Realtek PCIe GBE Family Host Controller: did windows update do it again?


update 3/5/2012:

has been many incidence of internet disruption from group of hackers recently arrested by FBI. on March 8, FBI will be taking down private ‘clean’ servers.

to restore DNS auto-generate function:

Control Panel >>> Network and Sharing Center >>> Adapter Settings >>> *right click* Local Connection (Realtek card) >>> Properties >>> *highlight(click)* IPv4 >>> click Properties >>> make sure set on “Obtain automatically” (IP, DNS, and private IP).

WARNING: If on a business or home network, consult Network IT before changing DNS and IP to automatic. any doubt, write down static IP numbers so can be re-entered if necessary.



i’m seeing a lot of searches on this entry regarding a SLOW connection. where this blog is on NO connection. so i will do an entry on trouble-shooting tips HERE: pci-ethernet-is-your-internet-slow-here-are-some-tips-to-speed-things-up/ for ways to improve computer and internet speed.

before ANYTHING else, try this:
apparently there is a reset-function and on further investigation this LAST time the ethernet driver knocked out — where didn’t even show in the device manager, so it’s screws-ville.  i couldn’t reinstall the driver, because windows didn’t even recognize the hardware.
  • so  just pull the power.  pull the power cord out on your computer (i did it while it’s on w/windows up and running).
  • leave router in place, but disconnect the cable and power from the modem.  after 5 minutes, reattach.
  • reattach the power cord to computer.
  • start up, and bingo …
found an article on ubuntu regarding a reset available if you pull the power.  plus they say can “hold down” the power button after it’s off, but wasn’t necessary.  (some hardware will contain a …. firmware “default-reset”  if you hold down the power button when powered-off. )
also … is of note that you CAN cause software damage to an operating system by pulling the power.  so not something or an answer to apply over and over, and if have continuing problems, is important to contact your computer manufacturer.

today microsoft did an update on my machine …. and killed the ethernet network driver.

if this has happened to you, you’ll need to:


  • find another computer to use with your internet connection OR another lan card such as your wireless or a broadband modem with the affected machine.
  • get on the internet and look up computer manufacturer website.  download  Realtek PCIe GBE Family Host Controller driver.  save to desktop.
  • insert a flash drive, or if you don’t have – can use other removable media such as a CD.  transfer driver file to the flash drive or CD.
  • then insert removable media to affected machine and transfer driver file to the desktop.


  • unplug all internet cable connections.
  • go to Control Panel >>> Device Manager (in XP it’s control panel >>> system >>> device manager).  you will see a list of computer components.
  • find the Realtek family controller under network … right click >>> properties >>> driver >>> uninstall.  check box to remove it all.
  • restart machine.


  • double click on the driver install file on your desktop, and follow instructions for the driver install.
  • when it is through, should ask you to restart your machine.
  • restart machine.
  • then power down.  reattach all cable connections (cable, ethernet, power).
  • Boot and windows should now recognize your ethernet attachment.
  • Windows:

if windows does not connect directly, and shows computer symbol with yellow triangle, right click on the icon  >>> diagnose.  and the diagnose manager should reset your local IP and give you back the internet.


windows update had to be the culprit — it’s the only thing i can think of.  did a restore, and it didn’t help.  and windows updates are the one thing that don’t come “undone” with a restore (even if they tell you they do).  so i had no internet.

first called the cable company and made a fool out of myself, because while trouble-shooting it with their tech online, found out the internet DID work on my laptop.  SO … it’s not the connection or the modem … something specific to the HP machine.

you don’t want to know all that i tried, but suffice to say spent a good chunk of the afternoon googling and trouble-shooting.  the thing that is puzzling is Linux as well as windows no longer had access to the Realtek PCIe GBE family controller.    since this happened while ethernet cable plugged in, could rule out physical damage to the adapter.

downloaded the original realtek driver from the HP website …. after going nuts trying to find something to use on the realtek website.  holy smokes, for a company that has their hardware in practically every PC … the thing looked like it was designed by japanese grade schoolers.  add to that a search engine so name-specific that it came back “sorry, we can’t find anything” for every entry i tried.  lord help me if ever actually NEED something from realtek that can’t get somewhere else.

