irony here is that usually people use Knoppix to test out things like network port when Windows is playing up because it tends to me more reliable

    I suspect you are looking at this backwards. Sounds like there is a problem somewhere, and booting backwards and forwards from Windows to a boot CD/USB stick is sometimes causing it to show.

    My suspects would be ethernet cabling, the power supply to any switch or the router or the switch/router it is plugged into itself.

    My wife's PC was the only one showing problems when a desktop switch started to fail. Drove me up the wall trying to nail it down at first.

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    Re: On board Ethernet got disabled by a bootable utilities disc

    I just used the word "program" for convenience.
    I did disconnect & reconnect the cable between the Tower & the Router. Connection on both showed good & the activity LED on the MB showed activity even thou the Towers IP address (static) did NOT show in the LAN table in the Router (accessed from my Laptop).

    If that was the case, why would clearing the CMOS fix the problem?
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    Re: On board Ethernet got disabled by a bootable utilities disc

    Quote Originally Posted by videobruce View Post
    If that was the case, why would clearing the CMOS fix the problem?
    My guess would be luck of timing, and making a cup of tea taking the same amount of time would have been as effective. That's why hardware faults on things like switches and routers can drive you nuts, it is too easy to miss-attribute causes

    I would suggest if you are ordering a network card that you throw in a cheap gigabit switch at the same time. You can often get a 5 port one for about a tenner.

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    Re: On board Ethernet got disabled by a bootable utilities disc

    This is actually quite a hard problem to solve videobruce, and it's possible it won't be solvable at all. Some kind of Ethernet EPROM flashing issue. I've been doing PC stuff since 1996 - have a try at reflashing the mobo bios and hope it somehow flashes the right chip. If not - you may need a new mobo or Ethernet card. that's my guess here.
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    Re: On board Ethernet got disabled by a bootable utilities disc

    Quote Originally Posted by Millennium View Post
    This is actually quite a hard problem to solve videobruce, and it's possible it won't be solvable at all. Some kind of Ethernet EPROM flashing issue. I've been doing PC stuff since 1996 - have a try at reflashing the mobo bios and hope it somehow flashes the right chip. If not - you may need a new mobo or Ethernet card. that's my guess here.
    The BIOS probably contains a network PXE boot rom, but that is probably disabled. Even when enabled, it is only used for boot and the main operating system neither needs nor uses it.
    The only ROM used contains the MAC address, and if the port ever works then that says the MAC address is valid. It is possible for the motherboard ethernet interface to die, in which case a x1 PCIe network card is so cheap I think it is worth having one kicking around for helping diagnose this sort of thing. They are pretty robust interfaces though, I have seen them die but it is really rare compared to cable and switch problems.

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    Re: On board Ethernet got disabled by a bootable utilities disc

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    I would suggest if you are ordering a network card that you throw in a cheap gigabit switch at the same time. You can often get a 5 port one for about a tenner.
    I do have some spare 'switches'. Why the suggestion??

    Quote Originally Posted by Millennium View Post
    have a try at reflashing the mobo bios and hope it somehow flashes the right chip. If not - you may need a new mobo or Ethernet card. that's my guess here.
    I already ordered two cards. I could of used one some time back for Router/Modem issues.

    I will just have to watch closer which utility I run (one at a time), then check afterwards to see if the chipset got 'zapped' again. Hopefully, with the new card it won't be affected. It would be interesting with both 'ports' running (one in use) if the problem disc messes both up.
    Last edited by videobruce; 25-03-2018 at 03:51 PM.
    When not in use, turn off the juice.
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