Question Motherboard (ASUS Z170 ) or Windows Update Fail

bmcelvan

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I am quite puzzled here hoping for some help. Have an ASUS Z170 Sabertooth Mark 1 board with an i7-6700k CPU and 2x16GB GSKILL TridentZ RAM (not that really matters imo). Been running Windows 8.1_64Bit for a few years now no problem. So I finally decided to put in Win10_64bit and now my ethernet cable network ports (not just internet) don't work and am struggling to figure out if those ports actually failed or if there is some software (or I guess hardware) based issue that disabled them.

Prior to upgrade, created a Win8.1 "system repair disc" and then "created a system image" using the Windows Backup and Restore utilities (which I've both created and used for restore a few times before on this computer with no problems).

Then using a bootable Win10 USB deleted the partitions on my "system" SSD and let win10 install. After install everything seemed to be working fine and I started loading my "base" programs before making another system image (I do this so I can refresh my PC every few months to keep it clean and clear of clutter). I hadn't finished installing my programs yet and went to bed. Woke up the next morning and noticed that Windows 10 had done a few Windows Updates and that I had no network connectivity. Was told by the troubleshooter that "no ethernet cable was plugged in". Keep in mind that I had not touched/changed anything on this PC other than the OS install for weeks. I didn't unplug or newly plug cables into the computer. I checked to see if there was a restore point but none had been created yet. So after googling saw a bunch of stuff about windows 10 breaking peoples internet and uninstalled EVERY windows update. No change.

Now puzzled and pissed off, I thought I'd install a fresh copy (again) and create a system image and restore point immediately after install. Deleted partition, reinstalled and this time when it loaded up noticed the resolution was different, was in the basic VGA (or whatever) no driver resolution and that the network was again not found. I then realized that the network hadn't been available for the installation and therefore couldn't download some of the necessary drivers, that's my guess anyway.

NOW, really pissed off, I said screw it and used my Win8 repair disk, deleted partition again and used restore to put my old win8.1 image back on. Booted...NO NETWORK?!?!?!?!

Everything else on the motherboard seems to work fine, audio, USB, i7-6700k intel video driver (no video card) just not the network ports (there are two of them). I just find it hard that they and only they failed especially since I only use one ethernet cable /port, the other still has the ASUS black plastic plug in it.

In the BIOS I checked everything I could to see if the network port were deactivated or something but I couldn't see anything disabled.

QUESTIONS:

Q1: Is there a BIOS or some other utility to test the network ports (outside of windows) to see if they really are fried?

Q2: Is it possible for Windows Update to change something that actually affects/disables/ruins the hardware?

Any help/thoughts would be really appreciated.

Thanks

Ben

PS - Oh and the kicked of course, I bought the ASUS TUF model because it had a 5 year warranty. I purchased from NewEgg on 30Jan16 and my ASUS account says as muchy so I should be within in that 5 year window by my ASUS account says the warranty expired on 12Jan2021??? Literally a few days before this potential hardware happened...seems fishy to me lol!!
 

jojesa

Illustrious
If the only issue you're having is that Network it could be a coincidence that happened when you were upgrading.
Make sure it isn't the Ethernet cable, or the port in the router.

Create a live bootable Linux on USB flash drive and see if the Ethernet works.
You could use ubuntu, since it is very simple.

If it is the Network that went bad, you could get a PCIe Network card...they're very inexpensive.
 

bmcelvan

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Jan 8, 2015
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Thanks for the idea about the live bootable Linux on USB, I've never used Linux. Can you share a link to where I'd get the software needed to do that?

Can anyone confirm that Windows Update can actually change your BIOS? (and mess up your motherboard)

It's not the cable, network or router. The same cable just switched to other devices, Nintendo Wii U, my synology server, another computer works fine. Seeing other ASUS people having the exact same issue but don't really see any resolution yet:
https://rog.asus.com/forum/showthread.php?103024-Ethernet-LAN-cant-be-found/page2

I put off Win10 for SO LONG because of all the BS it apparently does to Win PCs and now it looks like Windows10 Update has the ability to actually CHANGE and totally f-up the BIOS that I worked so long and hard to tweak just they way I wanted it...and then BREAKS the Intel LAN ports.

