Realtek’s Crappy Network Card Drivers

The other day, I decided to update my network interface card (NIC) drivers. I have Realtek NIC’s that are integrated into my motherboard (Abit IP-35 Pro) and they use Realtek’s RTL8110SC(L) drivers. Well, that update cost me half the damn day because they thoroughly messed up my network cards. I’d keep randomly getting notices saying the “network cable is unplugged” even though it was. Eventually the network card would shut down completely and I would lose Internet access.

I hadn’t updated the driver in quite a while and I just figured new drivers probably fixed some small bugs and better optimizes the card. But little did I know the new drivers would royally screw my Internet access. Everytime I tried to rollback the drivers or install the old ones, it would revert to the new drivers. It just would not rollback to the old drivers no matter what I did. I even hunted down all the driver files and deleted them manually. What compounded this situation was that because I manually removed all traces of the old driver, I wasn’t able to do a System Restore. At least I think that’s why, I tried 2 different restore points and neither worked.

Eventually, I ran the driver installer (as opposed to manual driver installation via Windows Device Manager). Then I immediately ran the uninstall. This successfully removed the new drivers and allowed me to install the old ones and I was back to normal.

My old drivers were version 5.687 and the new messed up ones I installed was 5.709. Both are for Windows XP, not Vista. So you’ve been warned – do not install 5.709 if your network card is working fine. Don’t try to fix what’s not broken.

As of this writing, the Realtek site has just released newer drivers, version 5.713, presumably because they got reports about the problem. But I won’t be updating the drivers for some time. Fool me once, shame on you – ya fool me I can’t get fooled again. ;-)

3 responses to “Realtek’s Crappy Network Card Drivers”

  1. Thank God I’m not the only one who has this annoying problem! I have a Asus P5K Premium btw. Currently, I have (in .zip forms) the 5.687 driver, 5.699 and 5.713. So far, I’ve installed the 5.713 and so far, no disconnect. I’ll go back (roll-back) to the 5.699 drivers if the problem reoccurs. Knocks on wood….

  2. Whew, I’m glad I didn’t update to 5.713. I’m sticking with my 5.687 since I have zero problems with it after more than a year of heavy use. You may want to make sure it fully reverts back. The newer drivers have more files and for some reason it didn’t rollback cleanly on my system. When I checked the driver version it was still the new one and I still had the same problems.

    You have to run the Windows installer for the driver and then uninstall it through Control Panel to fully clean it from your system.

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