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NIC loading last after a hugh delay

I am helping a fellow photographer friend with his computer. He has a 6-mo old PowerSpec from Micro Center. It has a Q9550 CPU. Motherboard is an MSI N6 with nVidia chipset. XP-Pro.

Software loaded: MS Office Suit. Kaspersky IS 2010. Quickbook. Photoshop CS3. Blackberry Desktop Manager.

During boot...upon arrival to the desktop, all the icons finished loading within 15-seconds. HDD stops scratching. Everything is idle under processes. 2-minutes later, NIC will load.

Both onboard NIC and any PCI NIC I put in later suffers from the same fate. What gives?

I tried giving IRQ to PIC slot. No improvement.
I tried holding Kaspersky back. No improvement.

This PC used to have Linksys Wireless-G PCI card. Because of this late-loading behavior, it had been replaced with a Netgear-N PCI card. Same old delay.

Any ideas?

I thank you very much for your inputs.

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Comments
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Sorry the nic driver actually loaded very early in the boot.

You can see the same effect with Zone Alarm. The little graphic interface appears much later in the boot but the nic driver is loaded quite early in the boot. I know that most think the little icon in the task bar is the driver but that is untrue.
Bob

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Actually No NIC

I get a working NIC 2 minutes after the desktop has settled. That is the truth.

I tried opening IE during that 2-min. This is the message I get. "This page cannot be displayed. Your computer must be offline, blah blah blah."

This problem is sickening. So I asked the guys at Geek Squad and Micro Center. I offered $200 if they could guarantee a cure. No far, no takers.

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Doesn't mean it's the NIC

You don't get on the local network or internet without an IP address. This can cause delays. You didn't mention if you use a router or connect right to your modem. If you have a router, some communication needs to take place between it and your network device to acquire that address. If no router, it comes from your ISP. Your delay could be in that transaction. One possible thing to try would be static addressing so you have that IP address right up front. If not, some sort of security utility could be involved.

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2 minute boot times

Till the internet is up is not uncommon. I re-read your post and given what you offered all I can write is that the nic driver loaded early. It loads soon after the machine boots and before the user logs on. But this may only confuse those that think the items on the task bar are drivers.

Ok, all very interesting but given only this to work with and you are the one to drive your discussion that's all I can offer so far.
Bob

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Network availability

I am sorry, I should've been clearer.

I do not know for a fact that the network card driver loaded or not during the boot time when the desktop shows up.

The only firm fact that remains is -- I do not get a network signal/connection/usability until the network icon loads. When it loads, it is very fast, I'd see two yellow balls moving. Within 3 seconds, I'll get a connection.

I am (He is) connecting to a router that connects to TWC's cable modem. (I am helping a friend here.) Originally he had a perfectly working Linksys G-router and G PCI card pair. Because of this hugh delay, we put in new Netgear N router and N PCI-card. Still same old: no internet until 3-minutes after desktop settles.

I have checked and made sure Kaspersky was not putting anything under Low Restricted or High Restricted list. I have moved everything under Trusted. Still the same.

(The only odd thing is the TWC cable modem. It is the combination kind that comes with a phone service. I hope that modem is not the culprit. The internet light on the router is green. All related lights are always green on the router.)

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Time to go deep.

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