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 Post subject: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 10, 2023 9:48 pm 
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It's been a while since i've needed PC related input but for the last couple of months i've had a very odd (too me) issue on boot up.

For reasons that most here will know i'm still running Windows 7.... I know, i know i need to upgrade lol

Anyways, i started to have weird issues on booting the PC, i could see the BIOS POST screen, the Windows is Starting screen, even sometimes briefly the windows desktop... but then my multi-monitor setup (2 monitors) would go black and the PC would appear to hang... yet the HDD light on the tower would still be flashing as if the OS was trying to do something but the screens would remain black.

The really odd thing was this only happened after the PC had been turned off overnight, and if i hit the reset button in the morning after a failed start, it would load and be seemingly perfectly stable... pressing the power button that i have enabled to initiate a shutdown had no effect at all.

To begin with i thought something might need to be reseated on the motherboard so i pulled everything (CPU, memory, video, LAN, all sata connections etc) from the motherboard and reinserted them again, this helped for a few days but then the black screens started again... at this point i was suspecting the Video card was failing but i couldn't get my head around why if that was failing, could i see the BIOS POST screen and enter the BIOS if the video card was the issue?

I've unistalled and reinstalled so many drivers at this point i really can't see it being a driver issue.

Then this morning i had no internet access at all and there were no Network adapters listed in Device Manager.

I tried reinstalling the chipset drivers and then the LAN drivers, the chipset drivers installed with no problem but the LAN drivers simply couldn't find a LAN adapter at all, so i went back into the BIOS and enabled the onboard LAN chip and moved the ethernet cable to that port and hey presto i had a connection to the internet again.

I've never had a LAN adapter fail on me in about 30 years of computing so does it sound reasonable that the LAN adapter may have been the cause of my start up issues... i guess what i'm asking is, could a failing LAN card cause Windows to trip up over itself at startup?

I'll know in a few days if the issue is resolved or not but i'm just curious.


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 Post subject: Re: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 10, 2023 9:59 pm 
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I should also add that whatever the issue is no minidumps or BSOD screens are generated so i don't have a clue what the issue might be, or where to start looking.


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 Post subject: Re: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 10, 2023 11:14 pm 
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I've not had a network adapter cause what you encountered, but I once had a CD-ROM drive fail (back on Windows 2000 -- long ago) and the behavior was exactly as you described on boot. I unplugged things one after another until the problem didn't appear and it ended up being the drive. So, I surmise that any connected device that is misbehaving (in that it is responding to the system check, but in an odd manner) can cause problems with Windows loading. It sounds like your network adapter was in a strange state at power on until it completely died. I'll be interested to read if it was in fact the adapter that caused your issue.

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 Post subject: Re: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 10, 2023 11:23 pm 
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A LAN card/chip can very well fail and would also possibly cause your issues especially if you have 'wake on lan' enabled in your BIOS.

Have you totally removed ALL power sources, including the battery if a laptop, to totally turn off? With oddball hardware issues that is always my first thing to do.

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 Post subject: Re: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 11, 2023 12:16 am 
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@Steve, the odd thing is that on first boot in the morning it almost always hangs, not always but more often than not it does, pressing the reset button always means it will boot again with no issue until the system is powered off for a long time again... it's just weird which is why i pulled everything from the motherboard in the hope that something needed reseated due to heat cycle issues that can push components out of their sockets.

@Jay, this is a home built desktop with a third party LAN card and i've never seen anything like it, i even tried changing the power outlets from my PSU to the motherboard... i still haven't ruled out the PSU being an issue but i'm not yet convinced the PSU is the issue simply because when the PC is up and running it has no issues.

I just find it very odd that this morning all of a sudden there was no internet access and no Network Adapters showing in Device Manager at all, and when i tried to reinstall the drivers Realtek said no adapter was found and it aborted the install... i tried system restore etc but still no internet connection or Network Adpter found.
I enabled the onboard LAN in the BIOS that i'd previosuly disabled years ago and moved the ethernet cable to the ethernet port on the motherboard (which is also Realtek), powered up again and Windows auto searched for drivers and all of a sudden i had internet access.

