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Why do my network adapters become unknown devices

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All the network adapters are marked as "Unknown Device" types in Device Manager. Also, all the connections, except dial-up are missing. The network continues to work normally, however, unless I attempt to set up a new network connection - if I try that, the IP address is lost and I can't connect without reformating and reinstalling the system. The only solution that eMachines tech support can give is to reformat the hard drive and reinstall everything new. I have done that three times in the last month, only to have the problem recur 3 or 4 days later. Any new NIC I install goes to unknown devices and cannot be used. One (a kingston) showed Code 10 and an other (a Realtek) showed Code 31. There was a posting about the same problem on another web site (help.lockergnome.com) but only the procedure for running a repair install (I386\winnt32 /unattend) but no indication of what is causing the problem. I have discovered that the network connections still show, by name, in Windows Task Manager, under the networking tab...but nowhere else I have found. Additionally, when printing to a networkworked printer, which is on a different box, if I specify more than one copy, a new copy of the printer appears on the "sick" box. Then only one copy prints. Also, the printer(s) are not accessible to see what is printing on the "sick" box, with the error "Access denied, unable to connect".
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