In-laws computer disconnecting-Help?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by John Wilson, Jul 23, 2003.

  1. John Wilson

    John Wilson Supporting Actor

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    Hi. I have a problem that maybe somebody can help me with. Since I know enough about computers to be dangerous, my in-laws seem to think that I can fix their computer whenever it acts up. Since they live two hours away, this is not always possible. However, I am going down there today and maybe I can get them going. They have a Gateway Celeron 500 running Windows ME. The problem is that during a dial-up internet session, they get booted off for no apparent reason. They have spent quite a bit of time with their ISP's Customer Support but it hasn't helped. [​IMG]

    They have a software modem but a good phone connection. Can anybody suggest any tweaks/tips for Win ME that help with a connection problem? Are there any freeware/shareware utilities that would help with maintaining a connection? (did I mention that they are cheap as well?)

    Thanks for any advice/suggestions you could give me that might help the situation. I don't believe that they would be up for an OS upgrade or reinstall, even though I've suggested it many times[​IMG] :b
     
  2. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    Is there anyway they can get a hardware modem? Even if you just lend 'em one for awhile.
     
  3. Joel Mack

    Joel Mack Cinematographer

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    Do they have call-waiting?
     
  4. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Software modems are notorious for causing random disconnects. I strongly suggest getting a hardware modem (where all the DSP processing is done on the card in hardware, not on the PC!).

    I recall a class-action lawsuit made against the manufacturers of software modems a few years ago. Software modems DO NOT WORK.
     
  5. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    They do work, but usually they are in ancient computers that people are running 58 programs that they downloaded off that dang internet to 'stop your computer from broadcasting an ip address,' 'make the internet faster,' and spyware laden screensavers. The computer just can't deal with all of this and maintaining the modem connection.

    Although obviously hardware modems are the way to go.
     
  6. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    You might want to look at their IRQ list. I have a feeling that the 'software' hooked into an IRQ that is also running ten other devices. ME does that, and they are a mess to correct.

    The cards can be shifted for differt IRQ results, and the BIOS can be switched on and off too (for automatic detection) - but with ME using 'soft' IRQ's - sometimes one IRQ will just get overloaded, and thus you will get a crash - and the connection freaks and breaks.

    I think it was a huge mistake for MS to run soft IRQ's, and wish they would go back, but there are just too many devices out there today. (Maybe we need more IRQ's)?

    Glenn
     
  7. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Well, newer PCs have 24 IRQs now. I still see my nForce-based PC have shared IRQs, but it is not an issue because the drivers were properly written to handle this situation (when the interrupt occurs, the driver checks a register in the hardware first to ensure it needs to be serviced).

    Shared IRQs were common on the Amiga and Macintosh computers, and there were never any problems because the hardware and software for the add-in cards were (almost) always designed correctly.

    Not so in the PC world, where so much of the hardware and software is crap.

    A faster PC would help with a software modem, but you will still get drop outs when one of your programs decides to hog your CPU at 100 percent for a few seconds (such as video applications, viruses, badly written websites,etc). It'll still suck.
     
  8. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    I had a trusty cheapo Lucent software Winmodem that worked great for years. Never had any problem with disconnects. Just stopped using it last month when our free college dial-up was discontinued suddenly.

    I have seen some good tweaking help relieve some of these problems. If nothing else, make sure you download the newest drivers you can find for the modem. You may have to pull the cover off the system to get the model # on the modem. The old drivers probably give you enough info, though - use the name on the current drivers to search for new drivers. Download some new drivers, uninstall the old ones, install the new ones. Run through these modem tweaks. Drivers can make a world of difference with an old POS Winmodem [​IMG]

    I know hardware modems are better, but the core of the problem can probably be found.
    I used to use this one:
    http://www.tweak3d.net/tweak/modem/

    This one seems to have some good advice:
    http://www.dansdata.com/sbs33.htm
     
  9. JohanD

    JohanD Stunt Coordinator

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    Also check your phone line..

    I had a dial-up connection that WAS working fine at one time.. then it started acting up..

    Sometimes I would be on the internet for an hour solid with no problems... other times I would be on no longer than 5 minutes and it would disconnect me.. very random.. but I almost never made it through a session.. I would always get disconnected at some point.. VERY aggrivating..

    I work on computers for a living.. so it was no problem for me to tear it apart and inspect it.. there was nothing wrong with my system..

    I took a regular old corded phone and plugged it into the line.. dial-tone was there but every now and then I would hear a little static.. took a line tester to it.. and it showed the wires as backwards/crossed.

    Ended up being the phone companies problem.. I guess they were working on a switch/box one day down the street and the guy hooked my line back up wrong.. (they were upgrading the wiring or something)

    So after the phone company went back out and fixed my line.. it ran fine again.. very aggrivating.. went on for a few months..

    So moral of the story? If you find nothing wrong with your PC.. try to make sure the line is up to stuff.. (listen for static is a real good way, the static will kick you off)
     
  10. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    Have you gone under tools/internet options/connections/settings then the following: advanced/advanced dial-up/disconnect (uncheck these) and properties/options/idle time before hang up (set to never)?

    Also you might want to suggest that they also may want to check into the windows update and make certain all their drivers and patches are current. The other things to check for is maybe upgrade their ram (assuming they are running the original amount of 128 mb or less especially if it's an integrated board), modem (check the sunday paper half the times after rebate these are about $10 or free), and worse comes to worse change ISPs (amazing how may of these will bump you, I'd recommend checking freedomlist.com for some cheap dialup providers).
     

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