Internet connection being lost

An acquaintance of mine is having the following problem.  She is using Windows 2000 I think (either that or XP) and mainly wants the connection to play EverQuest (a MMPORG).  Here's her description.

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Problem: When i log onto the internet i can only do so once before i have to reset my pc otherwise it just doesn't detect the modem. And when i do log on i can only stay on for a short while before i get disconnected. Usually, the connection icon stays on the task bar, but it is dark signalling no data communication out or in.  As i said, i then have to reset my pc before i can log on again.

I have tried a new modem, bought it actually. Tried new video drivers, the latest, the one recommended by SonyEQ, and the oldest ones i could get, as advised by a tech.

If i log onto EQ i select my char and then get black screen and "you have been disconnected". Sometimes i get onto game world, and immediately the lag bar climbs towards 100% and then i get black screen and "You have been disconnected". I then have to restart my pc.

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I already suggested new modem, drivers, none worked.  I suggested maybe it was a virus, a worm of some sort, she completely reformatted her hard drive but the problems still continue.

Can anybody else think of anything?
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pentapodAsked:
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DigitalXtremeConnect With a Mentor Commented:
question PAQ'ed and points refunded

DigitalXtreme
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ridCommented:
I can think of a few things; let's see if they are relevant:

Can she, ever, get any meaningful internet connection going, like browsing or using e-mail, or even pinging a remote host?

What programs/processes are running when connection is established and then dies? (What could possibly block the modem?) Is the modem an ordinary serial port modem or an internal, or even USB?

Has the issue been taken up with the ISP? The response?

Regards
/RID
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magarityCommented:
"An acquaintance of mine is having the following problem ... wants the connection to play EverQuest ...  i get black screen and "You have been disconnected". I then have to restart my pc."

Stonewall finding a solution.  Friends don't let friends use drugs.
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ridCommented:
Pardon??
/RID
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pentapodAuthor Commented:
1.  Can she, ever, get any meaningful internet connection going, like browsing or using e-mail, or even
pinging a remote host?

Yes - she seems to connect initially, otherwise she would not pass the patch and login process in Everquest.  And she can browse to web sites.  However, after a short time (20 mins or less) the connection seems to be lost, though her computer does not recognise it's been disconnected.  The connection icon in the taskbar stops blinking and no data is sent or received.  I've asked her to try pinging google when this happens to see if she can still resolve the address but I suspect the answer will be no.

2. What programs/processes are running when connection is established and then dies? (What could possibly
block the modem?)

Seems to be nothing out of the ordinary, I've asked her to confirm though.  After she reformatted the HDD it should definitely have been clean.

3.  Is the modem an ordinary serial port modem or an internal, or even USB?

External serial port.  I've asked her for the make/model, but I know she's tried two.

4.

Has the issue been taken up with the ISP? The response?

Checking this one.

5.  "Friends don't let friends use drugs" ... ROFL!  Too late!  For both her and me ....  lol ... Magarity is a wise one.
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ridCommented:
If this is an external modem, it should be possible to observe the indicator lights. When the connection "dies", does the modem hang up? Any other change in status?

/RID
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Kyle SchroederEndpoint EngineerCommented:
Maybe try adjusting the port settings for the COM port the modem is on in the Device manager (System control panel).  Try decreasing the buffer levels, adjusting flow control settings, etc.  Also ensure only one driver is installed in Device Manager (from Safe Mode, check the Modems branch).  Tried updated drivers?  What models are the modems?

-dog*
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mattjsimpsCommented:
i had a similar problem once when using an external (moterola) modem. Whenever a connection got dropped, i used to have to restart my computer.

does your friend get any error messages? particulary in rnaapp?

does she only have one harddrive? and are there any partions on it? have they all been formatted?

what software was loaded on after the reformat? try it again with only the neccesary drivers and the game.

does it only drop the connection when she is playing the game?, or will it drop it at other times as well?

try another ISP, any one will do (except aol!!). just use a free trial disk or something.
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Kyle SchroederEndpoint EngineerCommented:
Also make sure that you friend has run Windows Update to update her system to the latest patches from Microsoft, especially Service Pack 2 and any critical updates.  Apply SP2 first, then rerun Windows Update.

-dog*
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pentapodAuthor Commented:
Correction & updates from the friend:

"I have two modems, both have same problem which may make it not modem. One internal modem, one external (USB). internal is one i used for years and did well on EQ, stopped when i installed new graphics card and the BIG patch came out. Bought new modem (USB). Same as internal. maybe port problem."

