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The Holmes Page THE SOAP BOX 1997/01/29



1997/01/29: Modem Trouble Under Win95   I often develop DOS applications while running in Windows. Yeah, that's right: DOS apps. I can create a "virtual network" by running multiple DOS boxes. This has always worked very well for me. 
Many people are unaware that Win3.x was a good multitasking OS. In particular, it performed pre-emptive multitasking of DOS boxes, although genuine Windows apps were "only" cooperatively multitasked. Windows 95, of course, handles DOS boxes even better. DOS programs rarely cause Win95 itself to crash. I said "rarely", not "never". 
I was developing a DOS communications application, when something funny happened. The program could not open the communications port. I don't know what I did to trigger the problem, but I do know that I spent two hours rebooting and generally "mucking" around trying to fix it. Windows 95 programs were able to access the port, and DOS programs worked before running Windows, but not in a DOS box. 
Also, the Windows programs (in particular my Dial-Up Internet connection) would not accept modem commands. Normally, I run with the modem speaker off (ATM0), but this was having no effect. The modem was squawking at me for the duration of the call. At first, I suspected a modem failure because I have had trouble with line hits before. Fried a couple of modems during a lightning storm, in fact. Another possibility was that the software drivers were corrupt, so I removed and re-installed the COM port driver. That didn't fix it. 
Well, as it turned out I actually had to remove the modem completely from the Control Panel, and then reinstall it and the drivers from scratch. This properly re-established the "connection" to the modem, and the clouds cleared from above my head, the sun shone again, and all was good.

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