How to Reinstall an IP Driver in Windows XP


TCP/IP is the network protocol used by the Internet. It's also the network protocol most often used in a local area network. The words "IP driver" might be used to describe either the driver that runs your network interface card (NIC) or some part of the TCP/IP stack of protocols that makes your networking function.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Installation software for your NIC
  • Windows XP installation files (on hard drive or CD)

Reinstall the Network Driver

  • Make sure you have a copy of your NIC driver. You would find this on the original installation CD for your NIC or on the original installation CD for your motherboard if your NIC is an integrated part of the motherboard. Alternately, if you have a second computer with an Internet connection, you can download a copy of the correct driver once you've identified it and place it on a CD, DVD or USB memory key.

  • Click the "Start" button and right-click "My Computer." Click "Properties" from the list that drops down. On the "Hardware" tab, click "Device Manager."

  • Expand "Network Adapters" if there's a plus sign to the left of it. You may have more than one choice here. If you contact the Internet via a wired connection, your NIC probably has the word "Ethernet" in its name. If your connection is wireless, your NIC probably has the word "Wireless" in its name. Write down the exact name of your NIC.

  • Right-click on the name of your NIC and choose "Uninstall" from the list that drops down. You may be asked to confirm that you really want to uninstall. When uninstallation is complete, the NIC should disappear from the Device Manager.

  • Restart your computer and log into Windows, which will probably auto-detect your NIC. .

  • Insert the disk or other media with your driver installation files on it. Some devices recommend that you trigger installation from the disk, in which case on-screen instructions will walk you through the rest of the process. If your NIC has this type of installer, close the "Add Hardware Wizard" and use the installer. Otherwise, follow the on-screen instructions of the wizard. Let it automatically identify your device, but when it asks you where to find the driver, select the disk drive or device where you have the driver installation file.

  • Once installation is complete, restart your computer.

Reinstall the TCP/IP Stack

  • Turn your computer off. Wait 30 seconds and then turn it back on. Test to see if you experience the same problem.

  • Try a reset of the TCP/IP stack. The TCP/IP stack is not actually a driver, but if you're getting the error "IP Driver Error Code 2" or "Unable to contact IP driver, error code 2," your TCP/IP stack is corrupt. To perform a simple reset, click on the "Start" button and choose "Run." Type in "netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt" (without the quotes). Click "OK." Restart your computer and test to see if you still experience a problem.

  • Click the "Start" button and open the Control Panel. Open "Network Connections." Right-click your network connection (usually "Local Area Connection" for a wired connection or "Wireless Network Connection #" for a wireless connection). Click "Properties" in the list that drops down.

  • Click the "Install" button. Click "Protocol" and choose "Add." Click the "Have Disk" button. For "Copy manufacturer's files from," type in C:\windows\inf (where C: is the drive where Windows XP is installed). Click "OK." Choose "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)" and click "OK." Restart your computer.

  • Run a repair of your Windows XP installation if you're still having a problem. You will need your Windows XP installation files for this, either on CD or on your hard drive. Insert the CD or double-click "setup.exe" in the directory on your hard drive. Follow the on-screen instructions. Choose to repair your existing Windows XP installation. The process should find your Windows XP installation automatically and may take half an hour or more. Enter your Windows XP product key when prompted. This is usually on the COA sticker on the front, side or bottom of your computer. Keep all your existing settings for computer and Workgroup or Domain names. At the end of the repair process, the computer will start Windows.

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