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Intel PRO/1000 GT - EEPROM (& MAC address) have been corrupted?!


Hi all,

Two days ago, I booted up my desktop as per usual, only to notice upon/after POST, the Intel PRO1000/GT Desktop adapter reported:

PXE-E05: The LAN adapter's configuration is corrupted or has not been initialized. The Intel Boot Agent cannot continue.

.. and then XP began to boot and load as per normal (nb: I don't network boot or anything). Strange I thought. Even more strange was that when I logged in, I noticed it was taking an extraordinary amount of time in obtaining an IP address, eventually falling back to windows automatic private IP addressing.

Thinking it was more than likely that the two issues were related, I ended up running the hardware diagnostic test within Windows XP device manager for the PRO/1000 GT. The EEPROM test failed, but all other tests passed. I decided to proceed with the suggestion from the Intel Boot Agent documentation to try and upgrade the flash. The flash upgrade was successful (from 1.2.22 to 1.3.36 i think the versions were) and I saved a copy of the original flash. I didn't realise it at the time, but the saved backup copy used the filename .flb, in this case the filename was FFFF0CB61110.flb (keen observers out there will spot the issue straight away.. I didn't notice it at the time..)

After a reboot, the IBA error message was gone. I booted back into Windows XP, and re-ran the hardware diagnostic; all tests passed. However, the adapter was still having trouble obtaining an IP address. Static assignment worked, but I could only send, not receive packets.

At this point I ran ipconfig /all. The reported MAC address of the adapter did not look right; it reported as FF:FF:0C:B6:11:10 (when it should be 00:0E:0C:B6:11:10). Two things clicked here, that the MAC address:

  • looked familar but the first two octets didn't look right (from another computer, I checked the DHCP static lease and confirmed the first two octets were different);


  • was the same as the hex string was the name given to the backup flash image.

So that's when it clicked; the MAC address had been corrupted, probably related to the initial IBA error. That would mean that the MAC address was originally fubar before I tried the flash upgrade solution, as the backup flash image that was saved used the mac address as the filename. So I feel a little relieved that I didn't cause this somehow.

Now, as a work around, there is the option inside the PRO/1000 GT device manager options to manually specify the correct (00:0E:0C:B6:11:10) hardware address. As soon as I do this, pow! connectivity is restored. Hitting the default button restores the partially corrupted address, FF:FF:0C:B6:11:10.

I have a support ticket open (two days from autoresponse stage) but I am wondering is this something support might be able to fix? I mean, I'm thinking surely there's an Intel utility (whilst it might not be publicly available) that could correct the address on a more permanent basis? or is this a case for warranty? or is it just a trivial matter, and I should leave the workaround Device-manager specified MAC address in place?

Thanks for reading!

PS. Just my luck as i post this.. Error 502, bad gateway.

PPS. very nice forum interface. Click to drag/expand text window, etc. is a very nice touch.

Update # 1 : Support replied and concluded the card's gone bonkers; suggested the RMA process. The retailer I bought closed up a little while back, and the distributor here in Australia will cost more than the postage overseas (assuming I'd have to mail it to the APAC region, guessing the Philippines). Speaking of which, is it generally the case that the end-user pays for postage to Intel, but not on the return leg?

Update # 2 :RMA is underway, at no cost to myself. Unbelievable service!

(times are local)

Fri 16th Oct - 7 AM : Initial RMA request sent with all required infromation.

Fri 16th Oct - 5 PM : RMA acknowledged, notified it will be forwarded to another department.

Fri 16th Oct - 5 PM : RMA case # generated, notified it will be forwarded to warranty for processing.

Mon 19th Oct - 4 PM : Intel warranty parts order email received with instructions to ship back via a prepaid airway bill that was to be sent.

Tue 20th Oct - 2 PM : FedEx return document shipment left Malaysia for Australia (via China).

Fri 23rd Oct - 10 AM : FedEx truck arrived with document delivery.

Mon 25th Oct - 3 PM : Called FedEx to arrange pick up

Mon 25th Oct - 4 PM : Pick up truck arrived (within ~1 hour!).

Wed 28th Oct - 5 PM : Arrived at Malaysia.

Thu 29th Oct - 10 PM : Replacement shipped with courier notification; expecting arrival in two days' time.

Tues 3nd Nov - 1 PM : Brand-new sealed replacement arrived.


Can't ask for better service than that. I take my hat off to Intel, the CSRs and even the FedEx guy who was quite helpful.

Simply, awesome!

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3 Replies

Hi Ozz,

Sorry to hear your having trouble with your Intel product. You've done the right thing by starting the RMA. While it looks like it is just the MAC address that has gone bad, it is very possible that there is more damage to it that you can't see or feel right now. 0xFFFF is also the "erased" state for an EEPROM, so it could be that you're not seeing corruption, but a sign of a hardware failure in the EEPROM. If its a hardware failure, the modifications won't stay. I know the RMA can come with some hassles, but long term you'll maximize the value of your purchase by getting it replaced.

I have an upcoming article about EEPROMs (and Flash and NVM) so look for that for more info about EEPROMs.


Thanks for the reply, Douglas & mashime.

I believe you are correct that there may be more underlying problems. I went to start the test/diagnostic system which I moved the card to, for a few more EEPROM tests (to satisfy my curiosity..) and on two occasions, it failed to detect on boot and subsequently in Windows. Fortunately I have an abundance of Intel desktop adapters so there's no qualms using the RMA process, which is underway.

Thanks again to both for your input. I shall keep an eye out for your article!

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Hello ozz,

Here is one link on Intel website regarding warranty of Intel adapter

Read paragraph# 3, it should answer your concern whether there are expenses to be shouldered. Hope this helps: )