2006 vintage Compaq Presario C502CA: Celeron M440 1.86GHz, 1.5 GB RAM, 80 GB SATA HDD

This machine came stock with Vista Home Basic 32, installed Win8 Preview in July 2012 without issue. Few days ago installed Win8Pro 32 upgrade & now every time I try to connect to the internet, it crashes & reboots giving IRQL NDIS.SYS error.

The BIOS version F.13, 2007-01-16 is stock & has not been re-flashed, as the only update available only adds compatibility for M500 Celeron.

Here's WhoCrashed Output:

computer name: TERRY
windows version: Windows 8 , 6.2, build: 9200
windows dir: C:\WINDOWS
CPU: GenuineIntel Intel(R) Celeron(R) M CPU 440 @ 1.86GHz Intel586, level: 6
1 logical processors, active mask: 1
RAM: 1600245760 total
VM: 2147352576, free: 1944559616

Crash Dump Analysis

Crash dump directory: C:\WINDOWS\Minidump

Crash dumps are enabled on your computer.

On Fri 2013-01-25 8:26:55 AM GMT your computer crashed
crash dump file: C:\WINDOWS\Minidump\012513-15506-01.dmp
This was probably caused by the following module: ndis.sys (ndis+0x2EDF8)
Bugcheck code: 0xD1 (0x1D, 0x2, 0x0, 0xFFFFFFFF87E35DF8)
file path: C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\ndis.sys
product: Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
company: Microsoft Corporation
description: NDIS 6.30 driver
Bug check description: This indicates that a kernel-mode driver attempted to access pageable memory at a process IRQL that was too high.
This appears to be a typical software driver bug and is not likely to be caused by a hardware problem.
The crash took place in a standard Microsoft module. Your system configuration may be incorrect. Possibly this problem is caused by another driver on your system that cannot be identified at this time.

RealTek 8139/810X NIC Driver:

Driver Name : Rtnicxp.sys
Address : 0x8CB43000
End Address : 0x8CB52000
Size : 0x0000f000
Load Count : 1
Index : 93
File Type : Network Driver
Description : Realtek 10/100 NDIS 5.1 Driver
Version : 6.109.530.2008
Company : Realtek Semiconductor Corporation
Product Name : Realtek 10/100 NIC Family all in one NDIS Driver
Modified Date : 2012-06-02 6:32:01 AM
Created Date : 2012-06-02 6:32:01 AM
Filename : C:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\Rtnicxp.sys
File Attributes : A
Service Name : RTL8023xp
Service Display Name: @netrtl32.inf,%Rtlnicxp.Service.DispName%;Realtek 10/100 NIC Family NDIS x86 Driver

On the advice of HP support, I have disabled the wireless adapter, turned off Win Defender & Firewall, [no other anti-malware is installed] and the problem persists exactly as before. My research points to the RealTek NIC driver as the culprit - HP advises that the latest driver for this device is included with Win8.

I should add that Win8 has installed a Basic Display Driver with obviously poor result, but I cannot address that problem until I can connect to the internet.

Can anyone help me with this otherwise perfectly serviceable laptop?