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A network cable is unplugged LAN error




XP says my LAN cable is unplugged while it is plugged! I use 2 computers and (hence) 1 crosscable. I have tried everything:

- new NICs (ethernetcards)
- manualy setting NIC speed
- replacing the crosscable
- un- and reïnstalling NICs

When i run ipconfig in DOS it recognizes my NIC, but says: Media Disconnected about the device. Windows recognizes and properly installs the card. It shows no errors in Device Manager.

The only option i have left is the quote below from a message i read in a Microsoft newsgroup. My NIC is indeed installed twice, but i can't get the 'wrong' one uninstalled.


If you look in device manager you will see all of the
hardwire devices installed in the computer, right?? Wrong! As I just
discovered there are also hidden devices (click view, then show hidden
devices). It was here that I found numerous drivers related to all of the
various NIC cards that I had tried as well as for the various PCI slot
positions I had tried them in! I had 3 copies of one driver, 2 of another
and the one from the NIC I was currently using. I tried to uninstall these
not needed 'hidden' drivers but couldn't. You have to re install the device
in the same PCI slot it was in originally, let windows detect it and then
uninstall the visible copy of the driver. The hidden driver then disappears
also. After doing this for all of the NIC drivers listed I got down to the
drivers for the NIC I wanted to use.

Every thing works fine now!!!!

Any ideas??????


Sounds like a bad cable to me. You say you tried replacing the crossover cable. You're connecting directly to your other computer then, not through a hub? Describe your LAN setup.


Cannot be. My cable works 100%
LAN setup: direct crosscable connection between two computers with 100mbps NICS. Both computers run on WinXP.
Well, if your machines are saying your NIC's are up and running ok. The only thing I can think of would be a bad crossover cable, or that it's a straight through cable.

Do you have 2 NIC's in one machine and connect to the internet with a dsl modem? Or are you using dial-up? If you're using dial-up then my idea of connecting each computer, one at a time to the DSL modem to test NIC functionality is moot. I'm afraid that's the best I can offer.


Thanks for the advice, but i don't have a DSL modem. I have a 56k6 connection. I really don't understand this problem. After four days of trying i know every possible XP setting that could influence my network. I am also very, very sure the cable is a crosscable and that it works ok. I have tried various cross cables that all work on my friend's network.
There is two visible things i can't explain:

When i choose start > settings > network connections
the next popup shows Local Area Connection 10. Every time i try to setup a new connection 1 is added to the number. Perhaps XP thinks i have 10 LAN connections.


When i go to system>hardware>device manager and choose view>show hidden devices it shows 3 Intel components:

The second and third Intel components i know belong to my currently installed NIC. The first one i am not certain about.
Perhaps this relates to the quote in the first message in this discussion.

Hope someone can help.



Retired Mod
Political User
First, you can rename the LAN connection to whatever you want. Are both computers desktops? If one is a laptop with a PC-Card NIC it could be a bad dongle (The RJ-45 to PC-Card adapter)

The first part in the device manager is still part of th same card. It is a seperate driver that conrol's the card's Wake On LAN functions.

I noticed you only provided details on one computer. Some more details about the LAN connection to the 2nd computer would also be helpful



Both are dsktop computers and run WinXp pro. The other computer's device manager shows only the 2nd and 3d Intel component. The management adapter is not installed. Could this be caused by the fact the other pcs motherboard doesn't have a wake on lan function?
(Just a suggestion). Start > settings > network connections looks the same apart from the fact there is no number after Local Area Connection. On my PC (dualboot), the problem remains when i use Win2000, the other pc only has WinXp installed.

Regards, Rubenski

(By the way, the possibility that my problem is due to the fault described in the quote in the first message from this thread is ruled out now. The other pc has no old drivers installed, neither has mine.)
This is what i'd do. I'd uninstall everything under Network Adapters i could lay my grub hooks on. Uninstall everything, reboot and let XP pick it back up. See what you see. If the connection isn't established, do the same on the other machine.

