Help desk

Help desk

Disabling protected mode driver makes floppy work betterQ I am working with a used computer on which Windows 95 was installed over a previous operating system (Windows 3.11 or DOS). The machine works well, except that the 3.5in floppy drive works under DOS but not under Windows. The CMOS settings are correct, and Windows' Device Manager claims that the drive is OK. I've tried deleting the device and letting Windows 95 rediscover it, but this has not helped. Can you suggest a fix?

AThis problem isn't limited to older computers; I recently encountered it on a brand-new IBM ThinkPad with a floppy drive installed in a docking station.

There are two possible Windows problems at work here.

If you can access the drive from DOS but cannot get it to work from Windows, you are probably encountering a well-known hardware timing bug in Windows 95's protected mode floppy disk driver. In this case, the only fix I know of is not to use that driver.

Go to Windows 95's Device Manager (it's invoked via the System applet in the Control Panel folder), expand the item marked Floppy Disk Controllers, and select the entry underneath it that's marked Standard Floppy Disk Controller. Press the Properties button, and when the prop-erty sheet appears, uncheck all the system configurations in the box marked Device usage near the bottom. Then reboot the machine.

This will force Windows 95 to use the tried-and-true real mode BIOS code to access it. Because floppy disks are so slow to begin with, you won't notice a difference in performance. But, because you'll be using the same code you run under DOS instead of Windows 95's protected mode driver, your floppy should work properly.

DUN needs to be told how to dial

QIn Windows' Dial-Up Networking (DUN), I have defined several "connectoids" [icons] so that I can connect to different hosts. Most of them use touch-tone dialling, but one - which I often use from a rural location - needs pulse dialling. However, when I use that connection, the computer always tries to dial using the method I used for my last call. Is there a way to tell DUN to use a specific dialling method for each host? I've upgraded to DUN 1.2, but it doesn't resolve this problem.

AIn Windows 95's Dial-Up Networking, the dialling method (and certain other settings, such as the code to get an outside line from within a PBX) is determined not by the identity of the host you're calling but by the location from which the computer thinks you're dialling. This method is flawed, because the codes you dial - and also the configuration string sent to your modem - may depend on the destination of your call as well as the source. However, it's enough to handle your specific needs. To manage locations, double-click the "connectoid" and press the button marked Dial properties. Create a series of locations that correspond to the phone systems from which you'll be calling, and enter the properties of each. From then on, you'll be able to indicate your location in the Connect to: box each time you move to a different phone system.

Analog modems can't do call waiting

QIs there software or hardware that will allow a user to work remotely via a modem without disabling call waiting? If a call comes in, I would like my computer to notify me and give me the choice of ignoring it or answering it. If I take the call, I would then like to return to using the modem after I'm done. Does anything like this exist?

AUnfortunately, today's analog modem technol- ogy does not make it possible to switch away from a modem call, take a voice call, and then switch back.

As soon as you switched away, the modem at the other end of the connection would detect a loss of carrier and hang up. Something like this would be possible with ISDN, given the proper software at the central office. If the computer were able to drop only one of the two 64Kbit/sec B channels when a voice call came in, the data connection would slow down for the duration of the call but would not be broken.

The phone company, your terminal adapter manufacturer, and your operating system would all have to support such a function; I'm not aware that anyone has been able to get all these pieces together.

Dial-up invisible to ageing eyes

QI just did a full reinstallation of Windows 95 to a bare drive after a crash. When I did, I added the Service Pack and every other fix I ever downloaded, including the version of Dial-Up Networking (1.2). Before the crash, dial-up connections created a window that I could minimise into a button on the Taskbar. But the new window, which notifies me that I've been connected, does not contain a "minimise" button! Instead, clicking on "OK" collapses it into a tiny icon in the Taskbar's "tray". This is cool, but very invisible to these ageing eyes. I don't want to walk away from my computer with a dual-line ISDN connection open accidentally. Is there any way to get back to that nice, visible button?

AMany readers have complained about this misfeature of Microsoft's DUN 1.2.

Unfortunately, there's no way to make the current software display a large button in the Taskbar - or provide any other warning that you're online with the meter running.

If anyone knows of a utility that fixes this problem, please send e-mail and I'll publish a pointer to it.

JetAdmin update

Several readers have asked how best to deal with the network congestion caused by some versions of HP's JetAdmin utility. Rick Iwicki, a technical consultant at Hewlett-Packard, recently sent the following helpful information.

"This problem is related to JetAdmin 2.33, which ships with the Colour LaserJet 5 Version 2.4, is available on our Web site.

Unlike 2.33, 2.4 has an uninstall, and the default method of discovering networked printers does not use broadcast.

So, all JetAdmin users will probably want to download this version."

Rick also mentioned that the older version is not easy to delete from one's system.

He recommends that you upgrade first, then use the uninstaller found in the newer version.

Brett Glass has been working with PCs and networks and fixing their bugs for 15 years. To submit a Help Desk query, send an e-mail to

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