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Install & Configure a Network Card

With this tutorial, we hope to aid first time users with the installation of an ISA/PCI/PCMCIA network interface card (NIC). This tutorial will cover both desktop and notebook computers.

Items needed: 

  1. A non-magnetic Phillips #1 screwdriver.  
  2. An anti-static wrist band
  3. Your computerís user manual 
  4. Your new Ethernet card, driver disks, and user's manual 
  5. Your PCMCIA Ethernet adapter 
  6. A driver disk for your adapter (included with your adapter) 
  7. Instruction manual for your PCMCIA 

Desktop PC's

Safety Precautions:
1. To prevent static electricity from damaging vital components of your computer, remember to always attach an anti-static strip bracelet from your wrist to your computer case. 
2. Computer cases were not meant to be opened by the everyday user and thus are not made with the safety of the user in mind. Be careful for sharp edges in the casing that can cut your fingers and/or hands.
3. Never remove a component or open a computer case while the power is on and the power cable attached. Always remove all connecting cables before opening your case. 

Opening the Case:
1. Shut off the system if it is on. 
2. Remove all cables connecting to the computer. 
3. Locate the screws holding the case cover in place on the frame. 
4. Remove the screws attaching the cover to the frame. 
5. Many new systems have tight cases and/or special cases. Removing the casing might require some prying. Use a flat-head screwdriver to push the case open against the front panel. Seek assistance if you cannot open the case alone. If the case seems really peculiar. Check your computer's user manual first to see if they instruct you on how to open your computer. 

Locating the Expansion Slots:
1. Place the open computer frame on its side with the motherboard facing up. This means you can see the motherboard from a bird's eye view. The motherboard is the biggest board you can see within the frame. It usually covers an entire side and has other smaller boards sticking up from it. 
2. Looking at the motherboard, try to locate the expansion slots. Expansion slots are either long black strips or short white strips that look like Lego blocks standing up. ISA slots are black. PCI slots are white. Open slots are those that do not have other boards inserted in them. 


Installing Your New Card:
1. Determine which interface (ISA or PCI) your card uses. ISA is long and the gold contacts are large. PCI is much shorter and smaller.
2. Next, check to see if the expansion slot opening next to the slot is covered. If it is, remove the cover by unscrewing it from the frame or popping it out. (IMPORTANT: Keep the screw and the slot cover.) If you have a new case that has slot covers built in you will have to remove them manually with a screwdriver. Please refer to your user manual for details.
3. When the slot cover has been removed, insert your card into the expansion slot on the motherboard. Press firmly so the entire part of the card that has the gold contacts goes completely into the expansion slot on the motherboard and will go no further. Do not use any tools to try to hammer the card in if it does not fit.
4. Make sure the side of the card resembling the expansion slot cover you just removed is covering most of the open slot.
5. Screw the card into place with the screw you removed from the expansion slot cover or a new screw. 

Replacing the Case:
1. After confirming the proper placement of the card, make sure you did not leave any tools or screws within the computer. Replace the case and screw it back in place.
2. Reconnect all the cables to their proper places. 

Booting Up:
1. Turn on the power.
2. Refer to your user's manual to install the proper drivers from the disk(s) that came with the card.
3. Refer to the section setting up and configuring your computer for ResNet for the settings you will need to access ResNet.
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Notebook PC's

Safety Precautions:
1. Never remove a PCMCIA card without stopping it in Windows or while the computer is on. This may damage your card. 
2. Do not insert anything other than PCMCIA cards in your card slots, as this may damage the slots.
3. Use the built-in push buttons to eject your card; never use pliers or other tools. Consult your notebook's user manual regarding how to eject an inserted PCMCIA card.
4. When your PCMCIA card is not inserted in the slot, place it somewhere safe away from dust and water. 

