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How to find the Ethernet Controller Driver for my Sony Vaio PCV-RX991 computer

By John Johnson ยท 16 replies
Apr 10, 2014
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  1. After reformating the hard drive, and used Sony's Recovery Disks to restore the computer - it is supposed to wipe out everything, then install all the software to the original condition as when I bought it.
    Well, not quite. The computer works, but can not access the internet. Found that the "Ethernet Controller Driver" was not installed.
    Went to Sony's website, they have all the software download for my computer except "Ethernet Controller Driver" - that's what I need.
    e-Mailed to Sony Computer support, they just don't answer, no reply no help at all.
    Googled and tried a lot of things but just couldn't get it to access the internet.

    Question: Where or how can I find that "Ethernet Controller Driver" for my Sony Vaio PCV-RX991 computer. (Ethernet Controller Driver problem seems to be wide spread with different Sony computers.)

    Appreciate very much for your help.

    I have several computers. This is an old one. Plan to restore it to the original condition and will be given to my grand-children, aged 5 and 8 to play with.

    If anyone can help to get it to work, I will be happy to treat you a nice dinner.

    I googled and tried to download the said driver from CNET Download.com, not only it did not help me but also almost ruined my working computer - dangerous to access that site.
    I have spent a week to google to find a solution to no avail. One interesting user comment on another site said: "Ethernet Controller" is not a device, it is just a useless description of a problem by Windows XP.
    I don't have any knowledge to tell if that is true or not.

    After reformatting, lots of Sony Vaio computers are unable to access the internet - you can even see that on this site.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2014
  2. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,481   +975

    You can download the driver from >>here<<. This driver was found on the driver download page for your specific PC under the "Network" tab if you were wondering.
  3. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +252

    I've been ranting in similar vein about Sony laptops in another thread. They set new lows for customer support. I've found that even when you can locate drivers and utilities it's often not clear what they are for. The support websites are very disappointing but Sony are winding down their computer division so that's not going to improve.

    I'll have a look for drivers for your model but as you say it's got to be old if it's running XP. Don't worry about Sony not replying. I got replies but it was clear that they don't have answers. Their support staff are quick to find the get-outs too eg If you have fitted a non Sony hard drive they will not help.

    I found this one that looks promising.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2014
  4. John Johnson

    John Johnson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    JC713: That refers to Realtek RTL8139/810x Family Fast Ethernet NIC. That device is working normally.
    bazz2004: Surprised to have heard from Sony Support USA. That gentleman signed as Richard, cxzb, Sony Support USA. (don't know what cxzb stands for). He sent me a link. I tried it - turns out to be Realtek RTL8139/810x Family Fast Ethernet NIC - that device has always functioned normally. Then I found out your post, it turns out your link is identical to the link Richard sent to me.
    In Device Manager, under Network Adapter:
    1394 Net Adapter
    Realtek RTL8139/810x Family Fast Ethernet NIC
    Both working normally.
    In Device Manager, under ??? Other Device
    ??? Ethernet Controller (Driver not installed.)
    This caused me unable to access the internet.
    *** Note: I am using another computer to write this post. ***
    That's what Windows XP calls it. Is that a real hardware in the computer? Or there is a problem somewhere then Win XP simply calls it "Ethernet Controller", a useless description of the problem. I just don't know.
    I'll contact Sony (Richard, cxzb) and let them know the problem is still there.
    Btw, when Computer reboots, it says "Found new hardware, ethernet controller" and asks me to install the driver - but I don't have the driver.

    JC713 & bazz 2004: Thank you very much.

    In Device Manager, under ??? Other Device
    ??? Ethernet Controller (Driver not installed.)
    I found its propertise:

    Don't know anything about this. When google, I couldn't find any info about it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2014
  5. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +252

    I sorted all the problems with my FZ series Vaio but it took me an awfully long time. It was a really difficult thing to do. I'll restate that. It's easy when you know how and that's what Support is supposed to be all about. Threads on Sony laptop problems often end with people giving up.

    I don't know if you made the set of restore discs you mention or if they came with the laptop. When I bought computers with XP they came with a Microsoft OS disc which could be used for a fresh install using the activation key of the original OS. There was also a disc to return the system to factory settings. Maybe you could explore those routes - well at least the fresh installation with the XP set-up disc is still an option. Later laptops not supplied with discs have a hidden partition to enable users to recover the system. If there was such and you haven't wiped it by reformatting the hard drive that's a possibility.

    Maybe the best chance is if you have access to an XP retail disc of the same type eg Home or Professional as your presently installed version of Windows you could use that. Your existing authentication key would work. Digital River host official downloads f Microsoft Windows ISOs but I doubt if XP is still available. The idea is that you burn the ISO which is an image of the physical disc and burn it to DVD. There is of course no guarantee that this will sort the driver problem.

    You could give up on XP, like Microsoft, and research whether anyone has Linux/Ubuntu running on your model of laptop. The enthusiasm for these free OSs is impressive and there are sure to be some good forums to give support.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2014
  6. John Johnson

    John Johnson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I used the Sony Recovery Disks (6 of them) originally came with the computer. They were in the plastic bag, brand new, unopened until this time.
  7. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +252

    There are no other drivers for the Ethernet Controller so it's probably fine.

