On adding a PCI-based Network Card to an existing Windows system, what will happen? Will it automatically take advantage of the extra network cards? I mean, what are the benefits of doing this?

Update: What about VMs? Can I route my VMs to use the second Network Card for all their traffic?

closed as not a real question by Zoredache, Rob Moir, user27296, sysadmin1138, EEAA Nov 16 '10 at 4:04

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    The computer will begin to engage in random conversations with passing Nobel-prize winners, and may also start to automatically place your profile on leading Internet Dating websites. Further, you may find that your hair is uncharacteristically soft and manageable, and your mother nags you less about finding a life-partner. (this applies whether or not you currently have such a partner) – Andrew Barber Nov 14 '10 at 8:11
  • Since I wouldn't by nature recommend a Windows system as a router/firewall/bridge of any sort... the only advantages/benefits I can see would be separation of services (i.e. SMTP internal/external, or IIS on one, SMTP on another, etc.), or link aggregation for redundancy or increased throughput: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_aggregation – Zayne S Halsall Nov 14 '10 at 20:31
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    There is nothig wrong with using windows as a router/firewall/bridge (in fact a virtual forefront TMG server is a great way to set up and protect a DMZ if you need more than just a router) – Jim B Nov 14 '10 at 20:50
  • Configuring VMs to use a separate nic from the host is good practise. – ramruma Nov 21 '10 at 17:23

On a more serious note; an extra network card in any system (Windows or not) permits you to connect the system to an extra network; perhaps to serve as a bridge or router.

No... it will not automatically 'take advantage' of the card. Just like the first one, it has to be configured usefully to be of any benefit.

There is no benefit whatsoever if you don't already know why you might want one in the first place.


I don't think any operating system will 'automatically take advantage' of an additional network card. I certainly hope not anyway, because that approach will cause more problems than it solves.

Using more than one network card in a computer is perfectly possible of course, but it is one of the points at which networking becomes quite complicated, and as such you need to configure the computer yourself in order to support whatever it is you are trying to do...

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    hehe... yes; I think we all hope that computers don't start automatically "taking advantage" of networking gear. Oooh... wouldn't it be FUN if Wireless adapters would automatically connect us to random networks and start exposing... oh.. wait.. :p – Andrew Barber Nov 14 '10 at 8:41
  • heh.. good point Andrew – Rob Moir Nov 14 '10 at 9:04

When your windows system grows old, and you've gotten bored with it, you might repurpose the machine as a firewall/router using Smoothwall Express (open source) firewall. The two cards can then be used to a) interface to your ISPT; and b) connect to a router in your network. These systems are very user-configurable, and generate a ton of statistics and logs so you can be aware of how things work. Visit http://www.smoothwall.org/ for more info.

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