Because no dump files are being generated by Windows i'm struggling to find anything that might be the root cause, that said the sudden disappearence of the standalone LAN card in Device Manager just might explain the startup problems i've being seeing recently if it was failing... to the point it's now failed completely it's no longer listed?

As i said, i've never seen this before so thought i would ask...

1. Is it possible the BIOS POST checks are ignoring a failed (or problematic) LAN card
That then leads to Windows 7...
2. Seeing the LAN card but then trips over when the response from the card is delayed for whatever reason?


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 Post subject: Re: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 11, 2023 1:21 am 
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To be honest I never even considered the power supply as a possible cause. My thought of removing all power was not in relation to the power supply but to actually turn everything off to truly reset as as long as plugged in the system is never truly off.

I would be interested in knowing if, when in Device Manager, there is a listing for an unknown device. If so it is probably the add-on NIC. From what you have said I suspect the add-on NIC has failed. Going to the on-board NIC it would probably be polled before the add-on as it is part of the mother board and likely attached at least partially to the chipset drivers. In such a case it is possible that the system startup would ignore an error generated by the add-on NIC as a related device has already had success. Again this could be more likely if wake on lan is enabled in the BIOS.

If you have another desktop you could possibly isolate to the add-on NIC by putting in the other system. If the same thing happens you would know it is the NIC. If another system is not available I would physically remove the add-on card and run for a while to see if the issue is gone.

As to your 1. and 2.:
1. Since you have enabled the built in NIC, yes, it is possible that this would allow the system to ignore the failed add-on card. Again, this is probably more likely if wake on lan is enabled in the BIOS.

2. Not sure how to answer this but, yes, a delayed response from a device can mess up the startup sequence.

As to a failure when initially booting and then success when reset is used it makes sense as a reset is different from a clean boot or restart. Reset does not remove power from any device, it just resets errors and tries to boot again.

There are other things that could be tried such as resetting the BIOS to 'failsafe' settings if the option is available but that can also cause issues depending on previous BIOS changes.

Any device can can cause boot issues and some are hard to trace. I remember Patty and her last system. The thing ran like a champ but would flatly refuse to boot if a flash drive was plugged in.

Another example of device/driver oddities is Windows 10 and AMD CPU/video based systems. On some systems Windows 10 will fail on a restart every time due to a driver conflict but will always work if the system is shut down and then started. I actually have this issue with my second desktop.

<edit>
Oh, you said that you reset the cards on your system but did you clean the contacts? If not that would be another thing to try but I'd just due with the add-on NIC. You can use a Q-tip and alcohol but NOT rubbing alcohol. You would want 90% Isopropyl alcohol. Rubbing alcohol will leave a film. Even better is to lightly rub the card contacts with a pencil eraser. The eraser method need care as the contact coating these days are VERY thin and can actually be rubbed off. You would do the eraser on the male connector on the card and then still use a Q-tip with alcohol on the female socket just letting the fluid go into the socket and then allow to dry. LOL! Make sure to remove power before dumping alcohol in a socket! ;)

I've given a lot to try and look at but my personal hunch is that the add-on NIC has failed.

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 Post subject: Re: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 11, 2023 1:53 am 
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jaylach wrote:
I would be interested in knowing if, when in Device Manager, there is a listing for an unknown device. If so it is probably the add-on NIC. From what you have said I suspect the add-on NIC has failed.

I booted up this morning and the system appeared to boot up fine, but the network icon in the system tray had a cross on it... i looked into that further and there was no internet, not only that, when i looked into it further Device Manager had no listing at all of any Network Adapters... and no unknown devices.

I tried to reinstall the chipset drivers and LAN drivers but still Windows didn't pick up the LAN card... it was at that point i thought maybe the card had failed so i enabled the motherboard socket.

I just find it strange that i've never come across anything like this before which is why i'm throwing it out here... a LAN/NIC issue causing Windows to fall over at boot that horks the graphics during Windows startup just seems very odd.

As for wake on lan, i've always turned off those types of options, especially with HDD's etc, even if i had that option enabled how would that explain the mysterious disappearance of the LAN card from Device Manager overnight?

