Multiple Network Adapters

This page covers both Windows95 and Windows NT4.

Networking with Windows95 and WindowsNT4 is usually an easy job: Install the “Network Adapter“, add “Protocol” and “Client” and you are “talking” over the network. The possibility to define MULTIPLE protocols for a Network adapter (which is so easy to setup due to Microsoft’s NDIS support) is highly appreciated by everyone, who tried to setup/configure multiple protocols on a DOS based systems or Windows 3.x-system: It was often impossible! The same is true for installing MULTIPLE Network Adapters: A very difficult (often impossible) task under DOS and Windows 3.x, also a simple job under Windows 95 and Windows NT4.The biggest challenge: IRQ-Resources Since the days of the IBM AT systems, the design of the systems has changed dramatically:

IMB AT Modern Pentium II
Screen resolution:
Floppy disk:
available IRQ’s:
6 Mhz
typical 1 MByte
20 MByte
1.44 MByte
300 Mhz
UVGA (1280×1024 / 1600×1200)
typical 16/32/64 MByte
4 GByte
1.44 MByte (plus CD-ROM)
16 !

In today’s high-performance systems, we are still stuck with the limit of maximum 16 IRQ-lines (“What is an Interrupt ?“), which is turning into a serious problem on today’s Multi-Media Systems with Sound-Boards and SCSI-controllers, in some cases no IRQ is anymore available forcing to switch OFF something else (usually the second Serial-Port COM2, which is not used so often).


Check in the Control-Panel “System”, tab: “Device Manager” the “Computer”-properties to locate an unused IRQ. In my example, I did already install the second Network adapter. But if this system had a Sound-board (which usually takes 2 IRQ’s) and a SCSI-adapter, no more IRQ would be available.

Windows NT4:

On Windows NT, check the “NT Diagnostics”, Tab:”Resources”.

When installing a new network-board under Windows95, it will automatically create a binding of ALL currently installed protocols to the new board:

This screen dump is a “fake”, because I had to make 2 screenshots to get the full info displayed. All protocols have a Binding to all Network cards. We should clean this up, keeping only the required bindings.

When going to Multi-Network-Adapter/Multi-Protocol setups, it is best to draw it up to get an overview on the goal to be achieved:

In this example, I like to connect on different network cables: – connect to a Novell-Netware server via IPX protocol – connect to a Windows NT system via NetBEUI-protocol – connect to the Internet using the Modem/Dialup-Adapter via TCP/IP. (In my example, I use 2 different network-boards, but it is also possible to install 2 identical network-boards, as long as they are configured for different IRQ and Port-address. To avoid another mis-understanding: if both the Novell-server AND the NT-system are on the SAME network cable, you can connect to them using ONLY ONE Network-adapter and BINDING multiple protocols to this one Network adapter. Please look to this as an exercise)


see below for Windows NT4)

to delete a Binding, select the combination of Protocol->Network board and “Remove” it.

The “cleaned-out” version on the “Network”, containing now only the required Bindings. We can now also verify the Bindings by checking the properties of the components:

IPX has a Binding to the 3COM for the connection to the Netware Server.

NetBEUI has a Binding to the NE2000 for the connection to the NT system.

The IPX-protocol has a Binding to the Client for Netware Networks. (I manually un-checked the binding to the Client for Microsoft Network)

The NetBEUI-protocol has a Binding to the Client for Microsoft Networks.

Lets now connect to these systems:

The Netware server does show up in the “Network Neighborhood“, but (it is part of the Microsoft mystery of the “Browse-Master“) the NT system did NOT show up in the “Network-Neighborhood“, but I am able to connect to it by running the “Run“-command: \\<server-name>, in my example: \\piijh.

Lets check the “Network” applet in the Control-Panel.

Since we like to connect to a Novell-netware server, we need in addition to the “Server” and “Workstation” (required to connect to the NT-system) the “Client Services for Netware“.

We have the protocols: – NetBEUI to communicate with the NT-system – IPX to communicate to the Novell Netware server

the 2 Network Adapters

The Bindings: Here we need to do the job. First, open (=expand the display) by clicking on the “+” signs.

Then, select and “Disable” all not required Bindings. In this example: no need for the IPX-protocol to have a Binding to the Server and Workstation, which is used for connection to the NT-system.

Then, we are ready to connect and browse the network:

Don’t ask me why: But under Windows NT4, both the Novell-server(s) AND the NT-system (PIIJH) are showing up in the “Network-Neighborhood” (each time, when NT is able to do a job not possible/available on Windows95, I say to myself:” Do NOT forget, that Windows95 is only the little brother of the big-boy NT ! “).

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