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VMware VM hidden NIC and IP assigned to another adaptor

August 3rd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Post the upgrade of a VMware infrastructure from ESX 3.5 to vSphere 4, I encountered an issue when upgrading the Virtual Machines. I had already installed the latest VMware tools and after upgrading the hardware from version 4 to version 7 I wanted to remove the standard NIC attached to each Virtual Machine and attach the new vmxnet3 NIC.

I powered on the Virtual Machine after removing the old NIC and adding the new vmxnet3 NIC and logged into Windows. I could see Windows installing the relevant drivers for the new vmxnet3 adaptor that it had detected and Windows was prompting for a reboot. Before doing so I tried to set the IP address on the new NIC so that when the Virtual Machine rebooted it was immediately available on the network. When I tried to do so I was prompted with an error:

"The IP address you have entered for this network adapter is already assigned to another adapter"

Since I had 'physically' removed the original adaptor I checked device manager to try and uninstall it but it was not listed. When a device is removed from a physical server but was not uninstalled it becomes hidden in device manager. To view hidden devices you need to open a command prompt:

Start -> run -> cmd

Now type the following:


This will start device manager with the option to 'Show hidden devices'. To enable this option go to:

View -> Show hidden devices

Now when you browse Network Adaptors you will see the hidden NIC (it will be ghosted out) and can right click and uninstall it.

After uninstalling the old NIC I was able to set the IP address of the server on the new NIC with no issues. After a reboot the server was operational again.

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