How to Really Install a Modem

By: Stephen Bucaro

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How to Really Install a Modem

By Stephen Bucaro

Most motherboards now come with sound, video, and even
networking built-in. But a modem is not usually built-in
to a motherboard. This is because modem technology has
been changing very rapidly. It is preferable to have the
modem on an expansion card.

Most modem manuals assume that Plug and Play will
automatically install the modem correctly, but this is
rarely the case. Use the four steps described below to
properly install a modem.

Step 1. Download the latest driver from the manufacturer's
Web site.

Most modems come with an Installation CD. The problem with
this is that the CD contains drivers for eight different
operating systems and it usually tries to install the
wrong one. Even if it does install the correct driver, its
usually not the latest version. Also, the CD usually comes
with several non-essential programs (AOL etc.) that the
modem company earns commission on when you install them.

I admit, its difficult to download a driver before you
install the modem. You may be replacing an old modem, or
you may have another computer, or a friend with a computer
with access to the Web.

Preferably, do this before you purchase the new modem.
That way you can see what kind of driver and technical
support is available for the modem before you shell out
the cash.

Step 2. If you are replacing a modem, remove the old modem.

First physically open the case and remove the old modem.
Then start the computer and remove the modem in Control

If the system is Windows 2000 you will have to
login as Administrator. Open the Modems utility, select
the name of the modem on the General tab. Then click on
the Remove button.

Step 3. Install the new modem.

First physically install the new modem. If the system is
Windows 2000 you will have to login as Administrator. Plug
and Play may install the new modem for you, that means it
found an old driver on your system and used that to
install the modem. Or it may start the "Add New Hardware
Wizard". Click on the Cancel button.

The "Add New Hardware Wizard" is rarely able to find the
proper driver for a modem, and when the Wizard appears as
the computer starts, it blocks your access to Explorer, so
you can't use Explorer to locate a driver. Just click on
the Cancel button to close the Wizard.

After Windows starts you can open the "Add New Hardware
Wizard". The Wizard will attempt to detect any new
hardware. Then it will give you the option to "select the
hardware from a list." Choose the option to select from a
list, then click the Next button. In the list select
"modem" and click on the Next button. Then it will give
you the option to let windows "try to detect your modem"
or "select the modem from a list."

PnP will not be able to detect your modem if it's a model
developed after your Windows installation disc was
mastered. Nor will it appear on the list. Just select the
closest match from the list, then update the driver

If Plug and Play installs old drivers, open the Control
Panel "System" utility. Click on the Device Manager tab
and in the device type list, open the branch for "Modem".
Select the name of the modem and click on the "properties"
button. The modems "Properties" dialog box will open.
Select the "Driver" tab and click on the "Update Driver..."
button. The "Update Driver Wizard" appears. Use the Wizard
to install the new modem driver.

Don't be surprised if the "Update Driver Wizard" updates
the driver by removing the modem and adding it again (with
the new driver).

The modem "driver" will most likely not be a single file.
It might be a group of files with extensions like .vxd,
.exe, .ini, .dll, etc. The list of files is contained in a
text file with the extension .inf. So when you install the
"driver" you are actually reading the files and other
configuration from the .inf file.

Step 4. Don't forget to reconfigure your dial-up connection
with the new modem. If you are a system administrator,
don't forget to see that everyone else's dial-up
connection gets updated as well.

Using the four steps described aboveFree Articles, you can work around
Plug and Play to properly install a modem with the latest
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