    I also had an unidentified device flagged up in Device manager. I tried all sorts without success then found references to Sony Extension Firmware Parser. I couldn't find out much about it and it was hard to locate a download but when it was installed I found the error in Device Manager had gone. It is for Vista not XP so not useful to you but there is something from the XP era called Notebook Control Device driver. I suspect it might do something similar for your laptop.


    Don't blame me if it doesn't work but whenever I tried to install the wrong drivers on my Vaio ( I had to experiment a lot) they refused to install if incompatible. In one case I kept getting an error message afterwards but it was easy to uninstall the driver/utility.
  8. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,347   +821

  9. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +252

    The problem is that using Sony Support websites isn't a panacea. Sony Support websites look to have what you need and it is reasonable to think that everything is sitting there ready to download. Neither is there an adequate description of what these things are for.

    In some cases, apart from tricky to locate extra drivers, things have to be installed in a specific order. This can only be found by trial or error or hitting on someone who has cracked that particular problem. I only have experience of FZ series but it maybe so with all their products. Some Sony models were sold with different names in different parts of the world too. There are several Sony websites and in my case I eventually found Sony Extension Firmware Parser on the US site although it was for a UK model.

    After a fresh install of Vista it took me forever to get everything working properly and find some drivers that weren't readily available. When I decided to install Windows 7 the process was pretty fast because I had to hand what was necessary and knew what to install in what order.

    Having said all that Sony products look to be stylish and well made but let down by poor support and blatant rip-off tactics eg Sony have made serious efforts to prevent people using generic replacements for incredibly expensive items like batteries for laptops and cameras. Just read up on Sony laptop replacement battery problems and you'll soon get the picture. It's a shame that they have been unable to change their spots and are being displaced in the market by more nimble and customer oriented companies.
  10. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +252

    Specific example for you hahahanoods. My SD card reader wasn't even being recognised. As anybody would have done I kept trying to install the drivers from the Sony Support site. No joy there so I spend ages looking elsewhere but again without success. After installing other drivers/utilities the SD card reader is then identified and showing in device manager. The supplied driver then became useable. There's no info from Sony to explain stuff like this.
  11. John Johnson

    John Johnson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    In the original box beside the 6 Recovery Disks, there is a CD for Belkin "Gigabit Desktop PCI card" installation Software. After running that the "yellow question mark" of the problem device (ethernet controller) was gone. (Sony Vaio PCV-RX991 computer.) No problem device in the Sony's computer now.
    After going through the setup to access the internet, it could get on the internet but got kicked out right after. The computer can see other computers inside house. The whole house is hard-wired. (Cable modem & Ruoter.)
    Both ipconfig/all and ipconfig/renew work fine.
    Don't know why when I get onto the internet, it kicks me off right away saying: "Internet has encountered a problem and needs to close." Tried to "setup" the internet connection several time, so far that computer just can not get on to the internet. Darn, this thing is just too complicated for me.
    Saw an article about "Repair" of the network devices, when I click the device to try to repair, it say "tcp/ip is not enabled can not proceed".
    The computer has no problem device now but can not access the internet, don't know if anyone can help. Thanks.

    I saw all devices are working. When click on "status", they are all "connected".
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2014
  12. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +252

    That's good progress and I'm sure that you can get there. I expect the answer is to be found by making changes in the Network and Sharing section of the Control panel. If you google away and experiment it can be done. Sorry I can't point to the answer but I've found persistence pays off. It might be worth starting another thread now that the driver problem has been sorted.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
  13. John Johnson

    John Johnson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Right now the computer does not have problem device. It can PING my ISP's server fine. But it can not access the internet.

    Your recommendation to google away and do experiment is a good advice.

    But if any suggested solution needs to Download something, I have to find the original (publisher) website to download. Too scared to download from any other site.
    Trying to resolve this problem, several days earlier I downloaded some file(s) from CNET Download,com - my home page changed, my default search engine changed, a few unknown programs installed themselves in my computer.
    I am too scared to download anything except from the original publisher. If I can not find the website of the original publisher, I am out of look. I can not tell which site is safe and reputable for software download.
  14. John Johnson

    John Johnson TS Rookie Topic Starter

  15. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +252

    I know the feeling. You find what you want to download and all the download buttons lead to a download for something else. CNet is a fine example of that. Finally, you manage to download the file but when you try to install you end up with all sorts of extra unwanted programs and a toolbar which you can't get rid of. One tip on installing after you download. If you see two options for the install, recommended and custom, always go for custom. That way you get the chance to decline all the extra garbage that comes with the package. Doesn't always work though. Recently I skipped all the extras and found that I was unable to choose just the program I wanted. CNet is not a good site to use for downloads as you have discovered. There's plenty of good stuff out there for free especially security software

    I think that you need to choose the right settings for your internet connection and that shouldn't require any downloads. .
  16. John Johnson

    John Johnson TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Bazz204 wrote: "I think that you need to choose the right settings for your internet connection and that shouldn't require any downloads."
    You are exactly right. I finally got it to work without downloading anything.
    Thank you very much.
  17. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +252

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