Solved: Cannot find network card in Windows XP guest on VMware ESX

by Eddy on

I learned some tricks while doing my first Windows XP guest OS installation on VMware ESX 3.5 server. I managed to install the Windows XP virtual machine you can read some solution here if your Windows XP setup cannot find the hard disk during installation. When my Windows XP installation completed i run into another driver issue – well this time i cannot get network card to work on my newly installed Windows XP guest machine.

I searched on VMware forums and learned that by default Windows XP guest virtual machines installation in VMware ESX find Intel network adapter – e1000. There is two way you can get solve this network driver issue on Windows XP virtual machine on VMware ESX. You can download the Intel network adapter driver for Windows XP and install it to get the network card working.

However i selected second work around by editing the Windows XP virtual machine (vmx) configuration file to solve this error.

1. Login to your VMware ESX server using command line ssh and login as root

2. Before changing Windows XP virtual machine configuration file i prefer to shutdown the VM. Locate the Windows XP guest virtual machine configuration file (.vxm) and use your favorite editor nano or vi to edit the file. Personally I prefer vi, I can do things lot faster using vi.

3. Change the Windows XP network card adapter driver from e1000 to vlance (AMD Ethernet adapter).

I followed these steps and started the VM – my network card came up fine in Windows XP guest OS.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

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William September 18, 2010 at 3:14 PM

For those who want a GUI way of fixing this XP specific problem, here’s how:

Shutdown XP guest.
Then, use vSphere client to edit Guest settings
remove e1000 Ethernet adapter.
add a new Ethernet adapter
In listbox, change adapter type from default of “e1000″ to “Flexible”
Boot XP guest. It should detect the new adapter and have an onboard driver for it.

BusterDBK May 18, 2011 at 10:26 AM

I’ve had this issue with an XP install on ESXi. I didn’t find any other option except “Flexible”. Changing the config (in my case the extension was .vmx) from ssh worked perfectly. It was indeed “e1000″ and when changed to “Flexible” it worked.

Thanks a lot, you saved me a lot of time ;) .

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