Windows 98




 
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Overview: Modem Issues in Windows 98:

Links on this page: Check for Modem Conflicts | Update Modem Driver | Add/Reinstall Modem |

This page covers updating modem drivers and removing and/or reinstalling modems.  A modem driver is software that allows your Windows OS to speak to your modem.  Reinstalling modem drivers is usually the last step in trying to fix a connection or surfing problem on your computer.

Here are some common modem problems and their possible causes.

Problems

Possible Causes

    * Frequent Disconnects
    * Slow Connection
    * Connect but can’t browse
    * Computer not receiving response from modem 

    Bad Settings
    Bad init strings 
    Bad Modem Drivers

 

Problems

Possible Causes

    * Unable to Open Communications Port
     * The Port is Already Open
     * The Modem is Being Used by another application…
     * Dial-up Networking could not establish a compatible set of network protocols…
     * The Line is Busy
    * No dial tone
    * Computer Not Receiving Response from Modem

    Ghost Modems
    rnaapp
    Bad Modem Drivers

As you'll notice, a bad modem driver could be the cause of any of these common errors and problems.  However, it typically the last thing on the list to fix these problems.  

Before reinstalling or updating modem drivers, follow the steps below, most of which were discussed on previous pages:

1) Physical    -    Is the modem plugged in to the correct phone jack?  There are typically two ports on the back of your computer labeled "Phone" and one labeled "Wall".  The other one labeled "Wall" is to be plugged directly into the wall jack.  The one labeled "Phone" is for a normal handset.  If you have a phone plugged into the port labeled "Phone", you should be able to hear a dial tone.  If plugged into the wrong port, errors range from "No Dialtone" to "Busy Signal" to "Not receiving response from modem."

1.5) rnaapp    -    ctrl+alt+del will open Task Manager.  Check for rnaapp.  rnaapp is a telephony API written into the OS. It handles dialing out, maintaining the connection, and closing the connection. Rnaapp frequently fails to unload itself from active memory under WIn98 (both versions).  This will give errors like "Modem already in use", "Port already open", "No Dialtone", or other modem-related errors.  Select rnaapp (in Task Manager ctrl+alt+del), and then click "End Task".  This will free up rnaapp from whatever application is holding on to it.  Rebooting should do this as well.  See http://www.modemhelp.net/newsletter/dun/combatrnaapp.shtml for more info.

2) Maximum Speed    -    The maximum speed should be no higher than 57600 for 56k modems.  Remember, slowing down the rate at which your computer communicates with your modem causes fewer errors and fewer retransmissions, and thus higher throughput.  Click here for help with Speed, Flow Control, & init strings.

3) Flow Control    -    It's sometimes difficult to know whether your modem is truly a software or a hardware modem.  So, a little trial and error is often required.  Try software flow control for most 56k modems in Win98/ME (HCF modems are most notable exception).  Problems like "Can't Connect", including Error 629, 650 are often seen.  Also, "Connect but can't browse" problems can occur.  Click here for help with Speed, Flow Control, & init strings.

4) Init String    -    Some modems simply work better with init strings.  Remember, forcing your modem to use V.34 (28.8 kbps or 33.6 kbps) instead of V.90 (56kbps) often gives a more stable connection with higher throughput.  Also, newer V.92 modems often need to be forced down to V.90 when connecting to ISP phone numbers where V.92 is not supported.  
Click here for a list of common init strings.  Click here for help with Speed, Flow Control, & init strings.

5a) Update Driver    -    If your modem responds to a diagnostic, but is still having problems, try updating the driver.  For all versions of Windows, you can easily update the driver to the latest version.  The difficult part is finding the driver.  If your computer came from a major PC Manufacturer, you're in luck, as these drivers are easy to find.  If you replaced your modem, or did not purchase the PC from a major manufacturer, you may spend a bit (to a lot) of extra time locating the driver online.  Click here for help finding your modem's driver.

5b) Re-Install Modem (ONLY IF driver is available)    -    If your modem does NOT respond to a diagnostics, you may need to uninstall and then reinstall the modem.  As explained in the previous paragraph, you need to make sure you have the correct driver before doing this.

 

Check for Conflicts & Run a Diagnostic:

If you're getting a lot of modem errors, such as "cannot open port", "port already in use", "cannot communicate with modem", then you may need to reinstall the modem.  You can run a diagnostic to see if the computer can actually communicate with the modem.

Click Start -> Settings -> Control Panel, as pictured below.

 

Double click on the Modem icon, pictured in the middle of the Control Panel below.

After clicking the Modem icon to open the modem properties, the following screen appears.

Note:  Don't bother configuring the modem's properties through the Properties button.  Since the DUN properties will override these settings, changes must be done from within the DUN connection.  Already existing connections will not be affected by changes made here in the Control Panel.

 

General Tab:

The General tab of the Modem Properties lists any modem installed on your computer.  You should only see one modem listed here.  It is possible to have more than one modem physically installed on your computer, but almost nobody ever does.

