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FIX for IPCONFIG failing with Unknown media status code error

Discussion in 'IBM Thinkpad' started by John Navas, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. John Navas

    John Navas Guest

    If the following error occurs when attempting to run IPCONFIG when using
    a wireless network adapter:
    The likely problem is a wired network adapter that isn't connected, and
    as a result has been automatically Disabled in Network Connections by
    its network driver, while still being enabled in Device Manager.
    IPCONFIG reports an error because the wired network hardware is enabled
    but it can't get the media status since the Network Connection (driver)
    is disabled. (Turning off Power Management doesn't help.)

    This issue is known to affect at least some Intel wired network adapters
    with Windows XP drivers dated 2006 and later. For example, a
    disconnected Intel PRO/1000 MT Mobile wired network adapter in a
    ThinkPad T41 stays at Network Cable Unplugged with driver e1000325.sys (06/13/2003), which allows IPCONFIG to work, but switches
    automatically to Disabled after about 30 seconds or so with any driver
    dated in 2006 (e.g., [04/27/2006] from Microsoft/Windows Update, [10/24/2006] from Lenovo), which causes IPCONFIG to fail.


    * Use Windows XP Driver Roll Back or Uninstall/reboot/reinstall to
    go back to the original Windows XP driver, or otherwise install an old
    driver that doesn't exhibit this problem.
    * Hide any updated driver in Microsoft/Windows Update to prevent
    unintentionally recreating this problem in the future. Likewise avoid
    driver updates from hardware vendors.


    1. (Verified)
    1. Click Start > Control Panel > Network Connections, and for
    any wired network adapters that are Disabled:
    2. Right-click on My Computer, and click Manage to start Device
    3. Disable wired Network Adapters that are disabled in Network
    4. Run IPCONFIG as desired
    5. Re-Enable wired network adapters in Device Manager

    2. (Verified)
    1. Click Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools
    2. Double-click Services
    3. Scroll down to Routing and Remote Access
    4. If Routing and Remote Access is Disabled, change it to
    5. Start Routing and Remote Access, or Stop and Re-Start it if
    it's already running

    3. (Not verified, applies to ThinkPads, possibly other computers)
    1. Uninstall Access Connections, Keyboard Customizer, Wi-Fi
    drivers, and Ethernet drivers
    2. Reinstall in this order Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Keyboard
    Customizer, Access Connections
    John Navas, Mar 5, 2007
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  2. John Navas

    John Navas Guest

    UPDATE: I used Lenovo Software Installer on the ThinkPad T41 to update
    the original Windows XP driver (06/13/2003) to
    (10/26/2004), which also works properly (Network Cable Unplugged instead
    of automatic Disable). Thus my working hypothesis is that this problem
    was introduced by Intel in Version 8 of its drivers, probably as a
    well-intended improvement that fell prey to the Law of Unintended
    John Navas, Mar 5, 2007
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  3. John Navas

    John Navas Guest

    NOTES on the ThinkPad T41:
    1. ThinkVantage Access Connections isn't installed, so wouldn't seem to
    have any bearing on the problem.
    2. Intel PROSet for Windows Device Manager isn't installed, so likewise
    wouldn't seem to have any bearing on the problem.
    3. There is no apparent option for turning off auto Disable when
    disconnected in Intel Version 8 drivers.
    John Navas, Mar 5, 2007
  4. John Navas

    toby Guest

    My gut instinct is that the "disabled" showing up in the Network
    Connections is probably a symptom of the bug in the driver rather than
    part of the causal chain. If you look in WMI, there are driver
    response code for "media status". My guess is that the problem is
    related either to power management or to link negotiation of some
    sort. I've noticed that it's almost exactly 40 seconds after
    unplugging the cable that the problem arises - in the 40 second
    window, it will properly report that the media is disconnected, but
    once that 40 second window is up you start to get the ipconfig
    crashes. Win32_NetworkAdapter will report 7 for media status (i.e.
    disconnected media) in that 40 second window, but starts reporting 0
    (i.e. driver disabled) once the driver starts outputing bogus values,
    even though as we well know the driver isn't disabled.

    I believe Win32_NetworkAdapter (in root\cimv2) is built on top of the
    more primitive stuff in root\wmi (i.e. all the MSNdis_* classes), and
    all of that talks to the drivers (as far as I can tell). My guess is
    that when Win32_NetworkAdapter gets an illegal value, it simply
    reports that the device is disabled (even if the driver isn't),
    because it has to do something (and it's better to decide the device
    is disabled than to crash).

