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Win98 SE loses net connection when idle

By NetCablesPlus
Feb 27, 2009
  1. Whoo boy. A relative has a Win98SE machine that had been sitting unused for many years. It boots up fine, reasonable performance, etc. It is connected to a router via an Ethernet cable (brand new). He can get on the Internet and as long as he is active on it, he stays connected to that page (whether it is a game or email or whatever). However, if he walks away from the machine he loses his Internet connection and has to reboot the machine to get it back. Also, if he stays on one page for a while it will work fine (even gaming) but when he tries to navigate to another website or web page, he has lost his connection and he has to re-boot the machine. My first thoughts were his screensaver and/or his Power Saving feature, but they were turned off already. Any thoughts as to what else may be causing this problem?
     
  2. jdillman1502

    jdillman1502 TS Enthusiast Posts: 120

    Yeah... upgrade :haha:
     
  3. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    Unfortunately, that is not an option right now. Any helpful advice out there?
     
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    If this is a Dial-Up connection

    Open Internet Explorer

    Click on Tools on the menu bar (or press ALT to see the menu bar above IE6)
    Click on Internet Options...
    Click on Connections tab
    Click on Settings button

    * Click the Advanced button (near the Password field)
    The following Window will open:
    [​IMG]
    Untick both boxes
    Ok

    ----------------------------

    FYI

    * For Windows ME
    Click the Properties button near the Username field.

    * Windows XP
    Click the Properties button near the Password field, then click the Options tab
    ----------------------------

    Here are some more options for advanced users only
    Always make backups of your registry before any change is made

    Start Regedit and got to the following registry key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\RemoteAccess\Profile\
    Now look at the following DWORDS.
    EnableExitDisconnect
    EnableAutodisconnect
    If either one has the data of 00 00 00 00, right click the value and select Modify.
    Change the data to 01 00 00 00.
    Also check this registry key.
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet
    Settings
    Look at the DWORD EnableAutodisconnect
    If this value has the data of 00 00 00 00, change it to 01 00 00 00
    Remember to reboot the computer.

    ----------------------------

    I hope this helps :)
     
  5. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    Hi Kimsland, thank you for the great input. He is not on dial up but is connecting via an Ethernet cable to a router which is connected to a cable modem. Would any of the above tasks be worth doing, anyway?
     
  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    You know I read the ethernet part, but just posted, just in case, ethernet to router to Dial-up or something

    Anyway, search Regedit for: EnableAutodisconnect, or just Autodisconnect
     
  7. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    Okay, will do. Should be able to try this a little later this morning and will report back. Thanks.
     
  8. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    Perhaps a NIC driver update...

    You should have asked this question many years ago when most of the people on this board had actually ran 98 :)
     
  9. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    Thanks again for this help. You guys are amazing.

    KImsland, unfortunately, his enableautodisconnect in the registry already was set to 01 00 00 00.

    SNGX1275, we could not find an update. Pretty old board (1995-ish),

    Any other thoughts? Really appreciate the help.

    JR

    Possble additional symptom of the problem: when re-booting, the Windows login screen comes up. Since this is an old computer that I got from a company that was in bankruptcy back in the mid-1990's, we have no idea what the password is, so we hit Cancel or the Escape key and Win98SE just boots up anyway. However, the user has noticed that if he does not hit Cancel or Escape within about 30 seconds, the login screen grays out and he has to physically click the mouse on the Cancel button as the Escape key will not work. When this graying out of the login box occurs (i.e., he is not quick on the login) it is also a guarantee that he will not be able to connect with the Internet and he will have to reboot. However, if he gets to the login screen before it grays out, he will be able to connect to the Internet and will stay connected until he is inactive on the machine for about 30 seconds.

    I find it interesting that both the graying of the login screen and the website idle time are both about 30 seconds and cause a loss of connection. But I also have no iidea what it means. :)

    Sorry for the long post, but wanted to relay this, as well.
     
  10. jdillman1502

    jdillman1502 TS Enthusiast Posts: 120

    If you are at the Windows 98 logon screen and you forgot your password, here is what to do:

    Press the Esc key at the logon dialog box.
    Open an MS-DOS prompt window and type "dir *.PWL" (without quotes)
    Delete the .PWL file with your name in front of it.
    Restart your computer. When you do, you can enter a new password.

    I know this doesn't really answer the original question, but it should atleast solve the issue with not knowing the password.

    (the upgrade comment was just a joke)
     
  11. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    jdillman, thanks, I will try that next and post results. Thanks again.
     
  12. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    Okay, deleted the password file and he is now logging into Windows at boot up, but it has not solved the network connection loss problem.

    While I could not find an update to the NIC driver, I was thinking of deleting it from Device Manager and then re-booting and having Windows re-install it. I am concerned though (because it has been so long) as to whether Win98SE will just find the original driver and re-install it automatically for me or will I have to come up with a CD or floppy with the actial driver if I do this? It would be worse to delete the driver, have nothing to replace it with and then have no connectivity whatsoever...

    Thanks again for bearing with me with this old, old machine.
     
  13. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    Do you have any other old NICs lying around? It may be worth trying another before you delete the old one (I too would be concerned about Windows finding it..).

    You said you can't find an update to the NIC driver, but can you at least identify what the NIC is and find any driver for it, even if it is the same version you are using now.

    I know 98 will pick up some NICs on its own, but they probably need to be pretty old. For example I have an old D-Link ISA NIC with a 10Mbps ethernet jack and a BNC jack on it, I believe 98 recognizes that on a clean install.
     
  14. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    Final Update: we ended up uninstalling the NIC driver and re-installing one that we downloaded from DLINK. The driver installed fine and is working, but the loss of connectivity problem continued.

    Instead of continuing to waste my time and yours, I broke down and bought him a refurbished Dell for $219. Free shipping, too.

    Anyway, now I only have one last Win98 system in my sphere of influence to worry about. Truly coming to the end of an era. Thanks to all for your help. Much, much appreciated.

    JR
     
  15. jdillman1502

    jdillman1502 TS Enthusiast Posts: 120

    So the "solution" returns to my original comment :p
     
  16. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    Yes, I gave up and took the obvious and least optimal solution. ;-)

    Thanks again to all who helped.
     
  17. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,322   +622

    btw: here's a technique to 'keep the link available': see this
     
  18. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    Thanks jobeard. It would probably need to be done differently on Win98, but it is a good idea, in general. However, at this point I am mostly relieved. Even though the new machine is coming with Vista, which I would not prefer, I am looking forward to having the system restore functionality as a final option the next time he calls with a problem.
     
  19. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,322   +622

    hmm; why do you say so (curious) both ping and *.bat files work on win/98 :)
     
  20. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 228

    It was only because the thread listed different instructions for XP and Vista, so I assumed that they would also be different for Win98.
     
  21. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,322   +622

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