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Removing ghost NIC drivers

By Yonoz ยท 15 replies
Feb 1, 2004
  1. While trying to fix a problem caused by a faulty NIC (one of those cheap Realtek 8239 family OEMs) I had to install it in different PCI slots, so WinXP recognised it each time as a different card. Problem is I didn't uninstall the driver every time I changed slots so now I have a good card recognised as NIC # 3 and I cannot remove all of the drivers for the previous ones from XP. When I display hidden devices in device manager and try to remove them it doesn't let me remove some sort of packet filter driver for the old cards - it says it is required to boot the system (funny since the hardware doesn't exist in the computer...). Safe mode didn't help either. Can anyone tell me how to remove the old drivers? Or at worst remove everything so I can clean install the good card.
  2. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    A NIC normally has only 1 driver, in your case probably the RTL8139.SYS. Microsoft has an update currently for these NICs, but only for the 8139C. If you don't have a 8139C but e.g. an A, don't install it.

    Instead of removing drivers, take out the NIC, noting in which slot it goes, then from Device manager, showing hidden devices, delete/remove/uninstall all your network CARDS, not drivers.
    Reboot without the NIC to check that all have been removed.
    Switch off, insert the NIC, and re-enter your network config (make a note of the settings before you take the card out).
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Packet filter driver has nothing to do with your NIC. It is a driver that a software firewall has installed.
  4. Yonoz

    Yonoz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry, I didn't explain the problem well - it is the card that I am trying to remove from device manager, not the driver.
    I did remove the actual cards from the slots and deleted the driver/card from the device manager, but their "packet filters" driver still appear in device manager and cannot be removed, even in safe mode. I did this on a clean installed machine with no firewall so I think they were installed with the card driver, probably some sort of emulation driver for whatever purpose the driver composer intended... (to piss us off? ;))
    When I ran the phone company's ADSL service dialer installer it asked me what NIC I connected to the modem - and gave me a choice between 4 cards named exactly the same... (I gave up on their dialer and did a manual connection).
    Everything works on that machine but I don't like having device drivers running for devices that don't exist. I suppose it's wasteful...
  5. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Out of curiosity, what is the exact name (and any other info you can find) of that "packet filter" driver/file?
  6. Yonoz

    Yonoz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm not near that machine right now but the driver name starts just like the actual card driver - something like "Realtek 8139 family Network Card - Packet filter". I'll post screenshots as soon as I tend to that machine again.
    Here's the history for this problem:
    When I installed the first, faulty card it installed the native windows driver for it - and that notorious packet filter driver - only that one was hidden. Seeing as the card wouldn't work (didn't know for sure it was faulty), I then installed the Realtek drivers from their site. As I found out later, the original native windows XP packet filter driver remained but the driver for the actual card was replaced with the Realtek driver. I found no need to view hidden devices so I was unaware of that remaining packet filter driver.
    Thinking the problem might be some hardware conflict I removed and reinserted the card in a second PCI slot (as well as some other measures). So now windows recognised it as a second card and installed the Realtek driver for it only it named it with a "#2" at the end. Seeing as this didn't help either I returned another day with a good card, also Realtek 8139 and that worked - only that one was installed as #3...
    When I installed the phone company's ADSL service dialer it asked me which card the modem was connected to and displayed a choice between all 4 drivers on the system, only the box was too short and I couldn't see the #2 #3 etc at the end of the names... I solved the ADSL problem in another way later but I wanted to remove those 3 ghost NIC's... So I deleted their drivers (or cards - whatever terminology you prefer) from the device manager. But it still showed me all four cards in that window! So I displayed hidden devices in device manager and found out about those "packet filter drivers" that as soon as I can I'll post a screenshot of...
    As I mentioned above, the machine runs fine and if I don't find a solution to this problem I'll just leave it at that and learn from past mistakes...
    I think this problem can be solved by removing some entries from the registry, but I don't know enough about drivers to mess with it, especially since there's no real need for that.
  7. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    XP builtin firewall?
  8. Yonoz

    Yonoz TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Sorry, it's "packet scheduler miniport".... not filter... my mistake.... :eek:
  9. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    OK, then it's some QoS service maybe? Do you have QoS enabled in system services?
  10. Yonoz

    Yonoz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yep - the native windows QoS! I will try to disable or remove it and remove the driver afterwards... will post back when done. Hopefully that should do it. Thanks!
  11. Ray_GTI-R

    Ray_GTI-R TS Rookie

    I found this thread via Google and it looked similar to the problem that I have had. After checking the reply by Nodsu I'm so pleased that his(?) advice solved my problem that I have joined this forum just to give a big Thank You ...

    My issue was that a long-gone Belkin 10/100 USB adapter showed up as a hidden device (well two, actually - I must have re-installed it???). I'd tried to uninstall the relevant hidden device/driver, no joy. The message went something like "No can do, this device may be required for bootup" ... or whatever.

    Anyway, I removed the QoS element on my XP Pro system operating on my 8 year old, problem free, dial-up Cable modem.

    Both hidden devices were automatically uninstalled. Yeeeehaaa (not often you hear a Brit say that!) - and as a bonus my very ancient P.C/56k connection now seems a tad quicker???

    FWIW - I used to have proprietary Firewall software installed - and will re-install it as soon as I fix my "No Internet~ Connection when I install my USB WLAN stick" problem, if ever :p .

    Conclusion:- maybe the firewall s/w was the source of the hidden device/can't uninstall issue? Poor support from the F/W provider left me none the wiser ... but I AM A VERY HAPPY BUNNY!

    Ray :cool:
    PS - I've "spoiled" all the hotlinks in my message - if I wanted to provide free advertising I would do so deliberately. A very annoying feature of this forum.
  12. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    Well since you've profited so much from the info provided by the site, don't you feel it's only normal to give back ?

    What does that advertising cost you in the first place ? You are not forced to click on them & it far less intrusive then pop-ups & such.

    It's a shame your first post is one that shows how little you're willing to invest in this community.
  13. Ray_GTI-R

    Ray_GTI-R TS Rookie


    That's all a bit off-topic - well ...

    First you don't know me. Here's a tip - personal, public criticism of a new forum member doesn't do a great deal for the reputation of any forum "god".
    Second, I haven't profited in any way. I worked my problem out for myself (no-one said "do XYZ" and "ABC will happen" - check for yourself). Ok, I did 1+1=2 but in the absence of feedback on this 2+ month old message, I took my chances.
    Third, I believe I have donated appropriate "profit" to this forum by posting the sucess that I had - to me it is the forum that has profited. After all, no-one else has ...
    Fourth, I stand by what I have said - annoyances come in all forms and intrusion into messages are the worse ... it should be up to ME what I put in my posts and NO-ONE ELSE as long as I abide by the forum rules.
    Last, do everyone a favour and remove these sneaky message alterations ... if I wanted to buy a [P][C] whould I really be here TechSpot OpenBoards > Hardware & Tweaking > Device Drivers > Removing ghost NIC drivers) or on the Dell "buy me" website?

  14. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    Enable PMs.
  15. Ray_GTI-R

    Ray_GTI-R TS Rookie

  16. Jerry Peterson

    Jerry Peterson TS Rookie

    And when you reinstall the QoS service the ghost devices come back.
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