    I've tried messing with the GUI power management as well as
    "AutoPowerSaveModeEnabled", "SavePowerNowEnabled", and
    "ReduceSpeedOnPowerDown" in the registry. I've tried messing with the
    WaitForLink stuff as well. All to no avail.

    In the end I ended up modifying my network adapter management code to
    disable the interface (you can do it using devcon and code like
    devcon.exe disable "@PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_101E&SUBSYS_05491014&*")
    whenever it's not plugged in and then to turn it on for 10 seconds
    once a minute to check to see if it got plugged in. Annoying as all
    get out (since the user sees the notification icons flashing), but I
    didn't write the driver!

    --Toby Ovod-Everett
    toby, Mar 28, 2007
  5. John Navas

    John Navas Guest

    Agreed, although I suspect Intel would call it a "feature" rather than a
    bug. ;)
    Power management settings have no effect on the problem. I think it's
    intentional, to eliminate the Windows "cable disconnected" popup (that
    can be annoying or confusing, depending on your level of expertise).
    John Navas, Mar 28, 2007
  6. John Navas

    toby Guest

    Just because the power management settings have no effect on the
    problem doesn't mean it's not power management. The driver could be
    ignoring the settings! Also, the proper behavior shows up in the PRO/
    100 drivers (VM, VE) from the same driver set, so if they did do it
    deliberately, they didn't do it across both drivers (although that
    wouldn't be surprising). That said, if it was intentional, they
    picked a strange way to do it. Finally, the 40 second timeout is one
    of the things that makes me think it might be a power management deal
    - if it were to eliminate the popup, don't you think they'd do it
    immediately, rather than waiting 40 seconds. Whereas if there's a
    hardware setting to automatically reduce power consumption by the port
    whenever it's been disconnected for 40 seconds or more, and the driver
    is somehow reporting that, then that would be an explanation.

    When I get a chance, I'll investigate and see if the same behavior is
    seen on our Dell GX260's, which have "Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Network
    Connection" (versus the "Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Mobile Connection" on
    the T41). Unfortunately, all of our other Gigabit notebooks are using
    the Broadcom chipset, so I can't use them for comparison.

    --Toby Ovod-Everett
    toby, Apr 2, 2007
  7. John Navas

    toby Guest

    I verified last night that the "Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Network
    Connection" driver (same version of the driver file - on a
    Dell GX260 (which is a desktop as opposed to a notebook) works fine
    (i.e. two minutes after unplugging the network cable, ipconfig was
    still reporting "Media disconnected"). So whatever the problem is,
    it's not present on all PRO/1000 MT hardware, but appears to be linked
    to the Mobile variant of it for the notebooks.

    Which lends some weight to my hunch that it may be related to some
    form of power saving functionality (whether or not the behavior is
    configurable via the power management settings), since power saving
    functionality isn't as critical in a desktop system.

    --Toby Ovod-Everett
    toby, Apr 5, 2007
  8. John Navas

    John Navas Guest

    Thanks for the info. My ThinkPad T41 is currently out for repair by
    Lenovo. I'll do some more investigation when I get it back.
    John Navas, Apr 5, 2007
  9. John Navas

    John Navas Guest

    So it's apparently just MT _Mobile_ that's affected. Interesting.
    I don't think so. I think something else is going on.

    As I promised (long ago), I've now run more tests on my ThinkPad T41,
    using Microsoft Update to install Intel PRO/1000 MT Mobile wired network
    adapter driver (03/25/2007), which is later than the version
    from Lenovo that I tested earlier. With this driver, the Unknown media
    status code error returns, and turning off power management in the
    driver again has no effect on the problem.

    Interestingly, this latest driver does not disable the network adapter
    in Network Connections -- when not in use, it stays at Network cable
    unplugged -- so that theory of mine wasn't valid. (This change suggests
    that Intel might have responded to my initial report but failed to fix
    the problem.)

    When I rolled the driver back to (10/26/2004), the Unknown
    media status code error again went away. Hence this remains the only
    known work-around to the problem. For what its worth, I carefully
    compared all settings (including power state) of this driver to the v8
    driver and could find no differences.
    John Navas, Jun 13, 2007
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