Someone on that thread actually said something that worked was unplugging the computer from the wall, drained the capacitors by pressing power button, and then plugged back in and it worked again...I mean, seriously?

There has got to be a way to TURN OFF windows update, instead of the we'll F-up your computer but don't worry, you can uninstall it after (but it won't fix the issue).

Really hoping I can find a version of BIOS that will work (even though the version I'm now worked for 5 years with Win8 no problem).
 

bmcelvan

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Jan 8, 2015
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Sorry, I tried to include all my troubleshooting but obviously forgot some. I should also clarify, when I say BIOS I belive I should be saying UEFI BIOS as I can use my mouse in it.

Yes, I downloaded the latest network drivers from the ASUS website to a flash drive and installed them in Windows. It didn't change anything.

Immediately after the Win10_64 fresh install, when it was working, before I did anythign else I went to device manager to see if there were any yellow arrows to see if I should update device drivers first, I like to use the ones from the OEM website instead of teh Windows Update ones but everything was good to go, no unknown devices. HOWEVER, I did the same thing after teh update when I noticed the network wasn't working and noticed there were like 10 or 12 devices with yellow arrows, the Intel LAN adapter being one of them. CLEARLY A WINDOWS UPDATE FAIL!!

But like I said above, I then did install them...nothing.

The BIOS for ASUS TUF boards has an option to download and update the bios through the internet and the bios itself. However, after this windows update the BIOS itself can't even connect to the internet. Obviously I can do it manually with a flash drive which I will do again when I get home. I just didn't want to change anything (else) before I messed with the BIOS. I didn't realize Windows could change the BIOS, I thought it was a mutually exclusive piece of software.

It's like someone or something threw a switch that just TURNS OFF THE NETWORK PORTS.
 

GregoryDude

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May 16, 2015
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Someone on that thread actually said something that worked was unplugging the computer from the wall, drained the capacitors by pressing power button, and then plugged back in and it worked again...I mean, seriously?
I've built and sold many PCs, you'd be surprised how often this method has worked in fixing problems, from not posting to, looping, to not displaying an image, to not recognizing hardware...it is a legit troubleshooting technique, just sayin'
 

bmcelvan

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I am at work so not home to try both those ideas which I will do and report back whether they work or not in case others have this same issue.

Oh I totally agree (about the power cycle), wasn't trying to say I would not try it nor that it was stupid or a bad idea, I'm just fascinated that it still works, lol. Especially because it seems in the last few years OS's have basically gotten rid of the "turn off" feature because in the new (smartphone) world of "It always has to be on and immediately available for use" turning something off apparently is frowned upon now.
 

bmcelvan

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Tried the power option, still no network.

Tried the Wake-on-LAN (Power On By PCI-E/PCI) Still no network.

Tried installing new BIOS thru the ASUS EZ Flash 3 via the internet, cannot connect to server. Rebooted and tried again, cannot connect to server. Switched cable to the other LAN port and rebooted. Cannot find server.

Downloaded newest BIOS to flash drive, flashed the BIOS, booted into windows 8.1, no network.

Finally GOT IT TO WORK!! Flashed the BIOS back to the version I used when installed 8.1, no network. I have I think 5 BIOS versions on that same USB stick and I tried them in version order and on the third attempt I had network. WEIRD!! I then used the EZ flash option in the BIOS via the internet to download the newest BIOS and that's where I am now.

So will install Win10 again. I have Enterprise so will use the gpedit.msc to disable Windows Update and/or only manually install the "security updates" one at a time. Hopefully they don't include the KB that was the problem, my suspicion is that Windows Updates defaults to "update everything possible" so the security updates should be okay.

So to answer my own questions starting with the thread title:

WINDOWS UPDATE FAIL!!

Q1: (I'm) still not sure. If the BIOS is messed up then the live bootable Linux USB drive probably won't work either.

Q2: Windows update CAN change and mess up your BIOS!!

Thanks for all the suggestions and help.
 
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