Troubleshooting Windows 95/98/98 Second Edition Network Connection Problems

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SUMMARY

In a Microsoft Windows 95/98/98 Second Edition network, hardware and software-related problems can cause one or more computers to lose the ability to browse or communicate with other computers. These problems range from no network functionality at all to random error messages when transmitting data across the network.

This article provides troubleshooting steps you can use to diagnose and resolve communication problems in a Windows 95/98 network. Note that troubleshooting communication problems is not always a straight-forward process. If one of the procedures in the "More Information" section does not work, go to the next procedure until the problem is fixed. To increase your knowledge of the major issues and possibly reduce the time it takes to resolve the problem, you may want to read this entire article before you begin to troubleshoot your issue.

MORE INFORMATION

Before You Begin

Before you begin troubleshooting your network connectivity problem, consider the following questions:

  • Has this configuration ever worked before, or did this just start happening? If it just started, what has changed between the time this configuration was working and the time it stopped working?
  • Has new hardware, cabling, or software been added? If this new addition is removed, does the problem go away?
  • Is this problem occurring on one computer, several, or all of them? If the problem is happening on all computers, it may be cabling or connector related. If the problem is happening on only one or a few computers, it may be software or hardware related.
  • Is the connection to the computer active (if the network adapter has transmit/receive data lights, are they blinking)?
IMPORTANT: Before you begin troubleshooting, make backup copies of the following system configuration files:

  • Config.sys
  • Autoexec.bat
  • System.ini
  • Win.ini
For information about how to copy files, click Start, click Help, click the Index tab, type "files" (without quotation marks), and then double- click the "Copying" topic.


Troubleshooting

To troubleshoot network connectivity problems, follow each step, and then attempt to connect to the computer again. If you are still unable to connect to the computer, proceed to the next step.

  1. If you are receiving a network-related error message when you start your computer, query in the Microsoft Knowledge Base for the exact error message. The Microsoft Knowledge Base is available at the following Microsoft Web site:

    http://support.microsoft.com/support
  2. Verify your computer and the computer you are trying to view has file and print sharing installed. To do so, follow these steps on both computers:

    1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
    2. Double-click Network.
    3. Verify that "File and printer sharing for Microsoft Networks" is in the list of installed network components. If it is not installed, continue with step D. If it is installed, continue with step 3.
    4. Click File And Print Sharing.
    5. Click the "I want to be able to give others access to my files" check box to select it, and then click OK.
    6. Click OK, and then restart the computer when you are prompted to do so.
  3. Verify the network adapter settings are correct and that there are no conflicts with other hardware devices. To do so, follow these steps:

    1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
    2. Double-click System, and then click the Device Manager tab.

      If a red "X" is displayed next to the network adapter, enable the network adapter by clicking it, clicking Properties, clicking the Disable In This Hardware Profile check box to clear it, clicking OK, clicking Close, and then restarting your computer if you are prompted to do so.

      If an exclamation point in a yellow circle is displayed next to the network adapter, continue with step D.
    3. Click the network adapter, and then click Properties.
    4. Click the Resources tab. Verify that the interrupt request line (IRQ), input/ouput (I/O) address, direct memory access (DMA), and RAM address settings are correct for your network adapter. To determine if your network adapter is physically configured to use these settings, refer to the documentation included with it.
    5. To change the resource settings, click the Use Automatic Settings check box to clear it.
    6. Specify a different IRQ, DMA channel, I/O address, and/or RAM address for the network adapter. You may need to try several settings if you do not know the settings used by other hardware devices.
    7. Click OK, and then click No when you are prompted to restart your computer.
    8. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Shut Down, and then click OK. Turn off your computer for 10-15 seconds, and then turn it back on.
  4. If you are using Windows 95, skip to step 5. If you are using Windows 98, use the System File Checker tool to verify that no Windows 98 networking files are damaged or replaced. For information about using the System File Checker tool, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    ARTICLE-ID: 185836 TITLE : Description of the System File Checker Tool (Sfc.exe)

    ARTICLE-ID: 129605 TITLE : How to Extract Original Compressed Windows Files

    NOTE: If you apply a fix provided by Microsoft, some networking files may be replaced with updated versions. To prevent further problems from occurring, do not replace these updated files.
  5. If you are using Windows 95, perform the troubleshooting steps in the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base, and then skip to step 6:

    136337 Troubleshooting Windows 95 Startup Problems and Error Messages


    If you are using Windows 98, use the System Configuration Utility to disable all non-essential drivers and programs that may be preventing network drivers from loading properly. To do so, follow these steps:

    1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click System Information.
    2. On the Tools menu, click System Configuration Utility.
    3. On the General tab, click Selective Startup, and then click the following check boxes to clear them:
      • Process Config.sys File
      • Process Autoexec.bat File
      • Process Winstart.bat File
      • Process System.ini File
      • Process Win.ini File
      • Load Startup Group Items


    4. Click OK, and then quit the System Information tool.
    5. Restart the computer.

      Using the System Configuration Utility (Msconfig.exe), you can isolate the specific file or registry entry that is causing the problem after restarting your computer several times. Once the specific file entry that is causing the problem is determined, you should edit the appropriate file (using a text editor such as Notepad) or registry entry (using Registry Editor) to export (for backup purposes) and remove this entry and return the System Configuration Utility to Normal Startup mode.

