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Connecting 2 PCs - very strange
JohnK Dec-26-00 03:05 AM
Thank you to those who have responded to my previous posting. I have made some progress, but need some very specific advice.

To recap, I am trying to connect a W95 and a W98SE computer, with a crossover cable. I have failed so far, except in one strange instance.

By repeated experiments, I find that when I have TCP/IP installed, and use the same IP address on each machine, I get the following error message on boot-up on both machines, as you would expect:

"The system has detected a conflict for IP address with the system having hardware address 00:80:AD:00:A3:8A (different hardware address for both machines, obviously)."

On the W95 machine, the line "The interface has been disabled" is added.

This means, obviously, that there is some basic connection between the machines. The message appears before logging on to the network. This is, however, the only sign I can get that there is a link.

When I reboot with different IP addresses, there is no network: With TCP/IP installed, I can't ping the other machine (can ping same machine fine). Net Diag fails on NetBEUI if I'm using that as the default, etc. In Network Neighborhood I can see the same machine, not the other one. Same with Start|Find|Computer. As I have said before, I have tried every protocol, in isolation, and together. I have also deleted everything from Network Neighborhood, including the network cards, on both machines and started all over again. Nothing. Except when I revert to using the same IP address on both, and I get the above message.

So I have dug deeper, and come up with the following possibilities. As the options are becoming more drastic, I would appreciate some advice on which to go with first.

1. That the two systems just don't like communicating by crossover - I should use a hub.

2. The W98 uses IRQ steering for the CNET Pro200WL network card. It shares IRQ11 with my video card. This, I suppose, could be a problem in itself. But also, when I boot into Dos and run the card's diagnostic program, it seems to suggest that the "system allocated interrupt" is 9. Is this a possible cause? The BIOS PnP option is set to No. The card on the W95 is the Netgear EA201 (ISA). I am wary of switching off PCI steering on the W98 machine becuase I am not certain of the consequences. As with all modern systems, the IRQs are crowded.

3. The cards simply don't like each other - I should maybe stick an ISA card in the W98 or a PCI in the W95.

To restate some other basics from my previous message: I have used two different crossover cables. I know one of them works, and I know that the network cards function because both of the machines have recently been connected to the Net via an Ethernet DSL modem (using one of the crossover cables I'm currently using - both are Belkin). The ethernet modem is now gone from the system.

Thank you in anticipation for your help.


1. try this
robert03 Dec-26-00 06:11 AM
In response to message 0
first of all, both your computers are setup correctly, the error u recieve tells u so.
ok now about the ip conflict,
use these
sunbet for both
this should solve the problem,

i guess when u get the error message one computer disables its nic. U will have to go to
the device manager and right click on the network card and click enable.

2. RE: try this
JohnK Dec-26-00 11:58 AM
In response to message 1
Thanks for your response, but I think I did not make myself clear. I was deliberately making the IP address error - it is the only way I can get a network response.

When I change to and re-enable or re-install the network cards/clients/protocols etc, I can get no network response, even through pinging or net diag. But if I try the clashing IP addresses again I can get the error message again. That's what's so strange.


3. RE: Connecting 2 PCs - very strange
lbyard Dec-26-00 06:22 PM
In response to message 0
A proper crossover cable works just as well as two straight-thru cables and hub. I provided an extensive response to your earlier post on Friday. What did you determine from those steps? Try moving the network board to another PCI slot. Larry

4. RE: Connecting 2 PCs - very strange
JohnK Dec-26-00 07:36 PM
In response to message 3
Thanks for your posting, lbyard.

Yes, I took full note of your previous posting. Both of the cables I am using are definitely crossover. As I said before, I know at least one of them works because I used it to join the two machines to a DSL modem recently.

There is no 'extra' network adapter installed in either machine to cope with DSL. That equipment is now gone anyway. It's just the one adapter per machine.

The activity light never blinks, but the two cards do give a green light when I link the two with one of the cables. ICS has never been installed - I was under the impression you should have a working network before playing with ICS. I did as you said (uninstall everything, install the bare minimum, try sticking to adapters/NetBEUI/sharing/client for Microsoft Networks, login to Microsoft Networking), but no response. I only occasionally have installed TCP/IP to check this recurring curiosity that the only time I get any network response is the conflict error on boot-up when I deliberately set the same IP address on both machines.

The more I think about it the more I think that PCI steering may be the problem. My BIOS on the W98 machine does seem to report a different IRQ for the network card (IRQ 9) to that reported by Windows (IRQ 11). I believe this can cause a network card to fail even though Windows reports that it is working properly. I am just a bit unsure about switching off PCI steering bacause I am not sure how serious the consequences can be. And would I even get the IP error message if PCI steering was the culprit? Can you enlighten me?

Thanks for your interest in my problem.


5. RE: Connecting 2 PCs - very strange
robert03 Dec-27-00 00:34 AM
In response to message 4
if your card has a conflict with another device, then it could be causing the problem.
at the dos prompt type msd.exe and check to see which IRQ's are free.
ot in the device manager, go to the device and see read & post the error you are getting there.

6. RE: Connecting 2 PCs - very strange
lbyard Dec-27-00 05:23 PM
In response to message 5
If your motherboard has the VIA MVP3 chipset, download the VIA 4-in1 drivers from http://www.viatech.com/drivers/index.htm and install the IRQ Routing Driver. If the cable is good, the lack of a blinking activity LED indicates that the network adapter is not working or the protocols are not talking to it. Try another PCI slot. Larry

7. RE: Connecting 2 PCs - very strange
jeff Dec-28-00 03:00 AM
In response to message 6
Don't know if this will help but MS has 2 KB articles on IRQ Steering. Q182604 gives a description of PCI IRQ Steering and Q182628 explains how to disable it.

8. RE: Connecting 2 PCs - very strange
JohnK Dec-29-00 03:34 PM
In response to message 7
This is a note to say thank you to those who have helped me out on this issue. It's now solved.

The problem was down to the ISA card, which was only pretending to work properly. After countless re-installs, and for reasons that will probably always remain a mystery, it jumped into life (changing the IRQ was definitely part of the solution though).

Again, thanks.


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