Microsoft KB Archive/103811

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Knowledge Base

How Windows NT Constructs the supported Network Adapter List

Article ID: 103811

Article Last Modified on 10/31/2006


  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51

This article was previously published under Q103811


When you choose to manually add a network adapter either during setup or after setup through Control Panel, Windows NT presents you with a list of network adapter choices. The contents of the list depends on which network adapters you have .INF files for in your SYSTEM32 subdirectory of Windows NT, as well as the bus type of your computer.


All network adapters that can be installed under Windows NT must have an .INF file for them in the SYSTEM32 subdirectory of Windows NT. These files are always of the following format


where "xx" is a two-letter abbreviation representing the network adapter. Each .INF file contains a section with the following header:


This section can contain the following values:

   "Jazz-Internal Bus"

Each value indicates a bus type that is supported by the network cards described in the .INF file.

NOTE: "Jazz-Internal Bus" is the bus on Advanced RISC Computing (ARC) computers such as the SGI MIPS and DEC Alpha.

When the network Setup program compiles the list of network adapters that can be added to the computer, it parses these files and lists any adapters whose .INF file contains the correct bus option for the computer on which you are installing the network adapter. Note that while network adapters that are ISA-only can be installed on EISA computers and are therefore listed as an available option, the reverse is not true.

The text strings that are added to the network adapter options list are contained in each .INF file in the [OptionsTextENG] section.

For more information on the network adapter INF files, query on the following words in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

network and services and inf

Additional query words: prodnt NETWORK SERVICES

Keywords: kbsetup KB103811