So there is a way to get NIC Teaming to work in Windows 8.1. WS2012 R2 has dead-easy way to team any two nics (effectively giving you 2 gigabit eithernet if the other end also has at least 2 gigabit capacity). And during the Windows 8 developer preview, Microsoft had forgotten to turn off NIC Teaming, so there are a ton of (outdated) articles explaining how to turn it on. The retail version of Win 8 did not ship with this feature, nor did the retail version of 8.1, not even Pro or Enterprise.
As it turns out, Intel includes NIC Teaming in the PRO version of all their Ethernet cards. Intel pretty much owns the server Ethernet card market so they’re both cheap and plentiful. The driver-level (as opposed to Microsoft’s OS-level NIC Teaming) teaming works between any two Intel PRO Ethernet cards (I think) and, more importantly, works on Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 (and more than likely, someday, Windows 9). For your convenience, Intel makes dual gigabit Ethernet cards for less than fifty bucks which is awfully nice of them. The new version runs about $150, but supports VT-c which is greatly improved for boxes hosting lots of virtual machines, it allows direct hardware pass-through to the VM improving performance and also power consumption/heat.
So how do you get this $50 wonder card to work with Windows 8.1? I’m glad you asked, someone wrote-up this how-to, and that’s what I’m here to share
To enable NIC Teaming in Windows 8.1
- Install the latest Windows 8.1 PROSet drivers.
- Under Network Connections, right-click on the first ethernet port of the Intel PRO/1000 PT card and click on the Configure button.
- Click on the Drivers tab.
- Click Update Driver.
- Click Browse my computer…
- Click the option – Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.
- Uncheck the Show compatible hardware box.
- Locate Intel in the left-hand box
- Locate the Intel (R) Ethernet Server Adapter I350-T2 option.
- Click Next until the process is complete.
- Repeat this on the secondary ethernet port.
- When done, right-click on the primary ethernet port again and click on theConfigure button.
- You should now see a tab called Teaming.
You can create a new team from the two ethernet ports via this tab.