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Chapter 15. Creating a Windows XP Home Network > Installing Network Adapters

Installing Network Adapters

If you're installing a new network adapter, follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing with Windows XP or Windows 2000. Even if it does not come with specific Windows XP instructions, the installation should be a snap. Just follow these steps:

If you have purchased an internal card, shut down Windows, shut off the computer, unplug it, open the case, install the card in an empty slot, close the case, and restart Windows.


If you've never worked inside your computer, jump ahead to Chapter 27, “Installing and Replacing Hardware,” for advice and handy tips.

If you are adding a PCMCIA or USB adapter, be sure you're logged on with a “Computer Administrator” account, and then just plug it in while Windows is running.

If you're using your computer's IEEE-1394 port, there's nothing to install or configure.

When you're back at the Windows login screen, log in as a Computer Administrator. Windows displays the New Hardware Detected dialog box when you log in.

When Windows boots or detects the device, the New Hardware Detected dialog might instruct you to insert your Windows XP CD-ROM. If Windows cannot find a suitable driver for your adapter from this CD, it might ask you to insert a driver disk that your network card's manufacturer should have provided (either a CD-ROM or floppy disk).

If you are asked, insert the manufacturer's disk and click OK. If Windows says that it cannot locate an appropriate device driver, try again, and this time click the Browse button. Look for an “INF” file in the floppy disk's top folder, as shown in Figure 15.6. If that fails, look inside any folders named WindowsXP, Windows2000 (or some reasonable approximation), W2K, or NT5. When you've located the setup file, click OK.

Figure 15.6. If Windows needs help finding the appropriate driver setup file, find the INF file on the floppy disk.


The exact name of the folder containing your device driver varies from vendor to vendor. You might have to poke around a little on the disk to find it.

After Windows has installed the card's driver software, it automatically configures and uses the card. Check the Device Manager (explained earlier) to see whether the card is installed and functioning. Then you can proceed to “Installing Network Wiring” later in this chapter.



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