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Errors trying to use dialup to connect to MSN

Posted on 2004-10-10
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Last Modified: 2013-12-29
Hello,

I have a machine that is running windows 98 and am having troubles connecting to my ISP which is MSN.  Originally when I tried to dial out it gave me the error: 621 - Cannot open the phone book file.  I upgraded MSN and still received the same error.  I removed the dialup adaptor and then reinstalled it and tried again and this time I did not get the error and the modem would dial out.  The problem now is that the modem will never connect.  I have tried to dial multiple numbers for MSN with no success.  It dials, acts like it is going to connect but just repeats the handshake over and over again until it finally drops out.  I don't know if this is a problem with the modem or a problem with Win 98 after I removed and reinstalled the dialup adapter.
The modem is a US Robotics 56k eternal fax modem.
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Question by:LiquidHappyRDM
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 12273836
I've never seen a 621 "Cannot open phone book file" error in Windows 98.  Windows NT, 2000 and XP Dial-Up networking use what is known as a "phone book" which should normally be:

c:\windows\system32\RAS\rasphone.pbk

There is something really strange going on there, because Windows 98 Dial-Up Networking does NOT use or require such a file, and rasphone.pbk should not normally exist on a Windows 98 computer.

Is this a Dual-Boot computer where you have the option to boot into Windows NT/2000/XP  OR Windows 98?
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Author Comment

by:LiquidHappyRDM
ID: 12273846
Nope it isn't a dual boot computer.  Seems like removing and reinstalling the dialup adaptor fixed that problem though (at least I think).  I am wondering now if the modem is not bad but that would be a strange coincidence with the OS having those problems as well.  I ran modem diagnostics and everything comes back green light but it still will not complete the connection with MSN.....constantly restarts handshakes until it times out.
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BillDL earned 1500 total points
ID: 12273866
There are a few possibilities that I would consider here:

1. You have installed an updated version of Dial-Up Networking that is not intended for Windows 98.

2. You have installed a driver file for the modem that is not intended for Windows 98.

3. You have somehow applied a Windows update designed for another operating system that shouldn't have been able to install.

Try downloading and installing Dial-Up Networking version 1.4.  Win98 installs version 1.2 or 3, but 1.4 IS intended for Windows 98 and Windows 98SE:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q285189

http://download.microsoft.com/download/win98/Update/17648/W98/EN-US/dun14-98.exe  (Right-Click > "Save TARGET As" > Save wherever you want and install while offline).

Control Panel > Internet Options > "Connections" tab > "Always dial my default connection" > check this option.

Click the "Dial Up Connection" shown in the field and then click the "Settings" button.
"Do not allow internet programs to use this connection" - uncheck.
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by:BillDL
ID: 12273870
Sorry, didn't refresh in time to catch your feedback, but have a look at those 2 settings mentioned at the end of the comment.
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 12273883
I assume that you have verified the numbers that relate to your area?

http://support.msn.com/accessnumbers.aspx
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 12273891
And checked the current "Network Status":

http://support.msn.com/networkstatus.aspx

It could be down, which could be complicating things.  It isn't unknown.
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by:BillDL
ID: 12273941
I can't get into the members pages where I assume the dial-up settings will be listed in the support or help area.  I suggest that you run through these again and double-check them.

Do you have a CD with the settings shown in help pages?
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Author Comment

by:LiquidHappyRDM
ID: 12275785
I will check and install dial up networking if it isn't 1.4.  And I will check those other settings that you mentioned.  Another thing I noticed is that if I try to search for a list of connection numbers on MSN using the explorer software it gives me error 650: can't connect to dial up networking server.  And it just gives me a default list of access numbers.  I would think that the access numbers are correct because they pick up.  I'll try what you suggested and let you know.
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 12276901
There are some viruses and other pests that deliberately stop you from connecting to Microsoft and other sites in an effort to prevent you from getting the right fixes.

When did you last run a full virus scan?

Are you familiar with the use of Adaware and HiJack This programs that can identify rogue software and settings on your computer?

In the meantime, see if you can locate the file C:\windows\hosts.  It is a hidden file with no file extension, so it will display the windows flag icon.  It shouldn't be confused with the other "hosts.sam" file that will probably be in there.

Rename the hosts file hosts.old and then see what happens.  You don't actually need the hosts file, and it can be a nuisance when you get a homepage hijacking, trojan, virus, or similar and it writes new entries into that file.
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Expert Comment

by:caza13
ID: 12283992
Here is a link to another question concerning modem problems where you might find some good ideas:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/Win98/Q_20895034.html
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Author Comment

by:LiquidHappyRDM
ID: 12319917
Well it was actually a combination of 2 things.  I uninstalled dial-up networking and reinstalled it and installed dial-up networking 1.4.  It still did not work after that so I tried another modem again and this time it worked.  Seems like there was a problem with the modem and dial-up networking!
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 12325857
Thank you, LiquidHappyRDM.  It could be that the particular modem requires what's referred to as an Init String.  See here http://www.56k.com/inits/iniwhat.shtml.

Thankfully you have a functional dialup now though, and hopefully the modem wasn't too expensive.  They are actually pretty cheap now.  I've got 2 PC's here that successfully use those "brown box specials" from the computer warehouse that buys in bulk.  They cost me 7.99 British Pounds each, which is ridiculously cheap, but doesn't say much for the wages of the people who built and packaged them.  Probably less stringent quality control % or rejects on those "specials" and maybe I got lucky.

Regards
Bill
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