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Modem loses connection

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  • Connection
  • AOL
  • Internet Service Providers
  • Modem
  • Components
Last response: in Components
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January 18, 2006 3:46:54 AM

I use AOL (I know. I know. It sucks, just bare with me) for my ISP and I have dial-up.

For the last couple weeks, my modem has been loseing the connection frequently and has to reconnect. Sometimes it'll have to redial 3 times in five minutes. I've tried replacing the modem with a new one and I've even tried to switch to Earthlink instead of AOL, but even Earthlink can't keep the connection long enough to download the software. I thought it was an AOL software issue, but now it seems like some sort of hardware or OS (XP Pro SP2) issue. Any ideas? I don't notice anything when talking on the phone for extended periods. It just seems to be a problem when online.

PS I've had other strange occurrences lately like the mouse pointer disappearing for a minute then returning. The OS freezes for about a minute when starting up. Quite frequently when we close out AOL, we will get a "blue screen of death" which states there was a "INVALID_KERNEL_HANDLE" when it does a dump and reboots.

Thanks for your help!

More about : modem loses connection

January 18, 2006 4:36:09 AM

Config your modem to ping to stay alive. Make sure it is not set to autodisconnect.

Actually, you should confer with the responsable adult in the house and ask if he will just check and tweak it for you.
January 18, 2006 11:51:36 AM

Um, I'm not sure what "responsible adult" means, but I am the caretaker of technology in my household. I've never had to tweak my modems before. They've always just worked. I've been using this modem for a couple of years and it just started happening one day. That doesn't make much sense. No one but me would even know how to change the hardware settings...
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January 18, 2006 1:59:38 PM

Hmm Blue Screen of Death = bad and could mean anything.

Please download memtest86 burn it onto a CDR and boot up:

http://memtest86.com/memtest86-3.2.iso.zip

memtest86 is VERY small, about 2 or 3MB which makes a huge difference on dialup.

It will test your RAM for you along with your motherboard and CPU to a lesser extent.

You might want to run prime95 as well.

Also what kind of anti-virus and anti-spyware protection do you have?

Is your anti-virus and anti-spyware software up to date?

I strongly recommend the following legally free anti-virus programs even if you already have anti-virus protection:

http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/clamwin/clamwin-0.88...

http://free.grisoft.com/softw/70free/setup/avg71free_37...

For spyware protection I recommend Spybot Search & Destroy and adaware from cnet.com

Do you have all your windows patches? Are you familiar with the super critical windows WMF vulnerability?

Good luck!
January 18, 2006 2:13:38 PM

And I thought the blue screen of death was eliminated in XP. Hmmm.

I use McAfee Antivirus, Ad-Aware, Spybot, Registry Mechanic. I run them regularly and they are up to date.

What about the fact that XP hangs for about 1 minute during start up and sometimes my mouse disappears for 30 seconds or so and then reappears?

Strange stuff...
January 18, 2006 3:12:09 PM

Quote:
And I thought the blue screen of death was eliminated in XP. Hmmm.

I use McAfee Antivirus, Ad-Aware, Spybot, Registry Mechanic. I run them regularly and they are up to date.

What about the fact that XP hangs for about 1 minute during start up and sometimes my mouse disappears for 30 seconds or so and then reappears?

Strange stuff...



The blue screen is still there.

It sounds like XP is doing something very intensive in the background that it hangs for a while.

Not too sure what it's doing tho.

Is your hard drive making any strange noises?

If possible please run memtest and let us know what the results were.

Also clamav and avg are sill very useful and good to have even if you already have McAfee. There are so many threats now that you cannot be careful enough. Just one anti-virus package just doesn't cut it any more.

Do you have a firewall by the way?

Do you have all the windows patches? Including the recent one that was released a week or two ago?

Do you have access to a high speed connection anywhere else where you could download a large CD image to burn?
January 18, 2006 3:41:37 PM

I could download the image here at work, but I don't have a burner. How big is it? If it's less than 4GB I can put it on my IPOD. Or I'll just have to go to the local university and do it there.

No strange noises.

Everything seems to "sound" ok. It just hangs. The light on the front of the case doesn't hardly even flash.

