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Resolving Dial-up Connection Problems (Windows 8)

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This document applies to HP computers with Microsoft Windows 8.
This document contains solutions for most common problems encountered with dial-up modems. Connection problems might result from poor sound quality over the phone line, bad cable connections (bent cables or pins), high call volumes at the Internet Service Provider, or modem drivers and software that are incorrectly configured. This document can help resolve most of these types of problems. Read and respond to each step until a resolution to your problem is found.
NOTE:Dial-up modems are not installed on all computers. If a dial-up modem is not installed on your computer, you can connect a modem using a USB cable or you can install a modem card.
Due to the nature of troubleshooting modem connections, it is a good idea to read this entire document first before attempting to troubleshoot the modem connection. It might also be a good idea to print this document for reference while troubleshooting.
NOTE: If you are not using the latest version of Windows 8, some graphics and information in this document may vary. You can get the latest version from the Microsoft Store.

Before troubleshooting dial-up connection problems in Windows 8

Check the following items before troubleshooting dial-up connection problems:
  • To prepare Windows for troubleshooting and to resolve most problems related to Internet browsing, reset Internet settings as follows:
    1. Close any open Internet Explorer windows.
    2. From the Start screen, type control panel to open the Search charm, and then select Control Panel from the search results.
      Figure 1: Control Panel
      Control Panel
    3. Click Network and Internet, and then click Internet Options.
      Figure 2: Internet Options
      Image of the Network and Internet  screen with Internet Options highlighted.
      An Internet Properties window opens.
    4. Click the Advanced tab, and then click the Reset button.
      Figure 3: Reset button on the Advanced tab of Internet Properties
      Reset button on the Advanced tab of Internet Properties
      A Reset Internet Explorer Settings window opens.
    5. Read the information on the screen, and then click Reset.
      Figure 4: Reset Internet Explorer Settings
      Reset Internet Explorer Settings window
    6. After Windows resets the Internet Explorer setting, click Close.
  • Make sure that the telephone cord is connected to the RJ11 port of the modem and not the RJ45 port of the network card. Try connecting again if the telephone cord was in the wrong connector.
    Figure 5: RJ11 modem connector
  • Make sure that an account is setup with an Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP should have provided critical information needed to setup your account: at least one phone number for access, a password (if required), special software to setup the account (if used), and special setup information (pop3 email and newsgroup information, encryption or compression settings, and many other settings). The ISP can answer these types of setup questions and help you make the necessary adjustments in Windows if you have not already done so.
  • Find an RJ11 telephone cord that is 6 feet long (1.83m) or less. If possible, find a different cord than the cord that is already connected to the modem.
  • Make sure you have access to an analog telephone line (an RJ11 wall or floor outlet).
  • Find a working analog telephone.

