I have a PC that is having some connection issues. It randomly drops pings. Not like 1 ping dropped here and there, but like every 5-15 minutes, it will drop 2-6 pings.

I have hooked it up to an entirely different wall socket, with a new Ethernet cord, and it is still experiencing the drops. So the issue seems to be with the laptop or Ethernet card itself.

It is a new laptop, only a few months old, and the Ethernet card is not heavily used (i.e. not massive torrent downloading or anything like that).

So my questions are.

Is there a good free program I can use to specifically test the Ethernet card?

Is there anything else anyone would suggest trying/testing?

Other than answers to the above 2 questions -- do you think it's pretty safe to assume the Ethernet adapter is starting to fail?

There was an updated driver on the manufacturers website, that was not shown in win-update, so I installed that, and it hasn't had the problem again as of yet. So I am keeping my fingers crossed.

I have found that in most cases, it is better to use manufacturer drivers than use the windows update drivers provided by Microsoft.

Your problem also sounded like one I had on a PC with a built-in NIC. I was never able to resolve the problem, so I bought a $25 USB NIC and never had any more network problems. Since you fixed the problem, I would say nevermind on that. :)

If the manufacturer doesn't have a diagnostic utility, you could try something like wireshark, but I don't think that will give you what you are looking for. I guess I have never really troubleshot a NIC that was acting up, I simply replaced it since my job often values speed above all else when troubleshooting server hardware. We replace the "possible bad part" and then depending on the cost of the part, we may test it in a lab later.