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The same issues exist with I/O addresses. You must configure a NIC with the appropriate I/O address before you can even use most configuration utilities. Most commonly, NICs are set to I/O address 300; however, if another device in the computer is already using that address, the address must be changed.

This leads us to the tools you can use to find out which IRQ and I/O address you can use. Let’s take a look.

Identifying Free IRQ and Memory Addresses

If the computer is running Microsoft operating systems, you can use some simple tools. MSD.EXE has been available since MS-DOS 5. Although not perfect, it can tell you which IRQs and I/O addresses appear to be in use. In Windows 95/98, you can use Device Manager (choose Start > Settings > Control Panel > System > Device Manager).

After you identify the available settings, enter this information in the logbook for that computer. If no logbook exists, this is the perfect time to start one.

If you are not installing the NIC at this time, put your tools away, power up the computer, and spend a little time with the user to make sure that the computer is as it was when you powered it down. You don’t want a phone call complaining that you broke the computer when you looked at it. It is not unheard of for a cable to come loose when you’re inspecting a PC.

At this point, let’s assume you have all the data you need, the proper NIC, and the correct drivers for a successful install. Now it is time to actually physically install the NIC.

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