The modem does not appear to hang up when the connection drops, and the connection icon remains on the taskbar.

Using a laptop with the same ISP seems to be OK, she doesn't have the same loss of connection problems, so presumably not the ISP.

She CAN ping Google after connecting to the ISP, so an initial connection is definitely made.  It loses connection later.

She is using Win XP Professional.

The connection will drop whether or not she tries to play EQ, doesn't seem to be EQ-specific.

She did try new drivers.

I will check with her:  whether rnaapp hangs, whether she patched Windows, how many HDD she has and if all formatted, playing with COM port settings.  (What patch should she be at with WinXP?  I'm not familiar with XP.)
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mattjsimpsCommented:
try uninstalling EQ, and see if the problem reoccurs.

You say the problem started after the new graphics card was installed? is there a conflict? unlikly i know, as neither modem works.

try changing to a differnet graphics card and see if it works then. (make sure she completly uninstalls the drivers.)
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KestrelFVCommented:
I have not installed EQ yet since i formatted my HDD and installed WinXPPro. I have one HD, no partitions. Rnaapp does come on, and if i delete it after being on the internet it sometimes lets me log back on w/o rebooting.

I am unable to patche windows as my connection never lasts long enough to download the patch and download accelerator does not seem to work for windows patches so i cannot use the resume feature.

Will try using old video card tonight when i get home.

In device manager it says i am using 2 COM ports, COM 1 and COM 3. COM 3 is used by the printer and i don't know what COM 1 is used by. My modem is used by COM 4, but it does not display on device manager. Should i try and change modem to work from COM 1 the communications COM port? Is that possible? Or is there some way to find out what is using COM 1 (maybe my internal modem? should i remove it rather than just have it disabled?)

Thanks for all your help, friends. XX
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ridCommented:
I'd recommend removing the modem. Check BIOS settings for the com ports. Enabled and "Auto" is normally a good setting, otherwise the COM1 is usually at I/O 3F8h and COM2 at 2F8h, using IRQ 4 and 3, respectively. Check device manager for conflicts. Perhaps removing the ports and letting windows re-detsct them can help.

Do you actually use a serial printer?

Regards
/RID
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KestrelFVCommented:
Yes. I've had this comp for about 2 or 3 years. ANd the printer was from the previous computer. Is it safe for me to mess with BIOS? I know almost nothing about it. There are no conflicts showing. This is driving me mad.
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ridCommented:
Well, depending on the intensity of the "messing", it can be safe or unsafe...

I think it would be interesting to know what processes are running at the time, when the connection dies.

It would also be interesting to know your hardware situation re the COM ports. Do you have additional serial ports in your system? (COM4)

In this situation I would recommend:
1) remove the internal modem.
2) check BIOS settings for the on-board COM ports. Set them to COM1 and COM2 respectively.
3) remove additional ports if they are not used
4) remove serial ports in device manager and let windows re-detect them.
5) check that printer port is correctly set in ControlPanel - Printers' properties.
6) re-install the modem on the other COM port
7) try to find out if any other hardware (NIC etc) wants to use an IRQ used by COM ports
8) Eliminate any software that may want to connect to the internet automatically (e-mail clients using automatic check-mail, spyware etc).

Possibly some of the above suggestions may be of assistance.
Regards
/RID
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ridCommented:
Re messing with BIOS:
Under normal conditions, changing the settings for the COM ports should be quite safe. Some confusion on the part of your O/S may occur, but that shouldn't be too difficult to sort out. If you feel insecure about a change you've made, you can always do an exit without saving, and things will remain as they were.

Regards
/RID
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KestrelFVCommented:
I'll try that when i get home. Thanks RID. I appreciate all the help.

Kestrel
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pentapodAuthor Commented:
I'm increasing the number of points to 500 ... thanks for all your help (yes Kestrel is the friend in question, I thought it would be faster for her to come here directly and answer!)  Fingers crossed for ya, Kessy.
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pentapodAuthor Commented:
Alas, none of the above suggestions have worked... Kestrel has purchased another computer, which is not having these problems.  Puzzling.
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Kyle SchroederEndpoint EngineerCommented:
pentapod and KestrelFV:

Sorry we couldn't help you resolve your problem.  Since we were unable to help you fix it, please post a 0 point question in the Community Support TA (http://www.experts-exchange.com/commspt/) and ask them to reduce the points in this question to 0 and move it to the PAQ (Previously Answered Questions).  You won't lose any points, and the knowledge in this article will be archived.

Thanks!

-dog*
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