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Computer freezes when 2 computers are on network

Posted on 2004-09-05
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Last Modified: 2013-12-07
I've got a small wireless network set up in my home, the main computer (Windows XP) connects directly to a wireless router, and recently I set up an old computer (Windows 98) to connect to the router using a wireless card.

Both computers work fine, except when they try to share an internet connection. While the main computer has yet to have any problems, the old computer freezes up eventually while downloading files of the internet when the other computer is on.

I don't know what's causing this, can anybody help me out?
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Question by:Staticreator
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16 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:jasperomalley
ID: 11984606
The problem never occurs if the XP machine is turned off?
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Author Comment

by:Staticreator
ID: 11984632
> The problem never occurs if the XP machine is turned off?

Yeah
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Expert Comment

by:Catdaddy007
ID: 11984648
The fact that they are sharing an Internet connection, especially through a wireless router, should have very little to do with the Win98 machine locking up.  It is most likely just a coincidence.  Verify that the two machines have different IP addresses when they are on the Internet together.  Is there any host-based firewall software installed on either machine(i.e. Black Ice or ZoneAlarm)?  Check the Windows98 box for adware & spyware using Ad-Aware (www.lavasoftusa.com).  Make sure all machines have the most current windows updates (windowsupdate.microsoft.com).  What type of wireless router are you using?
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Author Comment

by:Staticreator
ID: 11984851
Yes, they have different IP addresses

The XP computer has Norton Internet Security, the 98 computer has nothing, and the router's firewall is disabled

I checked for adware, nothing except tracking cookies.

Yes, both computers are up to date.

The router is a Microsoft Wireless Base Station MN-500. It's also up to date
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Expert Comment

by:Catdaddy007
ID: 11984945
Is the 98 box doing any kind of file/print sharing?  Is the 98 box just hard locking, as in, you're surfing/downlaoding and everything just STOPS; no mouse movements or anything?  Or is there some error that is displayed?  Have you tried taking the wireless issue out of the picture by installing a wired NIC in the 98 box.  
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Author Comment

by:Staticreator
ID: 11984991
Yes I have several shared folders on the 98 computer

Yes, no mouse movement, nothing, the computer completely locks up

The 98 computer is on a different floor, and I don't want to buy a network card that has wires running through my home. I'd just be spending money to fix a problem that I can overcome by simply having one computer on at a time, which is a hassle, but more acceptable for me.
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Expert Comment

by:jasperomalley
ID: 11985289
It's possible Universal Plug-and-Play (UPnP) packets automatically generated by the Windows XP box are confusing the Win98 machine (and by "confusing" I mean "causing the expression of an unhandled exception in the networking code") and locking it up. Try disabling UPnP on the Windows XP machine using Gibson Research Corporation's free "UnPlug n' Pray" utility, found here:

    http://www.grc.com/files/unpnp.exe (more info at http://www.grc.com/unpnp/unpnp.htm)

 If UPnP is already disabled, or disabling it doesn't stop the lockups, try disabling the Norton Internet Security for a while and see if that does the trick (the software may be sending TCP RSET packets to kill the download connection for some reason, and the Win98 machine may not be able to handle this gracefully).

Both of these are just shots in the dark, but they're things I would try myself, based on the fact that the problem only occurs when the XP machine is turned on.
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Accepted Solution

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litomd earned 250 total points
ID: 11985408
I have seen Win 98 boxes freeze for I/O devices/connections not responding, USB devices (scanners, cameras, printers, etc.) when stop responding Win 98 can freeze. Even parallel printers can make the system freeze. In this case what I see is that the Win 98 freezes because the wireless connection does not respond (maybe due to network collisions that can occur in wireless environments). This is what I would do:
1. Try to get the latest wireless card/device (you don't say what you use to connect usb device, pci adapter, pcmcia or other) driver for windows 98. Install and try again. Also, there's usually firmware updates available for these devices (for the router too), try to get the latest.
2. Try to change the wireless frequency channel being used for the connection (to avoid too crowded or noisy channels)
3. Make sure any firewall being used in the XP box includes the Win 98 box's address as part of the local network in order to permit browse master request (which start in the 98 box and may not be permitted by the firewall)
4. Deinstall or unlink network clients and services from the wireless card in the 98, leave only the TCP/IP. This will allow Internet access but prevent other network operations (file and printer sharing), but will isolate the problem.
5. Scan the XP for viruses to make sure viruses that broadcast infecting messages don't try to get to the 98 box.
6. Interchange wireless cards/devices between the XP and the 98 box to make sure they both work fine. If they are the same brand and model one of them can be faulty, if they are different brands then one can have incompatibility issues with the 98 box.
7. Search behind the router, there may be a firewall, a connections limit, a proxy, whatever, that prevents the Win 98 from connecting.
8. Last. Configure both devices to work in peer to peer mode (not infrastructure) turn off the wireless router and test the peer to peer network to see if freeze occurs.
Hope this helps
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Author Comment