I could of course be completely wrong and the issue is elsewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 11, 2023 1:59 am 
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jaylach wrote:
I've given a lot to try and look at but my personal hunch is that the add-on NIC has failed.

My thoughts exactly but i've never had one fail before so i'll stick with the motherboard port and see what happens... if it goes south i guess it's time to move onto Win10, and a new motherboard etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 11, 2023 2:42 am 
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Doddie wrote:
jaylach wrote:
I've given a lot to try and look at but my personal hunch is that the add-on NIC has failed.

My thoughts exactly but i've never had one fail before so i'll stick with the motherboard port and see what happens... if it goes south i guess it's time to move onto Win10, and a new motherboard etc.

Hey, a NIC is an electronic device and it is not a factor as if it will fail but when. ALL electronics WILL fail at some point. Since any electronic device failure can still have electrical flow I would physically remove the add-on card to be safe since you have decided to go with the built in NIC anyway. While it may not be a normal situation a failed device that is still flowing electrons could, at least in theory, do a melt down and fry the entire system.

I must say that I find it a bit funny that you doubt the failure of the NIC just due to never having it happen before. Believe it or not I have never experienced a hard drive failure but I don't take that to mean that I never will...

Electronics are strange critters. I have my largest laptop, 15.6 inches, Asus that I've had for ~11 years and it runs Windows 10 like a champ but was a beast when bought reconditioned. Recently I was given an old Dell laptop that is at least 16 years old yet is able to run Windows 10 although it is a very slow boot. Of course these are exceptions and neither system should probably be usable yet they are. LOL! Sometimes I think that electronics sit back and figure out ways to mess with us.

BTW, If you like reading and don't mind Sci-Fi take a look at Robert Heinlein's 'The Moon Is A cruel Mistress'. Awesome book that mixes early space science with politics. Heinlein is one of my favorite authors and this is one of my favorites done by him. Basically the Moon colonies are going for independence and use throwing rocks under directional control to hit targets with acceleration of Earth's gravity well causing impacts near atomic damage without the fallout radiation... Shoot, I can't explain and give justice. If you like such stuff just find and read. It is one of my all time favorite books by one of my all time favorite authors.

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 Post subject: Re: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 11, 2023 2:55 am 
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jaylach wrote:
I must say that I find it a bit funny that you doubt the failure of the NIC just due to never having it happen before. Believe it or not I have never experienced a hard drive failure but I don't take that to mean that I never will...

I never implied that, at least i hope i didn't.

What i was trying to ask was is it possible that a Network Card could interfere with a graphics card during the boot process.

Like you i have never had an actual failure of a HDD (or SSD etc), but i have experienced many times where i've had to reconstruct the boot sector of drives.

Those for many people can be one and the same but with a little knowledge they are polar opposites.


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 Post subject: Re: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Sat Mar 11, 2023 3:41 am 
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Doddie wrote:
jaylach wrote:
I must say that I find it a bit funny that you doubt the failure of the NIC just due to never having it happen before. Believe it or not I have never experienced a hard drive failure but I don't take that to mean that I never will...

I never implied that, at least i hope i didn't.

What i was trying to ask was is it possible that a Network Card could interfere with a graphics card during the boot process.

Like you i have never had an actual failure of a HDD (or SSD etc), but i have experienced many times where i've had to reconstruct the boot sector of drives.

Those for many people can be one and the same but with a little knowledge they are polar opposites.

No, a NIC failure would not probably influence a video card but I can't prove that it could not. Still a failed NIC could easily interrupt the boot process in a way that it could LOOK like a video issue even though it is not. It i possible that such a failure could even prevent entry to the BIOS.

The best advice I can give is to physically remove the add-on NIC and see what happens. This is why I still have an old PCIe video card and a USB NIC. While both are far behind what I actually use they are there for troubleshooting. Computer gremlins seem to like me and I've never needed to use the older hardware to test anything but it is still there and able if needed.

