I have just finished installing VS.NET 2005 beta 2 on my Tablet PC for the second time, with the exact same result: I can’t get any networking whatsoever to work on the system. What I did is really quite simple: I cleaned up the system very carefully because there had been an installation of beta 1 on it before. I found a lot of information about that on the web, like here, I also had collected some experience doing that a few times with the CTPs (on a different system). I’m reasonably sure I didn’t miss anything important, because my main workstation, which has been through a lot more cycles than the Tablet PC, works just fine with beta 2 after the same procedure.

I ran through the setup without noticing anything suspicious. No errors, nothing. Rebooted at the end… and after that’s done, I noticed that my wireless connection didn’t come up any longer. I checked and double-checked everything to do with the connection, but found no problems at all, apart from it not working. The behaviour was rather interesting: the wireless connection was just showing that it wasn’t connected, but searching for available networks didn’t really seem to do anything. You know how this normally takes a few seconds once you click the “Refresh” link in the dialog? This didn’t happen, in fact nothing seemed to happen at all.

Finally, I found there was a newer driver available from the Motion support site. I had tried one of these drivers in the past and had had some problems with it, so I had reverted back to the standard MS driver for my mini PCI Intel card. I thought I’d download that newer driver and see if there was any tool in the package that might help me find out if maybe the antenna was broken. After downloading the driver I found that it was a little difficult to get the thing over to the Tablet PC without having any network connectivity… I decided to plug a network cable in and go that way instead. That was when I found out that networking was just completely broken on the machine, nothing to do with the wireless card at all. The built-in fast ethernet card had the same problem: it seemed to be connected on the hardware level (for example, Windows noticed when I unplugged the cable), but it wasn’t possible to get TCP/IP running over the interface. In the Connection Status window, there was no TCP/IP information at all and a click on the Repair button gave an error message saying “Windows could not finish repairing the problem because the following action cannot be completed: Failed to query TCP/IP settings of the connection. Cannot proceed.”

I tried using DHCP and assigning a fixed address. I tried all the same things with the wireless adapter, no difference. I rebooted all the time to be sure there wasn’t any problem with that. Nothing. Finally, I restored the system to a restore point before the VS 2005 beta 2 installation and everything went back to normal immediately. Then I cleaned the system up once again, I installed the whole beta 2 once again. The result was exactly the same. Obviously it’s possible that this has more to do with the beta 2 of the .NET framework than with VS itself. As parts of the Tablet PC tools are written with .NET, it’s probably possible that there’s some incompatibility there. But apart from the networking problems, the system seems to work just fine, even VS itself works just fine. But I need my network… I’ll keep looking for this, and I’ll keep everybody posted if I find the reason. Please tell me if you have any idea where I should look!