      For information about clean booting Windows 98 using the System Configuration Utility, please see the Narrowing the Focus section in the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
      ARTICLE-ID: 192926
      TITLE : How to Perform Clean-Boot Troubleshooting for Windows 98
  6. Attempt to view other computers on the network using a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) connection. To do so, follow these steps:

    1. Click Start, and then click Run.
    2. In the Open box type, type the following line

      \\<computername>

      where <computername> is the name of the computer to which you are trying to connect
    3. Click OK.


    If you can view other computers using only a UNC connection, consider the following possible causes:

    - A browse server may not be selected on the network. In a Windows 98 network, a computer that maintains a list of workgroup servers is selected. It can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to establish a browse server. If no browse server exists, you cannot browse computers on the network. Wait a few minutes and then try again.

    - There may be a network cabling problem or a problem with the other computer's network adapter configuration. This can be the case if only the local computer appears in Network Neighborhood.
  7. Test TCP/IP connectivity by attempting to ping several IP addresses such as "127.0.0.1", the network adaptor address, and the gateway address.
  8. Verify that the network cabling and connectors are working properly, and that the network cabling is connected to your computer and the computer to which you are trying to connect.

    If the network cabling is Thin Ethernet, connect two computers with a single cable, T-connectors, and terminators that are known to work properly. If the network cabling is twisted-pair (RJ-45), you must use a hub or concentrator. Windows 98 does not support direct connections of RJ-45 cable between computers. This check isolates possible cabling or connector problems that may not be clearly visible.

    NOTE: It may also be necessary to reroute network cabling away from sources of electrical interference, such as fluorescent lights, radios, and cordless telephones.

    If the network topology is 10Base2 (Thin Ethernet or Thinwire), place a 50-Ohm terminator on the network adapter. If the local computer name now appears in Network Neighborhood but does not appear when the regular cabling is attached, a cabling or connector problem exists. Examples of cabling and connector problems include an electrical short in the cabling, improper termination, and the use of the wrong type of cabling. Ensure that each computer's T-connector is secured on each network adapter, that 50-Ohm terminators are at each end of the network segment, and that RG-58 cabling (not RG-59 or RG-62 cabling) is being used.

    If the local computer does not appear in Network Neighborhood, the problem may be with the local network adapter's hardware or software configuration. To determine if this is the case, refer to "Test the Network Adapter Drivers" section later in this article.
  9. There may be a problem with the network redirector. The following test uses the Windows 98 network components to generate a NetBIOS name conflict on the network (each computer must have a unique computer name on the network). To perform this test, set two computers to use the same computer name and check to see if an error message is generated. If an error message is displayed, the computers are communicating. If no error message occurs, a hardware problem exists on the network.

    To test the network redirector, change the computer name to the name of the computer to which you are trying to connect. To do so, follow these steps:

    1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
    2. Double-click Network.
    3. Click the Identification tab, and then type the name of the computer to which you are trying to connect in the Computer Name box.
    4. Click OK, and then click Yes when you are prompted to restart your computer.

      You should receive the following error message when your computer is starting:
      The following error occurred while loading protocol number 1. Error 38:The computer name you specified is already in use on the network. To specify a different name, double-click the Network icon in Control Panel.
      Using the Client for Microsoft Networks displays of the following error message report :
      The following error occurred while loading protocol number 0. Error 38: The computer name you specified is already in use on the network. To specify a different name, double-click the Network icon in Control Panel. would instead indicate that Win9x Computer Name is identical to a user name account, so a very simple solution to this is to differentiate Computer Name from known user name accounts.
      If you receive the error message, the two computers are communicating.

      If you do not receive the error message, one of the following hardware problems may exist:

      - The network adapter's configuration (hardware, I/O address, IRQ, memory conflict, etc) is incorrect on one or more of the computers. For information about how to change network adapter settings, refer to step 3.

      - One or more of the network adapters is malfunctioning. If your network adapter includes a diagnostic utility, run the utility to determine if the network adapter is functioning properly.

      - There is a problem with the cabling or connectors. This could be an electrical short, interference, or a cable, connector, or terminator that is not the correct specification for your network.

