Saturday, February 09, 2008

Nvidia nForce network driver problem under Vista

On my home machine, I rarely reboot it. If a software update requires a reboot, then I do it. otherwise it stays running for weeks at a time. Vista (32-bit) has been stable enough for me, where I don't have to start the system or suffer system crashes.

But when I reboot, about 10% of the time (just a wildly inaccurate guess), the machine comes up without any network connectivity. In the past, I have associated it with Windows Update installing a wonky driver for the network card and I System Restore the machine back to normal. It happened today and the list of the usual suspects did not include any hardware updates. Time to dig deeper.

This machine has a NVidia nForce motherboard (Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe) and it has built-in dual Gigabit LAN controllers. I had an Ethernet cable hooked up to the first port and had disabled the 2nd one through Vista's "Network Connections" utility. My dead Windows Home Server box was next to my PC, so I unplugged it's Ethernet cable and plugged it into the second port on my machine. I enabled the network adapter and after a few seconds, it was live and had grabbed a IP address from router.

That was interesting. Since the working adapter used the same driver as the non-working one, that pretty much ruled out Windows Update nuking one of the drivers. I peeked at the driver settings for both adapter, they were both set to the defaults. I also checked the device status of the adapter, Windows reported that "This device is working properly." That was a pretty good indicator that the problem was not a fried controller on the motherboard.

The next thing to check was the ethernet cable. I swapped cables and there was no change. I decided to do the Nintendo fix. That's when you pull out the cartridge, blow on the connectors and ram it back in again. In this case, I disabled the adapter, waited 30 seconds, and re-enabled it. As Emeril says, Bam! The adapter started working. Time to start googleing and see if anyone else is having this problem.

And the number one hit for "nforce network adapter fails" in Google was a long thread in the Nvidia message forums. A sizeable number of people were having the same problem and they were all running Vista. It may be a timing issue during boot-up. Two workarounds were suggested. One was to change the duplex setting from "Full Autonegotiation" to "100 Mbps Full Duplex". The other was to change the priority order of the network adapter priority. I didn't want to mess with the driver settings, so I opted for changing the priority order. I'm not confident that it will fix the issue, but it wont hurt anything. Right now this is more of an annoyance than anything else, but I would like to resolve it permanently.


  1. Hi.
    I have the same problems with Vista home edition(32).
    It says that i m connected to the local area connection but when i try to conenct on the internet i cant. I have the same Nvidia nForce network controler. Can you give me some tips???


  2. Grega,

    Did you try disabling the adapter, waiting a bit, the re-enabling it? That usually worked for me. If it doesn't work the first time, increase the amount of time between disabling and re-enabling the adapter.


  3. I have tried that and it s not working :(


  4. Are both network controllers hosed? When it happened to me, I would lose the first one, but the second one would work fine. Did you try changing the duplex setting or re-ordering the adapter priority?

  5. Yes i tried. But it didnt work.

  6. How much time did you wait with the adapter disabled? You didn't mention if the other adapter worked, if both are borked, then you have a different problem from what I have. I would try next a batch file that disabled the adapter, waited 30 seconds, then re-enabled the adapter, and finally used ipconfig to release and renew the adapter. If that failed, I would add 30 seconds to the delay and keep trying until it worked, or you made it to 5 minutes.

    I documented how to enable/disable an adapter here. For a wait command, there a few free ones available through Google.

  7. When i check in cmd for ip it s not there...jes i have waited eaven longer. The other computer (PC) connects great ???

  8. Does your machine have two lan ports?
    If you have two lan ports, are they both not working or does one of them work?
    Did it ever connect or did this
    happen after a reboot?
    Did you try removing the adapter in Windows and letting the OS discover it?

  9. I dont have two lan ports (i have laptop Acer), i didnt remowe adapter(I dont know how?)It s new laptop and i didnt connect.. not once. But i dont want to take it back cuz i have to much information on it and would be terrible if i would lose them. What is OS?

  10. Ok, you have different hardware from what I have and your problem is different from what I had. I really can't help you beyond what I posted so far. Since it's a new laptop, you should contact the place where you bought it from or Acer directly for support. I'm sorry, but what I described in my post was a problem with the network adapter losing the network connection after a reboot.

  11. I had problem after nforce updates came on windows update. I got blue screen many times a day. But if I made a recovery and backed my installation to before the update all is well. Nvidias drivers and my Vista does not like eachother.

  12. Steff66,

    I've learned to very cautious of installing Nvidia updates. It didn't help reading about how NVidia logged almost 30% of all Vista crashes according internal Microsoft documents that were made public recently.

  13. wow. changing to 100 mps full duplex works for me (for now)!
    thank you!


  14. My computer at work has problems with nvidia network adapter is not working can't get on the internet. I was told to uninstall and reboot and they would reinstall but it did not work instead when it rebooted the network adapter did not reinstall and went to windows update and of course the updates i needed were all nvidia nforce updates. Anyway they would not install because duh my internet is not working. What Can I do? Please Help!!!

  15. I got a NF2 system with a nForce Networking controller.... and same issue:
    Vista and Seven don't recognize internet on that port... and don't get any IP...
    It doesn't matter, if I use the offbox driver or nvidia ones....
    What should I do?
    By the way my buddy with a NF4 Notebook (HP) has got the same problem....


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