When a device goes missing from the Device Manager, it means that either the BIOS or the operating system is not enumerating the device for some reason. Check for another device in Device Manager that may be the Ethernet controller, but not labeled as such. It may be called "Unknown Device" or "Network Controller." If such a device exists, you can usually simply right-click on that device and click Update Driver and the problem will resolve itself from there.

If there is nothing at all indicating the existence of the Ethernet device, then the device may have been disbled in the BIOS. If you have recently made changes in the BIOS, then this would be worth checking. It's usually a fairly obvious setting, such as "Enable onboard LAN" that has been unchecked. If you have not changed anything in the BIOS, check to with your machine or mainboard manufacturer to make sure that you are using the most up to date version of the BIOS available. 

If you have ruled out the above, you may be able to uninstall and reinstall the drivers for the device by following these steps:

  1. Download the latest Killer Control Center installer from here - http://www.killernetworking.com/driver-downloads/item/killer-control-center-x64. If you do not have another adapter on that machine, you may need to use a USB drive, or some other method of moving the file onto the machine.
  2. Right-click Start and click Apps and Features
  3. Find any "Killer" entry and uninstall it, including "Killer Drivers" or "Killer Performance Suite" or any variation.
  4. Restart the machine by clicking Start > Power > Restart
  5. Once the machine has booted back up, right-click start and click Device Manager
  6. Click View and click Show hidden devices
  7. Hopefully the missing adapter will show up, albeit grayed out. Right click on it, and click Uninstall Device.
  8. Check the box for Delete the driver software for this device , if it exists, then click Uninstall.
  9. Click the light blue Scan for hardware changes icon at the top of Device Manager.
  10. If the adapter reppears, close the Device Manager and run the installer for the latest Killer Control Center. If it does not, restart the computer.

If the adapter still does not appear, then try updating all of the drivers available from your mainboard or machine manufacturer. The chipset driver is especially important. Uninstalling the most recent Windows Updates may also help, especially if the issue was first noticed after a Windows Update. Sometimes, uninstalling and reinstalling the Windows Update in question will result in a more successful outcome, with a working Ethernet adapter. 

If none of the above does the trick, you may need to perform a power drain on the machine in order to force it to re-enumerate the device. To do this, unplug the machine from the wall and then, if it is a laptop, remove the battery, if possible. If you cannot remove the battery, drain it through usage until the machine will no longer power on. If it is a desktop, you will need to remove the CMOS battery, which is a large button-style battery on the mainboard. Once there is no power to the machine, press and hold the power button for ten seconds, to complete the power drain. Then replace the battery, plug the machine back in, and power it on. The Ethernet device should now enumerate and, with the fixes that you put in place earlier, it should not vanish again.


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