Re: Trying to get a really old computer to connect to the internet.

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Mike Easter, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. Mike Easter

    Mike Easter Guest

    Brian Christiansen wrote:
    > I am helping a gentleman to connect to the internet by dial up. The
    > computer is probably at least 10 years old, and was upgraded probably from
    > windows 98.

    Very likely considering the ram and HP's site.

    > The computer is an HP pavillion 4533, and the processor is 454 mhz, and it
    > has 64M of memory, and XP runs very slowly, in fact, I am kinda surprised it
    > runs at all. The modem card that is in the computer is a combination
    > modem/sound card.

    It would run much better with Win98 than XP.

    This is the hardware at HP's site HP Customer Care
    > HP Pavilion 4533 Desktop PC (US) > Product information -

    They say the audio/modem is - Fax/Data modem - Rockwell Riptide combo
    card (supports V.90 K56 Flex protocols)

    The corresponding W98 and XP audio/modem drivers are described on the
    page you found as

    Conexant/Rockwell/Riptide combination sound and modem cards

    Windows 2000/XP sound and modem driver
    Windows 9x, Me sound and modem driver

    > In the device manager, there is an item called "simple PCI communications
    > controller", which indicates to me that there is not an XP compatible driver
    > for it, at least not on the computer. My first idea was to find and load an
    > XP compatible driver for the device.

    I think the computer would make a better Win98 computer than an XP one.

    The modem is some kind of win-modem for which there are tools to
    determine, but it would be rational to use the HP information.

    > There was a model number on it, but nothing indicating who the manufacturer
    > was (neither a name nor a code that I could find).

    The winmodem identification business is a big deal for people who are
    trying to install linux distributions/distros on old hardware like that,
    so there is a very organized approach to the identification of such old
    modems - and the 'linmodem' (linux for winmodems) approach to this modem
    identification process is not the only one.

    That HP page is helpful but it isn't the only approach either. Generally
    HP and others are using a chipset and a winmodem made by someone else,
    including the drivers for the modem or combo audio/modem card.

    > In thinking about the gentleman's problem I also came up with the following
    > ideas:
    > The "geek" in me says that is a computer that is at least 10 years old and
    > that anything we do is at best patchwork, and that the computer should be
    > replaced. I looked at the HP site, the Dell site , etc., and about the
    > cheapest I can get a new computer (that would run circles around what he has
    > now) would but just about $300. If I go with a refurbished computer, that
    > would still run circles around what he has, I can go even lower, just a
    > little over $100.

    Using an older refurb/ed computer would be more than enough if you go
    the upgrade route.

    Also while you are 'upgrading', depending on the potential connectivity
    of this person, they would be better off with better connectivity than a
    dialup modem.

    I could use a 64 meg computer running Win98 with broadband connectivity
    just fine and be perfectly happy, but I wouldn't accept dialup
    connectivity on a more expensive computer running XP.

    > I would not hesitate suggesting this option if it were a business, but I am
    > a little hesitant about suggesting this to a church that probably has
    > somewhat limited funds. After all they asked for a volunteer (I found this
    > volunteer opportunity on the S. Arizona volunteer page) to help them with
    > teir computer rather than taking it to a shop or simply buying a new
    > computer.

    All we can do is give someone our best advice and tell them how much it
    would cost. You can outline some options considering your willingness to
    work on the problem.

    If you are going to work with just that hardware and no broadband
    connectivity, I would reinstall Win98, ID the winmodem and connect by dialup

    The next most valuable step, but additional cost per month, would be to
    use the same hardware and W98, but connect by broadband. That would be
    my lowest choice. In order to do that, instead of spending any money on
    another dialup modem which would be money poorly spent, you would spend
    the same money or less on an ethernet card (the 4533 doesn't have
    ethernet) and spend money for broadband connectivity.

    That could actually be step2 after step1 above.

    Then the next most valuable step up after the broadband connectivity
    would be your idea for the refurbed computer.

    > I also considered suggesting that we revert the computer back to windows 98
    > or whatever it was upgraded from. The computer will probably run faster,
    > but I cannot be certain if it will solve the problem with the driver. I
    > think it might, but I am not certain of that.

    I strongly support that idea.

    > So I am left with 4 possible solutions:
    > 1. See if audiomodemcombo.exe installs the correct driver-I am just not sure
    > if it will. It appears to start a self extractor for a windows 2000 driver
    > for audio/modem combo for pavillion (that hopefully works with XP as well).
    > I just cannot be certain if it will work until I try to install it on the
    > computer, which I cannot do until at least monday.

    Instead of using the XP driver, you need the Win98 driver.

    > 2. Reverting the computer to windows 98, or whatever it was upgraded from,
    > though I am not really certain if that will solve the modem problem.

    Win98 + the winmodem driver at HP.

    > 3. Trying my luck with the pci modem card.


    > 4. Suggest getting a new computer to replace the old one, and I really do
    > not want to suggest this because of the expense.

    OK. Go in baby steps. Current computer with W98 and dialup, then current
    computer with W98 and broadband, then refurbed computer with broadband.

    > I just am not certain what is the best or even the "least bad" solution.

    Mike Easter
    Mike Easter, Nov 6, 2010
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