And i hate to say it, but if it's not connecting after that then it has to be something in the cable or where the cables connect. look at the plugs, look inside the female plugs on the adapters, make sure something's not broken or shorting out.

When the error "LAN cable is unplugged" comes up. That's usually it so I'm betting that something is messed up either with the cable, or with the NIC connections. I hope you find out it's something simple like one of the NIC connector prongs is bent down too far to connect with the cable.


Thanks again, but i've already tried uninstalling every network component and rebooting and it really can't be the cables or the NICs. I have tried all the cards and cables in different settings on my friend's network and they work fine. I will reinstall XP and never unplug my network cable again!

Thanks to everyone for all the help i received!!!



In some earlier WinXp builds. Windows told me all the time that th cable was unplugged. But networking worked fine anyway...;)


* one month later.....*

This whole "network cable unplugged" problem must be an XP bug. I've really tried every possible solution on hardware and software level and it just won't work. Next to that, in forums i find very many posts about this problem and noone is able to solve it.


rebenski: Try this: boot up in safemode (hold F8 down when your computer beeps before WinXP starts booting, and keep holding it until you get the boot screen) and go into Device Manager. Choose to show hidden devices, and remove EVERY network adapter and protocol shown, one by one. When that is done, reboot normally and let XP redetect and reinstall everything. Once that is done you should be good to go.


Same problem between desktop and laptop

I am trying to setup a lan between the desktop and the laptop. The laptop's ethernet is onboard so there can't be a dongle problem. Both PCs are running XP corp. The cable works fine cos when I plug it on the University LAN and to the desktop or the laptop, the internet can be accessed. The laptop produces the error message, while the desktop is all fine and dandy if the connection to the hole in the wall is broken. The wizards have been used to setup a home network named "HOME", so that should work. When however the cable links lkaptop to desktop the laptop cringes. Naturally, shared folders are not visible accross the cable.

The catch is I do not know what a cross RJ-45 cable is. I just bought an RJ-45 in shop to link my desktop to the University LAN. Now that I got a laptop, I unplugged one end off the wall and plugged it to the laptop. The laptop said that the cable is not plugged, but the desktop was fine. I plugged the laptop to the Uni LAN and it was fine. Put it back tot he desktop and it cringes.

Is a hub the best solution here?

Or shall I try laplink or direct cable or smthg?

Suggestion: Someone that knows their stuff better write a guide on Laptop/desktop networking...



Okay, you are using a normal ethernet cable. For computer-to-LAN that works fine. You have two options here now.
1. You buy a hub/switch/router/whatever-floats-your-boat and another ethernet cable, and plug both computers into the hub. You may also need to put a 2nd NIC in your PC, depending on if your school gives you more than one IP or lets you connect with DHCP on your laptop.
2. You buy a crossover cable. (If you hold the two ends of an ethernet cable side by side, the cables will be in the same order. If you do the same with a crossover, they'll be in a different order, though not necessarily opposite.) If you ask in any computer store, they'll be able to show you one.


May be a little late but had the same problem.

I have four computers hooked up via 4-port router/switch (Linksys).

I had a Netgear FA312 that kept saying unplugged when everything else was fine. I replaced the card with a different card, voila, it worked. I called Netgear and found that since a different card worked and I had tried the same card in a machine that had an identical (working) card in it, that it had to be a bad card so they are replacing it.

In the meantime, I had to get a card working in that machine and the one I used as a replacement was a very very slow one, I bought an extra card, another Linksys. I've had no problems since then. I am still waiting on the replacement from Netgear, btw.


Gateway Perf 500

Comp#2 (aka Bear - home built)
Gigabyte mobo
celeron processor 900 mhz until new processor comes in
10 gig hd
80 gig hd
All in Wonder Pro 32 meg video

Gateway Essential 700c

Comcrap (oops, Compaq) Presario 5440
This machine will soon be reincarnated in a new case with new mobo, processor, and spare parts.

All four networked using a 4-port Linksys router/switch using NIC cards: 1 Netgear, 2 Linksys, 1 RealTek.

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