How to Find a Lost, Missing, Hidden or Removed Network Card (NIC) or Other Device and Even Remove it


In a scenario where you have physically removed hardware from a machine you can no longer see it in device manager.  This does not mean that it is gone.  Evidence of that is, if for example you had a network card that had a Static IP address set and you remove the card and add a new one then try to set the IP address to the same as the old NIC you will get an error message. The error might look something like “The IP address 192.168.30.100 you have entered for this network adapter is already assigned to another adapter (Microsoft Virtual machine Bus Network Adapter #3) which is no longer present in the computer.  If the same address is assigned to both adapters and they both become active, only one of them will use this address.  This may result in incorrect system configuration”.  In Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 it actually gives you an opportunity to “remove the static IP configuration for the absent adapter”. If you say Yes, this will eliminate the IP conflict problem but does not solve the problem of the adapter still being present in the machine.  In older versions of the OS, it was even worse because every time you go into network properties it gives you an error message.  Another way this comes up is if you move a virtual machine from one host to another.  Like in the case of moving from Virtual Server 2005 R2 to Hyper-V or perhaps you are moving from one Hyper-V machine to another but you did not do an export, you just moved the VHD’s and created a new machine. 

IP Address Already Assigned to another adapter

 

Getting rid of these old devices is actually very simple.  Well, it is simple if you know how 😉
Before you proceed, I recommend that you confirm that you have a good backup.  I have never had a problem with this but hey, it is your server not mine.
Description What to do
Step 1: You need to run a command prompt so you can set an environment variable prior to opening the Device Manager
This will bring up a command window
Click Start – Type the following command and then press ENTER

cmd
Step 2: We have the command window open.  We now need to set the variable (that is the “set” line and then with the variable set, we need to run Device Manager.  The file name for the Device Manager snap-in is devmgmt.msc.  The first line will not appear to do anything but it is setting the environment for next step.  The second command will actually open the Device Manager but it will be in a “special” mode which allows you to show devices that no longer exists.

Type the following commands pressing ENTER after each line

set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
devmgmt.msc
Step 3: Now all we have to do is show hidden devices and you will be able to access the devices that are not present in the machine.  This will also turn a checkbox on in front of the Show Hidden Devices menu option. In this Special Device Manager Window; on the menu, click View then Show Hidden Devices
Step 4: Now you can just go find the adapter or device that is missing and delete it! 
Expand the network adapter (or whatever category of device) and look for the device that needs to be removed.  The error message that you got should tell you the “name” of the device so you just have to go find that named device.  You may also notice while you are there that the icon for the “non-present” or missing device is slightly subdued so that will make it easier to find it if you have many devices in a category.

See screen shot below

Expand the network adapter (or whatever category of device) and look for the device that needs to be removed.

Right-Click the Device and select Uninstall

Easy!!! 
It IS easy if you know how.  Now you know how!!!
On the Warning “You are about to uninstall this device from your computer” just click OK
IMPORTANT Note: Lastly, if there are other devices that are subdued / hidden, please to not just go in and delete them all.  If you do, you are asking for trouble.  Just get rid of the things that you know are gone for good and are not coming back!  If you are not absolutely positive, do not remove it.  If you do anyway, better have that backup handy :)

Also, remember, if you change too much stuff at once, you may have to reactivate Windows

Restore from Backup… Just kidding :)

DeviceManagerWithMissingAdapterAndCmdScreen

Comments (23)

  1. T Man says:

    I also like setting the environment variable in system so I can view the hidden items anytime I want without having to set it manually.

  2. Dumper says:

    Thank you! Great tip! Helped me removing some unused interfaces from a VM setup using kvm and Red Hat's Virtio drivers.

  3. André says:

    I'm having the same problem, but windows said: "Failed to uninstall the device. the device may required to boot up the computer" what i have to do???]

    Tnks

  4. STRONG MAN says:

    How I can get lost network card setting ? for example IP address , Gateway , DNS settings . I need it to put on new card

     

    — Not sure.  The easy thing that comes to mind is check DNS on the network before you bring the server back up

  5. Adrian says:

    thanks for your help. Worked like a charm

  6. Lee from TX says:

    Good information, but one thing to note.  I couldn't see the hidden items if I went to Device Manager via Computer/Properties.  I had to use the "start" method on the command line.

  7. Hermano says:

    Awesome post, pulled hair out over this one!

    Thanks

  8. Cpt Deadbeard says:

    Just a tip to those trying to find IP addresses, etc.  I always run an ipconfig /all >> c:ipsetup.txt from a cmd prompt when everything is initially built.  Also 2008 R2 and VMWare seem to have this issue as well when installing SP1, so I run the ipconfig gathering command before the Service pack install.  Will save tons of grief later…….

  9. poolqwolf says:

    I don't know what happened, but I turned my puter on and tried to get online – got msg that there was NO NETWORK CARD…. had my cable company come out and check it – tech couldn't find it anywhere – just vanished.  He was able to give me a wireless connection, but said that he didn't know how long it would be good.  What should I do now?