Step 1: Verifying the phone line connection and sound quality are good

Poor phone line quality might be the source of not being able to connect, intermittent disconnects, and slow modem transfer rates. Check to see if the phone line or connection is causing the problem.
NOTE:If you are trying to connect a dial-up modem to a cell phone, a digital line, or VOIP device, this document will not help you as special hardware is normally needed to emulate an analog phone line. Some cell phones can be connected to the computer via a USB cable and appear in Windows as WinModems. When experiencing connection or setup issues with any of these connection types, refer to the cell phone or device manufacturer for support. The manufacturer might suggest setting the dial up modem to ignore dial-tone or setting a time-delay before dial. The manufacturer of the cell phone or device should be able to provide the information that their device requires.
  1. Unplug the phone line from the modem and connect it to a normal analog telephone (not digital). For testing purposes, the telephone cord should connect directly from the telephone connector in the building (wall or floor) to the telephone.
    Figure 6: Direct connection of a phone to the phone line
    Direct connection of a phone to the phone line
    NOTE:How can you tell if your phone system is analog or digital? Look at the back of the telephone connected to it. If the phone has an RJ11 (only two or four contacts), a connection and a Ring Equivalence Number (REN) is listed on a label underneath the phone, the phone and the line are probably analog. If you need to dial a number (usually "9") for an outside line and/or the phone uses a tone for a ring, the phone is probably digital. This article does not address digital phone systems as they are not designed to work with dial-up modems.
  2. For testing purposes, make sure all of the following conditions are true to remove as much line interference as possible:
    • Splitters are removed and the cord plugs directly into the wall outlet.
    • The telephone cord is not wrapped around any other wires or the cord is not wound into a loop.
    • The telephone cord must not be near home stereo speakers and any speakers that are near must not be used while testing.
    • All other telephone devices on the same line (the same phone number) are disconnected. This includes credit card machines, fax machines, DSL modems that use the same phone number as your dial-up number, cordless phones (these should be turned off as well). Devices that are connected on the same line can weaken the REN signal.
  3. Lift the receiver on the telephone and listen.
  4. What is heard? Depending on what can be heard, use the following information to help you troubleshoot the problem:
    • If you hear a dial tone, check the telephone line for quality problems. Dial a friend on the same phone and listen for static, popping noises, or other voices on the line:
      • If you think there is a problem with the sound quality on the phone line, call the telephone company to address the problem. Once the line quality problems are fixed, connect the modem to the wall connector, and try connecting to the Internet again.
      • If you can call someone and talk and hear clearly, do not disconnect the phone. Dial the access number used to connect to the Internet to see if the ISP is responding.
    • If a dial-tone cannot be heard, the phone connector at the wall (or floor) might be bad or the phone service might be out. Check the phone and the phone cord to make sure that they work. Connect the telephone and cord to a wall connection in another room (using the same phone number), and listen again for dial tone:
      • If you cannot hear dial tone from another room, contact your telephone company to re-enable phone service for that line. Once dial tone is available, connect the modem to the wall connector, and try connecting to the Internet again.
      • If a dial tone is heard in another room, repair the wall connector that the modem was using. Once the wall connector is repaired and you can hear a dial tone on the same line, connect the modem to the wall connector, and try connecting to the Internet again.

Step 2: Dialing and listening to the access number

Using a telephone, call the access number used to connect to the Internet and listen to the handset.
What is heard? Depending on what can be heard, use the following information to help troubleshoot the problem:
  • If a person picks up the line, you are using a wrong number or the access number has changed. Find the correct dial-up Internet access number and try again.
  • If the access number continues ringing and never picks up the line, access might be down. Try using another access number if available or call the support number of your ISP to find out if they are experiencing service problems. Try again.
  • If a busy signal is heard, all lines for that number are busy. Try a different access number or continue dialing until the access number picks up the line.
  • If you hear static or popping noises only when dialing this number, the line quality for this access number is bad. Use another access number.
  • If the access number picks up the line and you hear high-pitched squealing tones, the modem should be able to connect to the Internet. End the call and reconnect the modem to the wall connector using the phone cord and try connecting again. If the connection still fails, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Verifying dialing options

Do you need to dial a 9 before placing a call? Are you using call waiting on the same line? Do you normally use a calling card to dial out? If the modem cannot dial a connection to the ISP, or the Internet connection is suddenly lost because another call is coming in on the same line, use the following steps to adjust the dialing rules for the modem. If the modem has successfully connected to the ISP in the past from the same phone number, skip this step.
  1. From the Start screen, type phone and modem to open the Search charm, and then select Phone and Modem from the search results.
    Figure 7: Search results for Phone and Modem
    Search results for Phone and Modem
    If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
    Provide country and area code information if asked.
  2. Select the location and click the Edit button on the Phone and Modem window.
    Figure 8: Phone and Modem window
    Phone and Modem window
  3. Modify the dialing rules.
    Figure 9: Edit Location window
    Edit Location window
    • Select the country/region.
    • Enter the area code or city code.
    • If you have to dial an extra number when calling a number outside of the building, enter the number in the "If you need to dial a number to access an outside line..." field.
    • If necessary, enter a carrier code.
    • To disable call waiting when connecting to the Internet, select To Disable Call Waiting, Dial: and select *70, 1170, or 70# from the drop-down box or type in the number sequence that your phone service requires for disabling call waiting.
    • Select Tone dialing or Pulse dialing, depending on the phone system.
    • If the phone number requires the use of a calling card number to dial out, click the Calling Card tab and fill out the information.
  4. Click OK and try connecting to the Internet again. If the modem still cannot connect to the Internet, continue to the next step to test the modem hardware.

Step 4: Contacting the Internet Service Provider

If the computer is still having issues connecting to the Internet and the modem hardware tests pass, it is possible that the internet connection software that was provided by the ISP is not configured correctly or the settings for the modem are not set to connect to the ISP telephone system. Consult the ISP for help with configuring the settings in Windows and the ISP software.

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