A "Ghost" modem is a modem driver with no corresponding hardware.  This means you have a driver installed for your modem, but the modem itself is not installed in the computer.  The image below shows only one modem installed, and this is as it should be.  If there were a second modem listed, one of these would be a "ghost" modem.  Examples of what might be listed here include: 
    Cirrus 56k bps Modem Internal #2     <--Note the #2 at the end.
    Standard 56K Modem
    etc.

To determine which modem is the good modem and which is the "ghost" modem, select the Diagnostics tab.

Note:  Even if you do not have a "ghost modem", the Diagnostics tab will tell you if your modem is working properly.

 

Diagnostics Tab:

The Diagnostics tab will tell you if your modem is working properly.  If you have more than one modem, running a diagnostic on each one will show which one is the good modem and which is the "ghost" modem.

Highlight the COM Port where the modem is installed (COM2 in this example) and then click More Info.

 

More Info: Modem IS functioning

If the computer can communicate with the modem, the following screen appears:

Notice all of the text displayed in the white box.  This means that you may only need to update the modem driver.  Click here to go to the section for help updating modem drivers.

If you are trying to determine which of two modems is a "ghost" modem, this is NOT it.

 

More Info:  Modem is NOT functioning -or- Ghost Modem

If the modem is not functioning, you will see the following error.  Click OK to see more info.

 

The following screen shows that the computer can not communicate with the modem.  If the modem were functioning properly you would see tons of info in the white box (as in the example above).

If you are trying to determine which of two modems is a "ghost" modem, this is it.  Go back to the General tab and remove it.

Or, if this is the only modem, this may indicate a hardware problem with the modem.  Hopefully, it's only a problem with the driver.  It's time to remove and reinstall the modem.  
Click here to go to the section on help reinstalling a modem.

 

Update Modem Drivers:

Installing modem drivers is easy, but it's actually the second step.  The first step -- finding the driver -- is the more difficult step, and is the subject of it's own page.  Click here for help finding drivers.  Once you've found the correct driver, you can install it on your computer.  

If the driver is an executable program (file extension is .exe), then simply click on the .exe file to install the new driver.  Most PC Manufacturers package their drivers this way.

If the driver file is not an .exe, you will have to install it the old fashioned way, as described in the rest of this section.  

Note:  Files may be in .zip or .rar formats, which means you will have to "unzip" or "extract" the files before installing. 

To update modem driver software or view modem settings, click the Start button, then Settings, and select Control Panel as pictured below.

 

Double click on the System icon, pictured at the the bottom of the Control Panel below.

 

After clicking the System icon to open the system properties, select the Device Manager tab, as shown below.

Click the + sign next to Modems to expand the tree.  Then click on your modem below that.  With your modem highlighted, click the Properties button at the bottom of the screen.

 

When the Modem Properties opens, click the Driver tab to see the screen below.

 

You can view the view the file version of your driver by clicking on the Driver Details button.  A screen like the following one will appear:

Click 'OK' to get back to the main Driver tab.

 

If you determine that you need to upgrade your modem driver, click the Update Driver button to start the Update Wizard.

 

Click 'Next' to continue the upgrade Device Driver Wizard.

 

Choose the last option, Display a list of all the drivers in a specific location, so you can select the driver you want.  Then click 'Next'.

 

Here you will click on the Have Disk button.  Insert the disk or choose the location on your hard drive where you have stored the driver software.  Click 'Next' and your modem driver will be updated with the new software.

 

Add or Reinstall a Modem:

If you're getting a lot of modem errors, such as "cannot open port", "port already in use", "cannot communicate with modem", then you may need to completely reinstall the modem.  You can run a diagnostic to see if the computer can actually communicate with the modem.  (Click here to jump to section above with this info.) 

Reinstalling  a modem is easy, but it's actually the second step.  The first step -- finding the driver -- is the more difficult step, and is the subject of it's own page.  Click here for help finding drivers.  Once you've found the correct driver, you can safely remove and reinstall the modem on your computer.  

IMPORTANT:  Make sure you have downloaded the most up to date driver from the Internet before continuing.  

Once you have the correct driver, follow the instructions below to remove and re-install your modem.

Click Start -> Settings -> Control Panel, as pictured below.

 

Double click on the Modem icon, pictured in the middle of the Control Panel below.

 

After clicking the Modem icon to open the modem properties, the following screen appears.

 

Click Remove, and then reboot your computer.  When it restarts, Windows 98 should automatically find your modem and try to install the driver.  If it doesn't, try rebooting again.  You can also go back to the Modem Properties shown above and click Add.  Either way, you should eventually reach the screen below.

 

Choose Don't detect my modem; I will select it from a list and click Next.  The following screen appears.

Click the Have Disk button.

 

You will be prompted for the location of the file.  

 

Browse to the location where you have stored the driver for your modem and click OK.  Then click Next to arrive at the following screen.

 

Choose which port to install the modem on.  Any of the COM ports are typically okay to use.  Try to pick one that is never used by another device (like a mouse, camera, joystick, etc.). 

After Windows 98 installs the modem, click Finish to exit the Wizard.

You have now successfully reinstalled your modem.

 

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