Let's simplify..,. Boot issues and loss of network/internet yet going to the on-board NIC SEEMS to solve. The common denominator is the add-on NIC; remove the card. I don't see why you would use an add-on NIC anyway unless the built in NIC is not able to handle your ISP connection.

DANG!!! Just had another off the wall thought. Do you use a router? If so reset the thing. Just unplug for like 20-30 seconds then power up. Sames goes for your modem.

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 Post subject: Re: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2023 7:23 pm 
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jaylach wrote:
No, a NIC failure would not probably influence a video card but I can't prove that it could not. Still a failed NIC could easily interrupt the boot process in a way that it could LOOK like a video issue even though it is not. It i possible that such a failure could even prevent entry to the BIOS.

The best advice I can give is to physically remove the add-on NIC and see what happens. This is why I still have an old PCIe video card and a USB NIC. While both are far behind what I actually use they are there for troubleshooting. Computer gremlins seem to like me and I've never needed to use the older hardware to test anything but it is still there and able if needed.

Let's simplify..,. Boot issues and loss of network/internet yet going to the on-board NIC SEEMS to solve. The common denominator is the add-on NIC; remove the card. I don't see why you would use an add-on NIC anyway unless the built in NIC is not able to handle your ISP connection.

DANG!!! Just had another off the wall thought. Do you use a router? If so reset the thing. Just unplug for like 20-30 seconds then power up. Sames goes for your modem.


I strongly believe we are on the same page Jay, but there is a miscommunication between what i am trying to say and your understanding of what i'm trying to say.

To try and explain it better, let me go through your previous post step by step...

Quote:
No, a NIC failure would not probably influence a video card but I can't prove that it could not. Still a failed NIC could easily interrupt the boot process in a way that it could LOOK like a video issue even though it is not. It i possible that such a failure could even prevent entry to the BIOS.

The BIOS always passes the POST checks, Windows 7 always shows the Windows is Starting screen, sometimes it reaches the desktop and and then hangs with black screens... more often than not though i don't see the desktop... no crash dumps are ever generated by Windows so it's proving very difficult to nail down exactly why Windows isn't loading.

Because this always happens after my PC has been shutdown overnight my logic initially was there was some sort of heat issue with the seating of a component so i pulled everything from the motherboard and reseated everything, that helped for a week or two but the 'black screens issue' after the BIOS checks, returned.
To put that into a better perspective, i've always been able to access the BIOS on first boot of the day.

Quote:
The best advice I can give is to physically remove the add-on NIC and see what happens.

I have to hold my hands up to that one, laziness dictated i haven't removed it yet, but when i finish this post i will, and we will see if it makes a difference.

Quote:
This is why I still have an old PCIe video card and a USB NIC.

I have another NIC card i can try but the easiest option was too see what happened with the onboard LAN chip.... i changed ISP last year because my currnet provider was charging silly amounts compared to the newer 1GB up/down government funded rollout of CityFibre:
https://cityfibre.com/
Fwiw, CityFibre manage the cables and third parties manage the connection and hardware to connect to the network to the premises... in my case that is Vodaphone.

It's a bit more complicated than that because with trial and error i could never get the 1GB up or down, both maxed out at about 500MB, but then i remembered when i first got access to broadband my previous ISP had me run TCP Optimzer because Win XP wasn't set up to run at speeds above (i think) 100 MB?
Anyways, i tweaked the TCP/IP settings and i now get 1GB down and circa 500MB up, i'm happy with that because i rarely upload and the upload speed is miles above what my previous ISP supported... by a factor of at least 10!
https://www.speedguide.net/downloads.php

Quote:
The common denominator is the add-on NIC; remove the card.
I realise that now, indeed i knew that, next time you hear about this it will be done.

Quote:
I don't see why you would use an add-on NIC anyway unless the built in NIC is not able to handle your ISP connection.
It was a process of illimination, i don't buy the latest tech hardware, i never have... simply can't afford it... nothing on the motherboard website had any new drivers etc for about 4 years when i bought it so i knew i was walking into a minefield, i also knew i'd have to look for the latest drivers/firmware etc manually... that was never a daunting task.

