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Microsoft KB Archive/102383

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Knowledge Base

Drivers Made Inaccessible by Network Loss During Reboot

Article ID: 102383

Article Last Modified on 11/14/2003


  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1

This article was previously published under Q102383


If you restart (reboot) your Windows NT machine with no network available, you may encounter problems accessing your drivers.

During the reboot, the Setup program asks for the floppy disk containing the drivers. There is no such disk because you can't use the universal naming convention (UNC) to point to the drivers on the net, and you can't copy the drivers to a floppy disk and use that disk, because Setup checks for the ID on the floppy disk to make sure it is a Windows NT Setup disk.


The basic problem is that only the necessary drivers are copied to your hard disk during installation; so if you install over the network and somehow get the wrong network card driver, you have no way to get back to the distribution medium to get the correct driver.

This problem occurs because of the way Setup deals with tag files while copying. Although you cannot change the way Setup deals with tag files, you can try any of the following workarounds:

  • Copy the file to the hard disk.
  • Give a nonexistent source path, ignore the copy errors, and copy the files later.
  • Get the original floppies from the network administrator.


There are two workarounds to this problem:

  1. If you can boot to an alternate operating system that can connect to the network (if you just installed from the network, this is probably the case), copy the necessary driver files to a temporary directory on your hard disk.

To find out which drivers are necessary, check the appropriate OEMNAD*.INF file. Then install the drivers through the Network Control Panel application specifying the temporary directory as the source.

  1. If you CAN'T boot to an alternate operating system that can connect to the net, copy the necessary driver files to a floppy disk.

Remember that because a floppy is a removable medium, the Setup program expects to find a tag file in the same directory. You can find the name of the tag file by looking at the appropriate OEMNAD*.INF file.

The tag file is usually called "DISK1" or "DISK2," depending on whether the person who set up the network share point for the source files used floppy disks or a CD to install the files. After you locate the tag file, you can install it using step 1 above.

Keywords: kbother KB102383