so anyhow, downloaded the driver to my laptop from the HP site, transfer it to a flash stick.  then use device manager to completely uninstall the present realtek driver, and that includes checking the box to completely remove the driver.  then restart windows, get the driver install program off my flash stick and run it.  it has you restart the machine when finished.  so i restarted.

shut it down one more time, unplugged all the attachments to the cable modem.  (ethernet, cable, power).  waited a bit.  re-plugged everything in, and then started up the machine.  it still had a connection problem, but hallelujah!  was at least RECOGNIZING the ethernet port.  right click the windows internet icon, and start the diagnostic.  it needed to assign  a new IP.  that done, and back in business.

oh yes, Windows 7 is SO much better than Vista or XP ….. *sarcastic wink inserted here*

only other thing it might have been, is a problem with the DHCP process …. because today was also the day (24th) that was listed on the network reports as expiration for the IP address from comcast (that’s when they issue a new IP address … done periodically for security reasons).  it seemed was having trouble before with the wireless connection in getting windows to re-issue a new local IP address when it was needed.   SO …. i might get to go through all this fun in another 4 days to a week.

though if it’s that, we’re talking system recovery time, as in full complete destructive to go back to factory state.   eh well …. now that most of the afternoon is shot, i’m going to watch a little TV and pretend it all matters.

UPDATE:  happened again … after THIS months windows update.  but hard to point fingers, seeing as how ubuntu updated, too.  but something bombed the ethernet driver AGAIN.

so ….. tried my tried and true method, and DIDN’T WORK this time!  the realtek driver install package would get stuck in some sort of update process, and if you have the drivers gone altogether, it just gives an error.   so …….. we go to plan B:

(this time had ethernet cable (through router) plugged in entire time.)



  • create a folder on desktop, title it “realtek drivers”
  • go control panel>>>>device manager>>>>network>>>>>and right click on realtek family PCI
  • properties>>>>>driver>>>>>>>>driver details.  keep this window open, and note the LOCATION of realtek drivers
  • (if only ONE driver is listed, your problem might be different than mine – TRY A DRIVER UNINSTALL THROUGH WINDOWS FIRST)
  • so note the locations, and manually remove (drag and drop) those files to the realtek folder you created on desktop.
  • NOW your hardware is REALLY uninstalled.
  • restart your machine.
  • find an alternate internet connection – and this is tricky if you don’t have a wireless board.  the other option, is to attach a phone line, and use one of those free AOL trials …. will be slow, but it will work.
  • go back to control panel >>>>>>>device manager>>>>>>network
  • and you should see the system has auto-installed PCI Ethernet …… right click on it.
  • properties>>>>>>>>>>driver>>>>>>>update driver

(this way, windows is installing new driver ……. verses installed w/.exe from computer manuf.)

