Unable to Install any PCI Modems

Posted on 2003-12-04
Last Modified: 2013-12-27
Ok, guru guys and gals, get ready to put on your thinking caps.
In the past few months I have seen this problem 4-5 times, and each time it occurs I get more and more determined to find an Actual Solution, other than just forgoing the PCI slots and Using a USB or Serial External Modem.

The situation: A PC running Win 98 has its PCI modem Stop Functioning (this particular incident is Win 98 1st ed, and I failed to properly track the prior OS's since I didn't realize it was going to be a recurring problem like this) After Diagnosing that, indeed, the modem is the failing piece of the "I can't get onto the internet" process, I try installing Several different Brands and Models/Chipsets of PCI modems in the system. These attempts will invariably fail, and I have become able to Identify that no PCI modem will work after the first attempt of late, due ro my familiarity with this Situation.

In order to help you out, here are the responses that i get from various Modems:
Conexant Based Modems: Install the Modem Enumerator, sometimes successfully, sometimes with a error loading the drivers. And No other Drivers load, it does not install the wave device..etc.
Intel Based Modems: Only tried the one type, and its an Ambient MD3200 Chipset. These particular modems Detect, and Begin to install, but always Blue Screen, and are not installed upon a reboot.
Pc-Tel chipsets: Just dont even try to install, and forced (add hardware) is no help.

Any thoughts would be Appreciated...
Question by:pcguyfl
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LVL 31

Assisted Solution

rid earned 166 total points
ID: 9877129
The modems you try to install, are they fake ("software") modems, or hardware modems?

Hardware modems will typically add yet another COM port to your system, and they will need a free IRQ line and an I/O address not used by another COM port. Sometimes it is helpful to disable on-board COM port(s) in BIOS setup on the computer, unless you know how to set the resources on the add-on modem (jumpers, setup software etc.) Another possibility is to verify that the on-board COM ports are set to "auto" in BIOS (if applicable) and hope for Plug'nPray to do its magic.

Software modems, well I can only say I'm surprised they get these things sold at all. They're notoriously cranky and they eat processor power.

Perhaps you should do a CMOS reset or even a BIOS upgrade, if possible. A flash is not a universal remedy for diffuse problems, but there may be a problem with the PCI enumeration function (new PCI cards don't get "registered" properly).

Only try a flash if you're absolutely sure you know what you do. A CMOS reset is harmless unless you have made some specialized settings for your hardware.

Assisted Solution

RaxenZ earned 167 total points
ID: 9878941
Now here is a problem I've had myself. It's a very dicey thing these PCI modems and windows 98. Well at least a variant of this problem where the Plug and Play will detect a PCI Communication Device but not a modem.

Many of these modems requre a special driver to let windows 98 know that the device on the PCI slot is a modem.

Another problem could be hardware conflicts. One resource or another that the modem may need could be already in use by another piece of hardware.


May seem a little old but try going through the driver disk for a given modem and checking through the directories for any documentation re anything that should be done or installed *before* the modem drivers.

Hope this helps
- Raxen Z

Accepted Solution

blumbra earned 167 total points
ID: 9891932
Resource sharing is not going to be a problem.  It is a PCI card and resources are not shared the same way.  You may have corrupted operating system files or a driver (or registry) conflict.

In the bios make sure that PnP OS installed is enabled (I've never seen it not enabled, but you never know).

Also, try setting Force Update ESCD/ Reset Config. Data to enabled.  This will reset all IRQ, DMA, I/O info for all PCI, ISA devices.  You do not have to set this back to disabled as it will do it itself after you post.

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LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 9908290
All the modem mentioned are VERY cheap Winmodems, not hareware based modems.

Do you think you will get the same performace from a sub $10 modem as compared to a good hardware modem (which runs in the plus $50 range)

Remember you get what you pay for.

In case you are wanting some more I have a drawer full of "good" winmodems I will let you have for the price of shipping. many of them will still work just fine for a few days or so but each one died or quit working for no real reason (other then junk)
I only replace them with hardware based modems since I will have to stand behind my repair work.

Author Comment

ID: 9942136
Well thanks for the help everyone, all your ideas were great. Well, all except for the derisive and practically insulting answer from rayt333, your opinion about my needs and work ethic, although quite revealing about your level of maturity, was hardly an "Answer" to my question.

Turns Out that the specified modems drivers required Win 98 SE, and simply will not function without the SE upgrade to 98.
LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 9945279
people who buy junk and expect it to run like a high quality modem can't be very smart. The only people I know who runs winmodems are simply too dumb to know there is something better.

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