Quote:
DANG!!! Just had another off the wall thought. Do you use a router? If so reset the thing. Just unplug for like 20-30 seconds then power up. Sames goes for your modem.
That was the first thing i tried.

I am convinced something is causing Windows 7 to trip over itself, what i don't yet know, but all the signs seem to be either the LAN card or the Video card.


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 Post subject: Re: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2023 7:33 pm 
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I really can't give much of a reply until it is known if removing the NIC solves the problem as I suspect that it will.

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 Post subject: Re: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2023 7:37 pm 
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LAN card now pulled from the motherboard, it'll probably take a few cycles of overnight booting to see whether it's made any difference, but i'll let you know either way.


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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2023 7:49 pm 
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Doddie wrote:
LAN card now pulled from the motherboard, it'll probably take a few cycles of overnight booting to see whether it's made any difference, but i'll let you know either way.

Sounds good. :) Of course I can't say for fact but, going with Occam's Razor, it is the most likely solution.

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 Post subject: Re: Failed LAN adapter?
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2023 4:58 pm 
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Well it didn't take long too find out the LAN card may not have been the issue, i powered up the PC this morning and the black screen issue happened again.

My next step is to replace my current Graphics Card (Gigabyte Nvidia GTX1050) with my previous one and see what happens, a Gigabyte Nvidia GT730.

The GT730 was working perfectly the last time i used it but it was getting very long in the tooth and didn't cope well with 4K videos so i replaced it... the GTX1050 is also getting long in the tooth but it does what i want it too do, i'm not a gamer so i have no need for the fastest graphics cards etc... a few days without 4K support from a graphics card won't kill me.


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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2023 7:27 pm 
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Unfortunate to learn that it wasn't the NIC adapter.

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2023 7:44 pm 
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Bummer!

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2023 8:01 pm 
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sboots wrote:
Unfortunate to learn that it wasn't the NIC adapter.

Unfortunate is putting it mildly :lol:

I suspected when this first happened it might be my PSU so i changed the power output on the PSU (the PSU has four different outlets for the motherboard to connect to the motherboard) weeks ago and it didn't make any difference, at that time i didn't think it would help but i wanted to try and rule it out anyway... the PSU must be at least 6 years old now so it wouldn't surprise me at all if this is the issue.

Whatever the issue is, it's almost impossible to know because no Windows crash dumps are being generated (presumably because the PC is crashing before Windows has the chance to fully load?), there are some things i can still try to get to the bottom of what the issues is... i've already tried uninstalling and reinstalling drivers with every method i know... reverting back to hardware i know should work is one option such as using my old PSU which i only changed due to the fan bearings wearing out and the fan making a horrible noise... my old PSU worked and should generate enough power for my PC as it stands now, albeit the PSU fan won't sound good.
As already mentioned i have an old Graphics card (and more) i can revert to as well.

If it turns out this is a hardware failure then it's probably going to take a while to nail it down but i should have enough spare parts tucked away to try and find the root cause... unless it's a motherboard issue, in which case nothing i do will help, but i'll try harware add-ons first.


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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2023 8:19 pm 
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The most annoying thing is when Windows does boot to the desktop it is stable and runs without any issue, for some really odd reason something seems to be stopping windows from booting when the PC has cooled down fully overnight... i.e. I could shut down my PC now and i have every confidence if i pressed the power button again in the next hour or two, it would boot up again with no issue. It's very odd.


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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2023 9:58 pm 
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That is indeed very odd!

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2023 10:12 pm 
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While I think this is only an issue with Windows 10 by any chance does your system have an AMD CPU?

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2023 6:15 am 
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jaylach wrote:
While I think this is only an issue with Windows 10 by any chance does your system have an AMD CPU?

Yes it does, an FX-8350.


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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2023 2:24 pm 
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There is a driver issue between Microsoft and AMD but I am pretty sure it does not affect Windows 7. Also the issue only affects a restart, not a cold boot.

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 Post Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2023 4:15 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:13 pm
Posts: 1756
Location: Dunedin, Alba.
I've been running Win7 and the AMD processor for years without any issues so i doubt the Win10 driver issue is the cause, thanks anyway.


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