Windows 95 and 98 modem troubleshooting

Updated: 01/24/2018 by Computer Hope

Tip: Before troubleshooting the hardware and software portion of the modem make sure the modem is properly connected.

Check modem in Device Manager

In Device Manager, ensure there are no 'Other' devices listed. If other devices are listed click the + by other devices and remove all peripherals under the category by highlighting and clicking remove. The reason these are removed is because other devices listed within Device Manager cause problems with other working devices such as the modem.

If no other devices are present or they have been removed, click the + next to modem, if not present skip to next paragraph. Ensure that there is only one modem listed beneath modems. If you have more than one modem, remove ALL modems listed under this category and reboot the computer. If you have the correct modem listed under modems ensure that there are no ! (conflicts) or X (disabled devices).

Verify the correct ports are listed. Verify beneath ports that the correct communication port is installed in the computer. To verify, click the + next to Ports (COM & LPT) and verify at least COM1 is listed.

If Communications Port (COM1) is not present, install the Communications Port.

If the modem is present within Device Manager but has a conflict, refer to the Device Manager page for information on how to resolve that conflict.

If each of the above steps appear to be fine, continue to the next paragraph. If you have removed or made any modifications, reboot the computer to allow Windows to reinitialize the devices.

Run more info on the modem

Before attempting the below recommendations, ensure that all of the above steps have been completed or verified.

If Device Manager appears to be ok, run 'More Info' on the modem by clicking Start, Settings, Control Panel. In the Control Panel, double-click on modems.

In modems, click the Diagnostics tab.

In the Diagnostics tab first ensure that the modem is installed on the correct port. If this appears to be correct, highlight the port the modem is currently installed on and click the 'More Info...' button.

Modem properties

This should bring up a screen giving additional information about the computer's modem (you should see several ATI command and responses). If you can bring this up, continue to the next section.

Tip: If you receive an error message, or you cannot see the commands and responses, try closing any other programs that are running. If you press and hold your Ctrl, Alt, and Del keys on the keyboard, you can access the Task Manager. In Task Manager, under the Applications tab, you can highlight individual applications by clicking on their names, and close them using the End Task button. Close everything except Explorer and systray before proceeding.

Once other programs have been closed, run 'More Info...' again. If this resolves your issue, it's a good possibility you have an application in the background causing your modem not to dial out. Prevent this program from loading. Usually, programs that cause this issue is programs such as a faxing software, or other communications software.

If you continue to get the same problem or error messages, go back into Device Manager, remove all modems, and reboot the computer. If this reinstalls your modem automatically, run more info and see if this resolves the problem. If this does not resolve your issue, verify within CMOS setup that your communications or COM ports are correctly setup and not disabled. Finally, if you are continuing to get the same issues, we recommend contacting your computer or modem manufacturer for additional support or replacement.

Everything above appears to work or looks ok but modem does not dial

If you can run more info successfully but are still having difficulties connecting to your ISP (Internet service provider), ensure that call waiting is not enabled on the computer.

Finally, to test the modem you can connect to a local or long distance BBS. To do this follow the instructions below.

  1. Click Start, Programs, Accessories, Hyper Terminal
    or
    Start, Programs, Accessories, Communications, Hyper Terminal.
  2. In the Hyper Terminal window, double-click Hypertrm.
  3. As the name type test and click ok.
  4. Enter the BBS area code if long distance and phone number.
  5. Click dial to dial the BBS.

If you are unable to connect to a BBS, we recommend contacting your computer or modem manufacturer.

Additional information