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How to uninstall and reinstall a network adapter? Answered

My title is a simplified version of my problem. I accidentally clicked uninstall instead of disable on my wireless network adapter. I don't have the CD to install it. My WLAN adapter is a Cisco Linksys WUSB54GC Wireless Network Adapter version 3. I've uninstalled the device multiple times but when I reinstall it, it simply says 'The name is already in use or a service display name' and then when I go back to device manager it says the name of the adapter and then a #14 and the next time I attempt to reinstall it, it says #15 then #16 and so on. What I am doing is I'm going to device manager, updating the driver software for my adapter, then clicking 'Let me pick from a list of drivers on my computer' and then clicking 'Have Disk' and choosing the netr system information file. After that, that's when it gives me the name is already in use or a service display name error. I've reset my computer a couple times, searched bing and google a lot and got similar problems but none specific to my situation. Please help, I don't recall trying to install or uninstall in any certain order so my mess there could have corrupted something, maybe. Thanks!



Best Answer 4 years ago

Start the computer in safe mode ( I assume you know how to do that)
When in safe mode open the device manager and click on the network adapters. All the "ghost" items will be there. In fact all the ghost items will be throughout the device manager. These are devices that have been removed or disconnected but windows keeps track of them in case you plug something back in. Delete or remove all the ghost adapters, from the sounds of it there will probably be 14 or more. Once you have them cleared out restart and let it autodetect the hardware. It should install it correctly.

THANKS: I finally found some ghost driver that had a different brand name on it but it said WiFi so I uninstalled it (Thinking it wouldn't work) then restarted and I got internet again. :)

Windows XP - Click on START then RUN
Windows 7 - Click on START

Into the RUN box (or 'search programs and files for Win7), type C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\RSTRUI.EXE and then press RETURN

The restore wizard should appear.  Click on NEXT and then tick 'See more restore points'.

Hopefully you'll have one from before the problem happened - Select this and click FINISH.

You computer will restore, shutdown and then restart to finish off the restoration.

OK, so if what Vyger suggests isn't working for you then a Windows repair install may do the trick.  You haven't told us which OS you're running; XP, Win7 or *SPIT* Vista.  To do a repair install you'll need a windows installation disk, and it would be best to back up any work on there; It shouldn't affect this but better safe than sorry if things go wrong.

Search the Microsoft site for the detailed instructions on how to do a repair install for your OS.

Would my computer's FACTORY_IMAGE (D:) drive work? I probably won't do a system reinstall because I've taken up 80% of my 286GB drive and I have tons of files that took forever to download and have certain registration keys and settings. Though I would like to know what the factory image drive is specifically for. :)

The factory image disc would take it back to the day you received it and you would lose all your data and any programs you have added since.  It is a full Windows system restore and includes any additional programs the supplier added (trial version of Norton?).

If you can get hold of a proper Windows disc, the repair install I mentioned wouldn't take any extra space and would keep existing data and programs.

Do you use a utility like Crap Cleaner (CCleaner) to remove all the junk that Windows accumulates - If not, give it a try. The free version is all you need.

Is there a restore point you can go back to?
Many programs will automatically take a system snapshot before they install, and if you can go back to a point before you deleted the initial driver you should be able to 'roll back time' and avoid the problem. 
This will also remove any programs you've installed since, but will not affect your work folders.


4 years ago

You need to go to the view menu on the menu bar and click "show hidden devices" (this is in the device manager) The ghost items are shown as faded. You need to be in safe mode to make it easier to remove things completely. You might want to just remove all the devices in the network area. It is possible though that when you restart it will not automatically find all the drivers.

I will make sure that the computer I'm building will have a wireless network card X3

When you uninstall the drivers did you restart the computer before trying to install them again? Now if you still have problems then you will need to be sure to disconnect the adapter and uninstall the drivers again, check the task manager and end any related processes. You may also need to delete related entries in the registry. Then restart the system again and install the drivers again. Once that is done you can plug the adapter back in.