      To troubleshoot electrical shorts and interference problems, either test the cabling with a testing device, or replace it with cables and connectors that are known to work correctly.
    5. Repeat steps A-C, changing the computer name back to its original, unique name in step C.
  10. Remove and reinstall the network adapter drivers. To do so, follow these steps:

    1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
    2. Double-click Network.
    3. In the list of installed network components, click your network adapter, click Remove, click Client For Microsoft Networks, and then click Remove.
    4. Click OK, and then click Yes when you are prompted to restart your computer.
    5. Repeat steps A-B.
    6. On the Configuration tab, click Add.
    7. Click Adapter, and then click Add.
    8. In the Manufactures box, click the network adapter's manufacturer, and then click the appropriate model in the Network Adapters box.
    9. Click OK, click OK again, and then click Yes when you are prompted to restart your computer.

      NOTE: If the network adapter is hardware configurable (uses jumpers or switches), the settings on the network adapter and in Device Manager must match. To determine the settings for the network adapter, refer to the documentation included with the adapter or contact the network adapter's manufacturer.

      If the network adapter is software configurable, you may need to specify a different IRQ, DMA channel, I/O address, or RAM address in Device Manager. For example, some hard disk controllers are configured to use an I/O address of 300h by default, which is also the default for some network adapters. To change the network adapter's resource settings in Device Manager, refer to step 3.
    10. Try to connect to the computer using its UNC name. For information about how to do so, refer to step 6.
    11. If you are unable to connect to the computer using its UNC name, double-click the Network Neighborhood icon on the desktop to see if the local computer is listed.
  11. If you are still unable to view the local computer in Network Neighborhood, there are several other possible causes:

    - The wrong network adapter driver is being used. If the adapter is emulating another adapter (such as the NE2000), it may be necessary to change jumpers or switches on the adapter for the driver to work properly. For more information about configuring the network adapter or obtaining updated drivers, contact the network adapter's manufacturer.

    - The network adapter is in a slot that is not functioning correctly. To verify this, put the network adapter in another slot in the computer or install the network adapter in another computer to determine if the adapter itself is defective.

    - The network adapter is malfunctioning. Try using a different network adapter or run a diagnostic test if one is included with the adapter.

    - The bus speed on the computer is too fast for the network adapter. Most network adapters are designed to work at Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) bus speed, which is 8.33 megahertz (MHz). Setting the bus speed any faster may result in unreliable performance.

    The bus speed setting is usually changed in the computer's CMOS. Try lowering the computer's bus speed if intermittent problems occur.

    - There is a bad or missing connection. Some network adapters, such as the Intel EtherExpress 16, include a utility that checks the integrity of wiring and connectors between two computers. If one of these utilities is available, use it to determine whether or not the two computers are physically connected.
  12. Run a diagnostic test on the network adapter to ensure it is functioning correctly. Some network adapter diagnostic programs can also test communication between computers (this tests the network adapter and cabling). If this test works, Windows 98/95 should also work, provided the correct drivers are being used. If this low-level test does not allow two network adapters to communicate, some type of hardware problem exists with a network adapter, the cabling, or the connectors. Contact your hardware vendor if either the network adapter diagnostic test or the network test fails.

    Windows 98/95 includes the NET DIAG utility, which can be used to perform a low-level communications test between two computers. To perform this test, follow these steps:

    NOTE: Both computers must have the same protocols installed in order for this test to work.

    1. On one computer, click Start, point to Programs, and then click MS- DOS Prompt.
    2. At the command prompt, type "net diag" (without quotation marks) and press ENTER.

      NET DIAG searches for a diagnostics server and should display the following prompt:

      No diagnostic servers were found on the network. Is Microsoft Network Diagnostics currently running on any other computers on the network?
    3. Press N (for No). This causes the computer from which you are running NET DIAG to be a diagnostic server until you press a key.
    4. On another computer, click Start, point to Programs, and then click MS-DOS Prompt.
    5. At the command prompt, type "net diag" (without quotation marks) and press ENTER.

      If a NetBIOS-capable protocol (such as NetBEUI or TCP/IP) and IPX/SPX are both installed, you receive the following prompt:

      IPX and NetBIOS have been detected. Press I to use IPX for diagnostics, N to use NetBIOS, or E to exit this program.
    6. Press I (for IPX) or N (for NetBIOS) to test the network connection using that particular protocol.

      If you are unable to communicate with the diagnostic server using the protocol you chose, try the other protocol.

      If you are able to communicate with the diagnostic server using one protocol but not the other, the network is working properly. For the protocol you are unable to communicate with, verify that it is installed correctly on both computers, and then run NET DIAG again.

      If you are unable to communicate with the diagnostic server using either protocol, run NET DIAG again, but this time reverse the role of each computer.


    If your network adapter is not on the supported network adapter list, you may want to contact the network adapter manufacturer for information about the correct emulation or for an updated network adapter driver. The manufacturer may also have information about jumpers and switches that may need to be reconfigured for a particular emulation mode (for example, NE2000 emulation).

    For more information about diagnosing problems with your network adapter or cabling, contact the hardware vendor.

Properties

Article ID: 192534 - Last Review: January 23, 2007 - Revision: 1.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 95
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
Keywords: 
kbinfo kbnetwork kbtshoot KB192534

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