|I should have asked but didn't............is this a PC or a laptop?|
If a PC, is it a brand name (HP, Compaq, IBM, Dell etc) or is it a custom build?
I ask because, if it's a PC, you can simply buy a new NIC (network interface card) and install it in a PCI slot.
You would then go into the BIOS and disable the broken onboard network interface and then bootup. Your operating system would "find" the new device. You would then install the drivers (if it's a common brand, windows may have drivers already for it) and it would work.
So, if it's a PC and it's a custom build and you've owned the motherboard for more than a year (usual manufacturer warranty on a mobo is 1 year) then the smart way to go would be to buy a new NIC. If you can't install it yourself, pay a qualified professional to do it for you. It only takes about 15 minutes to install, setup and test so you shouldn't have to pay for more than 30 min's of labor.
It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.