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The case of the disappearing network adapter

Learn how to performing a restore under Windows 2000 without making your network adapter disappear.

Performing a restore under Windows 2000 can make your network adapter disappear. If you perform a full restore or a full System State restore over a clean Windows 2000 installation, the Device Manager may fail to show the network adapter at the end of the restore. Instead, a new device may be reported. Worse, you won't be able to re-install the network adapter.

The reason, according to Microsoft, is that before you can do a restore under these circumstances, Windows 2000 requires that it be reinstalled using the same method used to install the original installation. If you did the original installation using an installation script and try to reinstall using the Windows 2000 CD-ROM, for example, odd things can happen in Device Manager.

Microsoft offers two solutions for the problem. The first is to perform an in-place upgrade of Windows 2000 after you perform the restore operation. If this doesn't work, Microsoft suggests the following work around:

First, make sure you have a secondary protocol, such at NetBEUI, installed. If you don't have one installed by default, install one now. If the computer is a domain controller restart the system in the Directory Services Restore mode. If it isn't a domain controller, restart the computer in "Safe Mode with Networking." Now remove the TCP/IP protocol from the properties list of the local area connection. Now restart the computer again as you did previously -- in Directory Services Restore mode if it is a domain controller and in Safe Mode With Networking if it isn't. Now reinstall the TCP/IP protocol in the Local Area Connection properties. The final step, if appropriate is to remove the protocol you temporarily added in the first step. (Microsoft discusses this situation in KnowledgeBase Article number 318715 titled "A Network Adapter Is Missing in Device Manager After a Full Restore."), available at

Of course the best thing to do is make sure you do the reinstall using the method used for the original installation to avoid the whole process. The KnowledgeBase article gives links to other articles on backup and restore procedures and using the backup program in Windows 2000, which are worth reading to help understand backup and restore in Windows 2000.

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

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