by:Staticreator
ID: 11985410
I disabled the firewall on the XP computer and ran that program you showed me, I had left the 98 computer on after that adware check, and I started up a download, 15 minutes later it froze up...
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Expert Comment

by:Catdaddy007
ID: 11985455
It may sound like a pain, but try to put a wired NIC in the 98 box and and connect it through wired ethernet.  I realize you'd have to physically move the win98 box but I'd like to rule out the physical layer first (as it's usually the easiest to troubleshoot).  If this is not an option, then try to unplug the Internet connection from the Microsoft router.  Copy some files back and forth between the xp home and 98 boxes and see if you can make it lockup.  If it still locks up, try removing any unnecessary protocols from both computers, leaving only TCP/IP (i.e. remove IPX/SPX, NetBEUI, etc).  

Also, is there a 3rd computer you could put on the network in place of the xp home machine to see if a different comptuer still causes the 98 box to lockup; like a neighbor/friends laptop or somethin'?

This is a strange problem and one I have not seen before.  I'm still thinking that it's coincidence that the 98 box locks up when the xp box is on.  I've seen these two play nicely in way too many other scenarios.
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Expert Comment

by:litomd
ID: 11985574
I would also check DNS Hosts files in the machine to see if they have been hijacked. Find hosts.sam and lmhosts.sam files, open then with the notepad and see if entries have been made to fake web sites (a practice usual to adware). Also, check for fake proxy settings in the Internet connection that can prevent browsing (Internet Explorer -> Tools -> Connection -> Lan settings). Otherwise the previous posting from Catdaddy007 seems to be the right solution.
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Expert Comment

by:litomd
ID: 11985624
Ok, I am new... my last post was not meant to this thread... can somebody please delete it? (the one date 09/05/2004 01:20PM PDT) You may remove this too.

Thanks a lot.
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Author Comment

by:Staticreator
ID: 11986338
I went through all of litomd's recommendations, and ended up changing the channel number, and disabled everything except TCP/IP.

To my surprise, the computer didn't crash, so I tried enabling file sharing again and my router suddenly started acting up, intermittently disconnecting from the modem. I unplugged it and plugged it back in.

I disabled everything but TCP/IP again and things seem stable-ish right now, I'm gonna test things out and see if it'll freeze up again.
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Expert Comment

by:litomd
ID: 11986439
It seems like somebody from behind the router detected the "open" file and printer sharing of the Windows 98 and is trying to get to it... some sort of hacker/virus behaviour can cause that... I would use Symantec online tool to see if the computer is subject to hacking...

http://security.symantec.com/default.asp?productid=symhome&langid=ie&venid=sym

Select security scan.

Hope this helps !!
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Expert Comment

by:JohnItem
ID: 11990906


Do you have a wireless mouse, by any chance?

I've seen this time and again with wireless mice interfering.
Try the same setup without a wireless mouse on either PC and see.

Cheers.
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Author Comment

by:Staticreator
ID: 11991301
No, I don't have a wireless mouse, and that Symantec security check tells me both computers aren't vulnerable to hackers.

The computer seems to be running fine, since it's currently on it's longest run ever without freezing up. I'd like to say that I did something that fixed the problem, but I can't even find out, whenever I try to enable file sharing again I can't find any way to actually share folders. The "share" tab in folder properties doesn't show up.

So anyway, since I can find an alternative way to share files I'm satisfied with things. Thanks to everybody that helped out.
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