One issue I seem to run into more and more now that I have a VMWare virtual environment, is Ghost Nic’s. yes it can be a little scary, but easily resolved. So what is a Ghost Nic?. It is when a Nic card is removed from a VM or physical box prior to removing it’s settings. So when another Nic is installed it shows as Nic #2 , and windows will complain that the IP is already in use by another Nic if you are trying to reuse the IP from the old one. Here is the odd part, there is no other Nic at least not anymore so how could this be?. Well by removing a Nic before uninstalling it, the windows registry will continue to map to a Nic that is no longer present. It holds it’s settings in the registry so that if it is ever put back in, then all your settings will show back up. Each device in windows has a unique ID that identifies it within windows and this is what windows ties the settings to.

This seems to be more of an issue now because in VMWare all your devices are now virtual to the VM, and If anything happens to your VMWare tools or you need to P2V a machine it is very easy to forget to uninstall your Nic cards before re installing or virtualizing your physical box. Of course I always forget to do this. Now if it is a physical box, the easy fix is just pop in the old Nic and uninstall the drivers and settings by going to device manager >> uninstall device then you are all set. In VMWare, well you can’t pop in a virtual Nic and uninstall the drivers because every time you install a new Nic in a VM, it is given a new UUID. So I will show you how to take care of it another way.

First goto your command prompt and run this command

Then right click on My Computer >> click on Properties >> then goto Device Manager.

Once you are in Device Manager click on the View menu option, then select “Show Hidden Devices”. You should see your ghost Nic in the list of devices in your Device Manager window. At this point right click the device, and select uninstall. Now your Nic settings are freed up and you can assign your static IP along with your other settings without having any issues.

If you have any problems, questions, comments. Feel free to leave me a comment or email me.

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