Ethernet controller issues for Dimension 2350 - can I replace with USB Network Adapter?

Networking, Internet, Wireless

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Ethernet controller issues for Dimension 2350 - can I replace with USB Network Adapter?

  • I'm a bit of a novice, so bear with me. I have Dimension 2350 desktop and use the USB cable to connect to my Westell modem to access DSL service via my phone company. Recently purchased Belkin N router so that my kids could wirelessly connect via their laptops downstairs. (Previously they were accessing the net via neighbors' unsecured networks - aka mooching) Router was easy enough to set up but when it came time to "wire" my home PC to the router I had to disconnect the USB connection and use ethernet, which I had never used before. My computer told me there was new hardware installed - the ethernet controller - and that it needed updated driver to function. Note: ethernet shows up in Other Devices, not the network adapters area of Device Manager. Anyway, been all over the forum reading posts from others with same problem - unable to find/load driver. This is what I've tried so far... Downloaded driver file for Broadcomm 4401 Integrated Adapter Version A03. Problem: says there is one more "disk" to the file and to load it. Hmm... Downloaded and tried to reinstall Intel Chipset Utility. Problem: goes through setup, gets to 30%, and then gives me a USB message saying I could run my device faster if it was connected to a USB 2.0 port. Huh? Short of reformatting hard drive, reinstalling OS and all the other jazz just to get drivers recognized, what can I do? Besides, can't find the darn Resource CD! I've seen USB ethernet adapters for around $25 and wondered if that could be a suitable replacement for my current non-working one. Can I just disable my current one and install the USB one? Note: I'm not looking to go wireless. I want my desktop PC to be "wired" to my router and I need to be able to connect via ethernet. Many thanks. Nancy
  • It definitely sounds like all you need is the driver for the built in network card.  Checking the docs, the list of drivers for the Dimension 2350 is:

    • Intel 845GL chipset driver
    • Intel integrated video driver
    • Broadcom integrated NIC driver
    • ADI integrated audio driver
    • USB 2.0 Driver
    • Microsoft USB QFE Patch (or SP1+)

    The latest version of these drivers are available on the support website.  I'd try reloading the first four drivers in the order listed above to see if that fixes things for you.


    If it doesn't fix things a relatively inexpensive solution is to buy a PCI network card (they range in price from $10 to $50 now, depending on what brand and speed you get).  While a USB adapter can work, I've always preferred internal cards when possible as they are less likely to get bumped around especially on a desktop.


    If the drivers don't fix it and your system is still in warranty (based on the model, I don't think it is, but it might be) you could call tech support to see about getting the hardware replaced.

    You can request replacement reinstallation media for US purchased systems here.
    Dell Drivers & Downloads for all systems.

  • Thanks for your advice.  Please note that in my original post I mentioned that I tried installing the Intel 845 Chipset Utility, but was unsuccessful.  The setup process progressed to 30% and then suddenly stopped, bringing me back to my original screen and giving me a little message in the taskbar that said "Device could be operating faster if I utilized USB 2.0 port."  I've tried to install several times since then to no avail.

    Didn't want to load other drivers in your list without having chipset loaded first because from reading other posts I see that is crucial.  I've successfully opened the tower and replacing the ethernet PCI card seems pretty starightforward.  Was going to upgrade my RAM anyway.  Re: new card.  Any suggestions?  Brands that are better than others?  Brands to steer clear of?  I'm not all that concerned with speed, etc. - so long as I can get my internet connection working and this router set up again.

  • Try installing the USB 2.0 driver, then the chipset to see if that makes a difference since the computer complains about USB when you try to load the chipset now.  At the worst, the USB driver fails to load the same as the chipset is doing.


    My personal preference lately has been for Netgear 10/100 cards as the three I bought about 6 years ago are still running strong.  However, there are probably better cards available recently for the same price, or possibly less (I haven't had to look in a while ;)).

    You can request replacement reinstallation media for US purchased systems here.
    Dell Drivers & Downloads for all systems.

  • Out of all the drivers you recommended to download, only the USB 2.0 is not listed for my system.
    It seems the USB 2.0 driver might be located on a resource CD, which I do not have. Any suggestions?
    FYI - I am running Windows XP with Service Pack 2.

    Is my system suffering because I can't load the chipset utility and usb drivers?

    If it all boils down to my having to replace the ethernet card, I just insert in available card slot and disable the current
    one, as it is attached to the board, correct?

  • With SP2 you shouldn't need the USB driver as it was included in XP with SP1 (the driver is for WinXP no-service-pack).  I suggested the USB driver just to see if it would make a difference, as at worst it would not load because the system already has newer drivers.


    Hmmm ... try going to Device Manager, and see if you can have it check for updates for the USB root hub entry.  I don't know if it will work, but it can't hurt anything (it will most likely state "no newer updates found").


    If you don't have the Desktop System Software (if the system uses it) and the Intel Chipset software installed then yes, that could easily be why it isn't seeing the network card.  Those two 'drivers' are what allows Windows to properly see and talk to all of the hardware in and connected to the motherboard for the system.


    If you have another network adapter you can load the drivers for it and connected it up to see if it works.  You should not need to disable the integrated network adapter, although doing so won't cause any problems.

    You can request replacement reinstallation media for US purchased systems here.
    Dell Drivers & Downloads for all systems.