Inserting your PCMCIA card:
1. Locate the PCMCIA slots on the side of your computer. If you are not sure exactly where they are, consult your notebook's user manual. These slots are always located together, one on top of another, and always on the left or right side of your computer. 
2. When inserting your PCMCIA card, insert it in only the top or bottom slot. Do not try to insert it in the middle. 
3. Insert your card into the slot completely. Press it until it can go no farther. 
4. If your card comes with an extension adapter, plug it into the card and then plug the network cable into the adapter. 
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Configuring your Network Interface Card:

Network TCP/IP Configuration for Windows 95-98

1. Double click the My Computer icon on your desktop. 
2. Locate and double click on the Control Panel icon.
3. Next double click the Network icon to open the Network Control Panel.
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Confirm Installation of your Ethernet Adapter Card:

The Local Area Connection window will list the Network Adapters, Network Protocols, and Network Clients that you have installed on your system. The specific configuration will likely vary from the illustration below. 

If TCP/IP is already installed, it will appear in the list of installed protocols. Click once on the listed item Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) - this will select this item. Now click the Properties button. 

Verify both the Obtain an IP address automatically and the Obtain DNS server address automatically radio buttons are selected. Click on the Advanced button. 

In the Advanced TCP/IP Settings window, click on the DNS tab. Uncheck the box Register this connection's addresses in DNS toward the bottom of the screen.

Click OK to close the Advanced TCP/IP Settings window. Click OK to close the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties window. Continue by clicking the OK button to close the Local Area Connection Properties window. Close the Network and Dial-up Connections window. 

At this point, you may be prompted to restart your computer.

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Troubleshooting:

The NICs must be installed in Windows with the proper driver. Just because Windows loaded a driver from it's database does not mean it is right. Always use the driver provided by the manufacturer.

The NICS usually will not work if Windows has assigned an IRQ other than 10 or 11. This is not a hard and fast rule, many newer cards will allow Windows to assign just any old IRQ, but if your network does not work, this can be the problem.

Workgroup:
Both PCs must have the same WORK GROUP. This is the designation for your Network and they must match.

Now, in this case it is "ONE." Each PC on your network must have the same listing for Workgroup. Go to the "Network Neighborhood" icon on your desktop and right click your mouse. Then click on "properties." This will give you the above window. Just click on the "Identification" tab at the top to check the settings. The computer name and description must be different for each PC and it does not matter what you call them.

Drivers required for a Network:
This may be the most confusing issue for most people new to networking and even a great many people who have been using a network now. You only need two drivers for a basic network installed on each PC:

Network card driver 
Microsoft NETBEUI driver 

In this example, you see the drivers by clicking on the "Configuration" tab in the same Window discussed above. You see a NIC driver for the system's 3Com NIC and you see a MS NETBEUI driver. The third driver, client for Microsoft Networks is not necessary although many people leave it in or install it. If you need to add drivers, just click on the "ADD" button and follow the steps. The "Netbeui" driver is a PROTOCOL driver, listed under Microsoft. You do not need to change any settings inside of these drivers, as they will work fine "as-is."

File and Print Sharing:
In this area, you must have the "File Sharing" box checked on at least one PC, the PC from which you wish to read and write data to the hard drive. Typically, on a home network you will just check this box on both PCs, so both can read the hard drive on the other. 

Drive Sharing:
This is an often forgotten issue. You MUST set at least one hard drive on the PC you wish to access to be "Shared." Even with all the other settings above, if there is nothing shared on the system you are attempting to access across your network, it will not see the PC.

Double Click on your "My Computer" icon on the desktop. Then, right click your mouse on the "C" drive, clicking on the 'Sharing' option. You will then see this window:

Note two things here: The drive has "Shared As" checked with a Share Name for the "C" drive, in this case: C and the "Access Type" has been set to FULL. Typically, for a first time Network just use these settings. Setting passwords and other special items will come when your understanding grows.

Now, if you have all of the above set properly and your network does not allow you to read the hard drive of another PC across your network, you should be safe in considering you have a hardware issue.

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