Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tips & Tricks:: Missing Windows XP Network Adapter in VMWare Fusion 2.06 on Macbook

Please bear with me, as I'm not exactly sure what happened here, so take all of this with a grain of salt. I'm also reconstructing much of this from memory, of events that took place 5 months ago. Moreover, I'm mostly a Mac person and my experience with the platform is very limited, mainly from 2000-2006 on Win2k and xp. I use Windows for specific open source programmes and statistical packages.

In early October, I had a catastrophic failure of my hardrive on my Macbook 3,1 {4GB RAM/500GB HD} and after I got a new one, I restored my from backup. After a few weeks, I went to Montréal {around 15 October} and after I came back, I realized that my network connection was getting increasingly wonky. I tried repairing by doing a left-click on the networking icon in the tray {bottom of the XP screen}, but that wasn't working. Then, tried disabling and enabling the Accelerated AMD PCNet Adapter. No dice. I uninstalled and reinstalled the driver {it would be automatically recognized or I'd add it by going to "add hardware"}, but that didn't work either. When I uninstalled the network adapter, Windows would auto-recognize it again a few moments later, but the problem was I would get a warning saying the hardware was not working properly.

I tried uninstalling the  one last time and Windows did not recognize the adapter. Poof. Gone. I couldn't add hardware and there was no network in VMWare Fusion, under Virtual Machine/settings/removable devices/network. I started looking for a driver update or a copy of it, but the links in the search results were dead or gone.

I don't use Windows that much and I was able to restore a backup image on my TimeMachine disk. This meant that I had two Windows XP virtualizations, my current one with a few dozen files associated with statistical output and part of a spec script on Final Draft 8, and an older one from mid-September 2010 that still had a working Internet connection/network driver.

I gave up trying to figure this out and assumed, after searching online, that the easiest thing to do would be to use Windows install dusks to reload the network driver.

I did some more searches this week and found that the driver is "vmxnet.sys" and belongs here::
I went to the older virtualization and copied the file from the above location. If you need the file, I've uploaded it here. I placed this file in my current virtualization and crossed my fingers. Lo and behold, I was getting options again in VMWare Fusion, under::
Virtual Machine/settings/removable devices/network
I clicked on network {above} and clicked on the radio button option for "Connect directly to the physical network {Bridged}.

I had to restart a few times and I got this error a few times, which resulted in a totally blank desktop::

A few more restarts and things seem to have stabilized.

As you can see, I wasn't systematic regarding what I was doing and I'm sure there was a better way to do this. Given I don't use Windows that much on my Mac, it wasn't mission critical, hence the long lag time between problem and solution. I hope this is helpful for anyone caught in my predicament.

Twitterversion:: [tips & tricks]  Missing Windows XP Network Adapter in VMWare Fusion 2.06 on Macbook. Driver download avail @Prof_K

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