under the non-plug and play devices list that appeared in device manager after i followed the steps on the webpage, i noticed there were a few items with yellow warning signs on their icons.
these being: HTTP, TCP IP Protocol Driver, Symantec Intrusion Prevention Driver
i suspect, as SCSIraidGURU said, that my tcp/ip stack and/or a network component is indeed damaged or missing. i.e: the two items i have highlighted in blue
when i went to the TCP IP Protocol Driver's properties list its status states 'the device is not present, is not working properly, or does not have all its drivers installed (Code 24)'
in its driver tab there is an option to start the driver. when i press start i get a message saying 'element not found' which tells me it is missing
it is all the same when i went to theHTTP's properties, except when i pressed start i got the message 'the network location cannot be reached'
however, under my network adapters list there are many more devices listed. all of them are enabled and seem to be doing fine