Yes, I use XP's firewall.

No, I turned off my Automatic Update, trying to improve performance. I'll re-enable it when I get home. I have memtest on CD already because I ran it for about 6 hours a couple of weeks ago with no issues.

The only real change I have made recently is adding a BFG 7800GT card. I had concerns because it "required" a 400W PSU, but I am using a 380W (Antec). The word around the forums was that shouldn't cause an issue. I've never had any problems while gaming...

I'll run memtest tonight. How long does it need to run?

Thanks for your input!
January 18, 2006 4:06:53 PM

I was asking because it would be very interesting to see if the same problem occurs under a different operating system. That is why access to a high speed connection is important. Yes the image would fit on your iPOD because it would be 700MB or 3.1GB

Also are you running the latest nVidia driver or the driver that came with the card?

Your 380W ANTEC should be WAY better than most average 400W PSUs out there so my guess is you should be ok.

What are your full system specs btw?

If you want to be really thorough start it up before you go to bed and check it in the morning when you wake up. If your monitor goes to sleep hitting shift should wake it up. Do not hit escape.

Otherwise 4-6 passes should be good.

It sure sounds like windows is chocking on something just don't know what.

Maybe you can hit F8 during boot and select logged boot mode, then check the log created in c: and perhaps post it here or link it from somewhere.

Good luck!

PS Feel free to PM me if you would like to try my crazy idea with a 700MB or 3.1GB ISO or something in between.
January 18, 2006 4:42:25 PM

Did the BSOD start occuring after you installed the new graphics card? BSOD indicates something wrong with the machine. Usually it indicates a hardware problem. You may have to remove everything except for the essentials and see where the problem is. I had a machine on the bench just last week with the same problem and it turns out the new graphics card was not seated all the way. Check that and make sure memory is seated good.
January 18, 2006 4:50:47 PM

But wouldn't that start happening as soon as I installed the video card? I've had it installed for over a month and we've only been having these troubles for the last two weeks or so.
January 19, 2006 12:29:35 PM

Quote:
Also are you running the latest nVidia driver or the driver that came with the card?
-Yes


Quote:
What are your full system specs btw?


Intel 915GEV Mobo
BFG 7800GT
P4 3.0GHZ
2x512 PC5400- Kingston HyperX
BenQ DVD Burner
Pioneer DVD-ROM
Antec 380W PSU
2- WD 120GB SATA HDD
Old 24 Bit SBLive sound Card
Creative v92 Modem
XP Pro SP2

Quote:
If you want to be really thorough start it up before you go to bed and check it in the morning when you wake up. If your monitor goes to sleep hitting shift should wake it up. Do not hit escape.

Otherwise 4-6 passes should be good.
It sure sounds like windows is chocking on something just don't know what.


I tried running Memtest lastnight. I could see it reading the CD and then it would flash something on the screen and reboot. It would repeat this until I took out the CD. I tried changing the Boot Priority between my to CD Drives, but it wouldn't load off of either of them. It has never done this before. I've used memtest once in the past about a month or so ago.
And right before it would reboot I think I could see something on the screen like:

"L1 Cache Unknown
L2 Cache Unknown"

...and then it would reboot.

This is messed up! Now what?
January 19, 2006 8:01:48 PM

Yes, the problem would occur as soon as you installed the new card. I still think you've got a piece of hardware bad or going bad in the machine. The only real way to find out is to narrow it down.
January 20, 2006 12:08:09 PM

Quote:
You might want to run prime95 as well.


I started running Prime95 last night after I still couldn't get memtest to work. How long do you think I should run it for? It's been running for about 8 hours and all the tests have been passed. I also download the free antivirus software and that Knoppix image. I will use those this weekend. Thanks for all of your help!
January 20, 2006 4:40:56 PM

Quote:
You might want to run prime95 as well.


I started running Prime95 last night after I still couldn't get memtest to work. How long do you think I should run it for? It's been running for about 8 hours and all the tests have been passed. I also download the free antivirus software and that Knoppix image. I will use those this weekend. Thanks for all of your help!


It is very odd that memtest86 won't run... hmmm...

You might want to try the installable version of memtest http://memtest86.com/memt32.zip

8 hours should be good.