should direct you to restart machine.  (i pulled the power on it)

~~~~sometimes windows won’t allow you to remove a file or folder. that is because of security settings. most of the time, if a file won’t allow you to remove it that means don’t remove it. however, there are some cases where it’s the only way to accomplish a goal. in those cases, you will have to change the security settings.

now ….. you might be asking WHY manually remove the drivers?  because fun thing about windows, it will SAY it’s uninstalling them …. and even appear to be taking the time to do so …. and it’s all an act.  windows leaves the drivers in, and only changes one setting in the registry.  it’s one of those “dummy precautions” that screw everybody else.

so UNLESS you manually take out those BAD drivers …. windows will just reattach the SAME bad drivers.

also …. if nothing works, you can always resort to a full system recovery or one from a backup system image.  i have found that the backup system image DOES maintain and reinstall any drivers.


Update 7-15-2011

either a change in the flash programming from this month’s adobe update, or from the settings by the windows update … there is a connection problem when streaming flash video.  keeps cutting out.  which means the “limit” on mb/s transfer is being reached.

for now, i went into the advanced settings on the realtek host controller, and disabled the flow control.

control panel>>>>>network and sharing center>>>>change adapter settings>>>>>right click realtek connection>>>>> properties>>>>configure>>>>>advanced>>>>>flow control

don’t know as would recommend that, because with no limits, that means any rouge virus or programming can use very LARGE amounts of bandwidth.  but the receive and transmit buffers were already at as high as they would go – and short of digging in the registry to manually change the number of mb/s allowed to receive, i saw no way around but to disable the flow control.

just don’t forget you have it disabled – and weigh the benefits vs. risks before doing


Update 12/21/2011

windows background transfer service stopped working, which meant no updates were able to process.  tried everything, including the instructions from Microsoft to reset the service start-up to automatic (delayed start).  and nothing.   for some reason, the partially installed updates left my machine constantly unable to do a simple system restore.  every time the restore finished and went to reboot, it did a failed boot and went right into another restore procedure. 

i booted into the Linux partition, mounted Windows and poked around to see what gives.  and somehow the restore i was attempting left the system file for Windows completely empty.  so there was no way in heck i was going to get this copy of Windows 7 to boot again. 

so using the Linux partition and OS, i saved all my personal files to the back-up drive (external HDD).  was going to need to do a full system image recovery.  i had one on the back-up drive from July.  that’s a “picture” of your entire system, often more than a 100 gigs worth —- that Windows can use to fully rewrite the hard drive back to an earlier state.  if you haven’t already, it’s important to keep at least one system image on file.  this way, you can reset your machine with all your extra software intact ………. whereas if do a full system recovery from the D drive, will wipe everything out and have the computer back to its factory state.

  well, the system image disc (you have to have a CD made to go with the system image— that begins the install process)  …. the disc wouldn’t boot right from Bios as it should have.  i had to do ANOTHER restore, get Windows 7 limping again, have Windows recognize the system image install disc, then restart it to begin the recovery with a system image. 

by that point i was crossing my fingers, and relieved when had my Computer fully back to the functioning state from this last summer.  and then upon installing the Windows update, they seemed to all go smoothly with several month’s worth all at once. 

have had no further trouble with the Realtek PCI controller …. though i am disturbed that the Bios on the machine does not have the ability to recognize or boot from CD.  HP updated (flashed) this Bios remotely without a by-your-leave shortly after i bought the computer.  even upon using Bios to select the boot device, Windows demented recovery loop continued with no actual boot from the CD.  

which means i still have a vulnerability in the Bios on this machine, caused by a proprietary condition between Windows and the drivers for the DVD.  kind of funny that Microsoft worked that proprietary recognition into their software, effectively disabling the ability to run a system image restore with their own recovery process.  not too bright?  you gotta wonder ….

so that’s why you keep an EXTERNAL dvd player on hand, just in case.  where the drivers go through the USB ports, instead.  Windows has so thoroughly messed up the proper function of any and all built-in DVD players ….. though to be fair, the actual screw-up involves letting every third-party program out there change the filters and parameters for the drivers. well, it began with that.

i honestly don’t know how they work —- you have a light that reads a spinning disc and converts that to data streams.  i know the discs look very similar to the inside of an eye-ball — the retina has that same “rainbow” patina.  (we had to dissect sheep’s-eyes in highschool.)  other than that, i have no idea on the mechanics of it.  just that with as often and as easily as DVD players go south in the PC (AND how often even movie DVD players break), that it’s time you all ditch the whole marketing-profit angle keeping consumers inflicted with the things. 

but what did the entertainment industry do?  they doubled-down with Blue-Ray players.  real smart, there.  i have a solution ……… but will save that for another blog.  

am seeing an increase in searches for Realtek PCI controller issues again ……….. and i feel for you, i really do.  went back over this blog to see if there was anything i could add.  only other advice, might be that to ditch the Realtek board altogether, and go with a wireless connection (wifi).   the wireless boards are easy to install yourself, and seem to have less trouble with their driver builds.

2 thoughts on “Realtek PCIe GBE Family Host Controller: did windows update do it again?

    • i only have the machines have dealt with — which is Gateway and HP. pretty much have no hassle now with ethernet connection. there IS another thing can do, which is assign an internal IP address (if the problem is the DHCP). but having a constant address is less secure. and i couldn’t get it to work.

      does look like the later builds on the Realtek drivers are OK and minus the bugs. so would go to Asus and see if they have an updated driver for you to download and install.

Feedback always welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s