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A friend asked if I could have a look at one of their computers because they kept losing all network traffic (local and internet).

Unfortunately I forgot to write the motherboard name, but it was an onboard NIC (wired ethernet). Anyway, it wasn't showing at all, nothing in network connections, nothing in device manager etc... so I thought maybe it'd been disabled in the BIOS somehow. Checked but it was enabled in BIOS.

Tried reinstalling the drivers and did a few restarts and it started working again, but a week later the same thing happened.

I thought it must have been faulty so I bought a PCI NIC and set that up. All working fine for a couple of weeks but now the same thing has happened again.

I've never dealt with anything like this before, just wondered if anyone's got any suggestions?

The PC is running XP, however, it's connecting to the internet through another PC using ICS. But I assumed if it was a problem with that, I'd at least get a "Network Cable is Unplugged" message... and it'd still show in Device Manager.

Thanks

Update - 2010-09-14:

A bit more information on this, strangely, no matter how many times I restart it doesn't fix the problem... but as soon as I actually turn off the power at the plug and leave it for 30 seconds, the network card is recognised again and works fine the next time I start it up.

So as mentioned, it's surely got to be a hardware issue when removing power from the system is changing the outcome... it's just how I'm going to find out which part is faulty now without randomly changing bits :\

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This sounds similar to a hardware failure we experienced with some laptops. I tried reinstalling XP from scratch which worked for a bit, Ripping out and reinstalling some drivers did the trick, system restores had no effect. I then had a second laptop fail as well. We realized it was a hardware failure at that point after looking closer and realizing the laptops with the problem were only a digit off on their serial number. I think there are some bad motherboard components that didn't fail right away and made it to market. –  Shial Sep 14 '10 at 16:34
    
There are cheap PCI ethernet cards. –  LatinSuD Sep 14 '10 at 21:20
    
@LatinSuD - I mentioned in the initial post that I bought a PCI network card to try. Exact same issue as the onboard NIC. Works fine for a few days then stops until I pull the power and turn it back on. –  BT643 Sep 14 '10 at 22:34
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Offhand I'd wonder if the motherboard is faulty. You can try checking for all motherboard related drivers to be up to date, and latest BIOS...

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