You are welcome :D  Let me know if you have any Knoppix questions!
January 20, 2006 5:18:10 PM

I just checked and Prime95 ran for 13 hours with no errors. I downloaded memtest and will give that a shot. Also, it seems we may be having issues with our phone lines. We've gotten disconnected while talking on the phone a couple of times in the last 24 hours. Looks like it could be a combination of hardware and phoneline problems...
January 20, 2006 5:41:10 PM

Well there have been several storms in the area recently. So perhaps the phone company is having technical difficulties.

I suspect your phone line is experiencing problems which would explain the modem disconnects, however your computer appears to be having problems of it's own unrelated to the modem issues.

Have there been any power disruptions in your area recently?

Any lightning?
January 20, 2006 5:50:30 PM

There were thunderstorms a while back. There was some instances of lightning but none which struck that I am aware of. I have a pretty expense surge protector also, but I don't know if that helps protect against lightenening. I'm in the very SW tip of Indiana. The snow almost always misses us. Yeah, I'd agree though. Sounds like phone lines and PC problems.
January 20, 2006 8:31:57 PM

Quote:
There were thunderstorms a while back. There was some instances of lightning but none which struck that I am aware of. I have a pretty expense surge protector also, but I don't know if that helps protect against lightenening. I'm in the very SW tip of Indiana. The snow almost always misses us. Yeah, I'd agree though. Sounds like phone lines and PC problems.



A surge projector can protect against surges however it certainly cannot protect against a direct lightning strike. An indirect lightning hit... maybe... hard to tell.

Is your onboard sound disabled? How about any other onboard devices that you are not using?

Maybe you could unplug your modem and see if that helps. If that doesn't work try removing your sound card as well and give it a shot.

I would also advise you to take a bright flashlight and visually inspect the motherboard for any leaking, bulging or exploded capacitors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague

Hope this helps :-)
January 21, 2006 6:18:39 PM

Well, I ran memtest for 14 hours and received no errors. I found that the onboard audio was enabled. I disabled it, but it didn't change anything. I guess I'll start inspecting the motherboard and other hardware...
January 22, 2006 2:53:42 AM

Well I guess that's good news and bad news :-|

Good news is your RAM seems to be fine :D 

Bad news is we do not know what is causing the problems yet :-(

If you have capacitors which have or about to fail that would explain a lot.

I'm sorry, I think I forgot to ask you if any of components are factory overclocked or if you overclocked any yourself.

Please let us know! Thanks :D 

PS Please post some pix if you can!

PPS Have you been able to try Knoppix yet?
January 23, 2006 11:40:06 AM

The video card - BFG 7800 GT OC - is overclocked from the factory. Other than that, no. I messed with the timing on my memory a while back, but put it back to default since it kept crashing when I altered it.

What would you like pictures of, exactly?

I haven't had a chance to inspect the hardware, yet. I hope to this week.

Thanks.
January 23, 2006 11:58:04 AM

Quote:
The video card - BFG 7800 GT OC - is overclocked from the factory. Other than that, no. I messed with the timing on my memory a while back, but put it back to default since it kept crashing when I altered it.

What would you like pictures of, exactly?

I haven't had a chance to inspect the hardware, yet. I hope to this week.

Thanks.




Hmmm.....

Factory OC components are sometimes unstable. I would suggest downloading rivatuner and setting your VGA card to stock frequencies and see if that improves stability. Also I believe rivatuner allows you to keep an eye out on temperatures as well which would be very useful to know.

I think it's worth a shot!

If your card works properly at stock you can then gradually overclock it 5MHz at a time until you find the maximum frequencies at which it is still stable.

Does your card use 2ns or 1.6ns RAM?

Good luck! :-D
January 23, 2006 12:03:12 PM

Quote:
Does your card use 2ns or 1.6ns RAM?



I'm not sure. I don't think I've heard of that before. I'll have to look.
January 23, 2006 12:08:55 PM

Please check the numbers on the GDDR3 RAM chips and post them here.

Of course that may not be possible if there a heatsink on them.

Is your GDDR3 passively or actively cooled or not cooled at all?



Thanks!

Semper Fi Linux on!
!