Question Ethernet not working: is the network adapter card dead?

Jul 6, 2021
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Today, my ethernet stopped working. My screen flickered black while using my desktop for about a couple seconds, and when it returned everything was normal except for my internet, which was unavailable. I did some troubleshooting already with depressing results. I took one article's advice to uninstall and reinstall the network adapter driver (realtek pice 2.5gbe family controller), except when I uninstalled it, 'scanning for hardware changes' found no card.

At this point, I'm left with no ethernet and no network driver.

Specs:
Windows 10
MSI z490 pro motherboard

Timeline:
  • Screen flickers black, returns to normal but internet is not working
    • Ethernet lights are still blinking however
  • Attempt to reinstall driver by uninstalling reinstalling. Computer was unable to detect the card
    • Ethernet light no longer blinking
  • Attempt some ipconfig, netsh commands at the advice of online forums, no luck
  • Attempt to reinstall driver from realtek website. Autoinstaller did not detect the card
  • Attempt Windows 10 reset (with my files kept). Still not working, and driver still missing
  • Confirmed that the USB ports near the ethernet are still working
  • Ethernet light on the router is green, but not blinking
  • Tried to enter bios m-flash mode. It reset when trying to enter flash mode. Computer was on, peripherals were working save the monitor which was not displaying anything.
All other hardware and drivers seem to be operating correctly at least. BIOS is the latest version, although I couldn't reinstall the same version for some reason.
Is my network card dead? Perhaps a bigger question, is my motherboard breaking down?

If not, what options have I not exhausted.

If so, what could be responsible? Could it have been my power supply crapping out on me? Everything SEEMS ok otherwise.

I would really appreciate some help or advice

EDIT: I also had NordVPN running on my macihne, and people online seem to suggest it uses a dll that paths with the main network driver. Some people say it's screwed their drivers and even adapter card in some cases. Thought I'd mention it in case anyone else has seen or heard about this.
 
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Nord is one of the more reputable vpn. If you were to uninstall it to test it generally removes all the drivers. I only run router based VPN after having to reinstall windows for other vpn provider software

First test is to use the ipconfig /all and see if the port status is active or disconnected. If it is active do you get actual IP or is it the 169.x.x.x stuff.

You could try to reboot in safe mode with networking that tends to "fix/hide" vpn related issues. A better test would be to boot a linux USB image. Most contain the driver for the 2.5g ethernet on your board. If this still does not work it likely you somehow damaged the port. I have had lightning fry a bunch of ethernet ports and switches even though I have everything on UPS and surge protection. You can not fix a dead port you can only use some add in card or usb device.

There have been a lot of posts about the 2.5g ports in machines having issues. The drivers seem to be very unstable, they fix one thing and break another....or microsoft forces a patch and breaks stuff. Most these issues though are performance not a dead port condition.
 
Jul 6, 2021
2
0
10
0
Nord is one of the more reputable vpn. If you were to uninstall it to test it generally removes all the drivers. I only run router based VPN after having to reinstall windows for other vpn provider software

First test is to use the ipconfig /all and see if the port status is active or disconnected. If it is active do you get actual IP or is it the 169.x.x.x stuff.

You could try to reboot in safe mode with networking that tends to "fix/hide" vpn related issues. A better test would be to boot a linux USB image. Most contain the driver for the 2.5g ethernet on your board. If this still does not work it likely you somehow damaged the port. I have had lightning fry a bunch of ethernet ports and switches even though I have everything on UPS and surge protection. You can not fix a dead port you can only use some add in card or usb device.

There have been a lot of posts about the 2.5g ports in machines having issues. The drivers seem to be very unstable, they fix one thing and break another....or microsoft forces a patch and breaks stuff. Most these issues though are performance not a dead port condition.
I have a strong sense that the card itself is dead, not just the port. If it is driver related, I have no way of reinstalling it as my computer will not detect the network card (horrible sign). If it were just the port, I would assume that my computer would be able to detect the embedded card. I also checked that it wasn't my ethernet cable causing the issue - it works with a plung-&-play ethernet adapter for usb 3.0. I'm only on 300mb/s so it's no biggy aside from having to use a clunky usb ethernet adapter. After the windows reinstall, the VPN was completely removed obviously so I don't assume it was that unless what it may have done earlier was so bad as to be irreversible.

At this point I'm more concerned about why my screen went black temporarily. I'm not sure what's responsible for it and if it was in anyway related to my network card crapping out. If there is something more nefariously wrong, I certainly wouldn't want it damaging any other components.
 
I know very little about video stuff I am a network guy, I had a black screen boot condition because microsoft "helped" me and updated my video driver with some garbage instead of the one I was using which was already almost the newest. That was a huge pain to fix.

I doubt it but see if you can install the motherboard drivers from the manufacture. What you are describing where the card is not even detected we see people asking about all the time. Most times it is because they did not install the motherboard drivers. After you do that the ethernet suddenly appears and you can install that driver.
 

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