  10. x says:

    nice post! very helpful!

  11. Nanda says:

    Hi Guys,
    Also check in your DHCP server which may have the IP address in dhcp Hosts! If you remove that too, can help!

  12. TANMAY PRADHAN says:

    Great man same problem occured but we solve it because of you man ! Thanks a lot ! Gr8

  13. Carapaks says:

    WOW, that helped , Big Thanks

  14. Alexandre San. says:

    Very good article. I found it stupid to set this as a Env variable, meanwhile you have in the menu "Show Hidden Devices", it should have a "Show Non-Present Devices" also … this kind of thing make Windows not logic and confiousing. Anyway thx

  15. hana says:

    this was super helpful, thank you!

  16. iM' Nick 5790 says:

    Thanks It’s cool ))))) I <3 it

  17. Didn't work for me. Windows 10 says:

    I was pretty excited to find this article, and it seems thorough and well written. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. I upgraded from Windows 8.1 to 10. Apparently it decided to make my NIC a ghost, holding previous settings somewhere, and making a
    new one using the same hardware. I’ve never had any other NICs on this machine, and there’s only one – it’s built in (on the motherboard). Not sure why this would happen, but… it is what it is. Problem is, I really need to set my IP to a specific static
    one.
    I tried deleting all NICs in the registry in addition to this guide. When I look in device manager – which I ran as admin too – and show hidden devices, I see only the real NIC, which is named with #2 at the end. The error is for the same name with no #2. Very
    frustrating.

  18. JMaven says:

    You can also try: Device Cleanup Tool , GhostBuster or editing registry. Details here:

    http://www.sysadmit.com/2015/09/windows-eliminar-dispositivos-ocultos.html

  19. ke li says:

    great help

  20. show box says:

    Thanks for the great info. I really loved this. I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog site?
    For more info on showbox please refer below sites:
    http://showboxandroids.com/showbox-apk/
    http://showboxappandroid.com/
    Latest version of Showbox App download for all android smart phones and tablets.
    http://movieboxappdownloads.com/ – It’s just 2 MB file you can easily get it on your android device without much trouble. Showbox app was well designed application for android to watch movies and TV shows, Cartoons and many more such things on your smartphone.
    For showbox on iOS (iPhone/iPad), please read below articles:
    http://showboxappk.com/showbox-for-ipad-download/
    http://showboxappk.com/showbox-for-iphone/
    Showbox for PC articles:
    http://showboxandroids.com/showbox-for-pc/
    http://showboxappandroid.com/showbox-for-pc-download/
    http://showboxforpcs.com/
    There are countless for PC clients as it is essentially easy to understand, simple to introduce, gives continuous administration, effectively reasonable. it is accessible at completely free of expense i.e., there will be no establishment charges and after establishment
    it doesn’t charge cash for watching films and recordings.
    http://www.showboxforipad.org/showbox-apk/ Not simply watching, it likewise offers alternative to download recordings and motion pictures. The accompanying are the strides that are to be taken after to introduce Showbox application on Android. The above
    all else thing to be done is, go to the Security Settings on your Android telephone, Scroll down and tap on ‘Obscure sources’.
    http://www.showboxforipad.org/
    http://movieboxappdownloads.com/moviebox-apk-android/
    http://movieboxappdownloads.com/download-moviebox-pc/
    Movie Box, an esteemed movies application in which you can find stacks of programs and films. The guide is given here to download Movie Box app to Android and to Apple iOS 9.0.2, iOS 8.4/8.3 and also for the lower versions without Jailbreak.
    http://showboxforiphone.org/
    Please do login to Showbox application with the help of Ymail. You can login in Ymail from here –
    http://ymaillogintips.com/
    Sign Up & Do registration for latest movies on Showbox application

  21. aki says:

    Thanks for the great info. I really loved this. I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog site?

    http://www.movieboxapkdownload.com/ – It’s just 2 MB file you can easily get it on your android device without much trouble. Showbox app was well designed application for android to watch movies and TV shows,
    Cartoons and many more such things on your smartphone.

    Thanks for the great info. I really loved this. I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog site?

    http://www.aptoideapkdownload.com/ – It’s just 2 MB file you can easily get it on your android device without much trouble.

    http://www.vidmatedownloadapk.com/

    Showbox app was well designed application for android to watch movies and TV shows, Cartoons and many more such things on your smartphone.

    http://www.shareitforpccdownload.com/

    http://www.shareitforpccdownload.com/shareit-for-pc-windows-10-8-1-7-mac-free-download/

    SHAREit for PC lets you transfer files between devices like phones, tablets and computers. With the wide area of sharing compatibility, sharing across anything is easy now. This is the best and the fastest alternative for USB sharing.

  22. CM says:

    Something you may want to try if this doesn’t solve your problem is to reset your network stack (works in XP and later). This should clear the Static IP settings on all adapters.
    Just open a cmd window as administrator and type:
    netsh int ip reset log.txt