Friggin' problems getting my Mom's damn PC to connect to the internet

I just got back from a trip out of town to help my Mom move from Raleigh to Charlotte, and to fix her computer which no longer was connecting to the internet. A hellishly complex week, and the worst of which was nearly everything I tried to do to fix the PC failed.

  1. 1st I uninstalled and re-installed the TCP/IP stack (it’s a Win 98 box). This did not help.

  2. I uninstalled and re-installed the Netzero software. No change.

  3. I played with every setting I could think of, and no dice.

  4. Time to punt. I backed up everything, and used to “QuickRestore” disks to get the machine back into the state it was in when my parents brought it home from store. Went well, until it prompted us for the Win 98 CD key. My Mom had no idea where this was. I start calling friends for keys, and just before one of them was about to figure out how to extract the key from her PC, my mom found the Win98 manual with her key.

  5. Time to install Netzero. I conveniently downloaded and burned Netzero (and other software) onto a CD that I brought with me. I put the CD in, and it cannot be read. Shit.

  6. No problem, I think. My Dad had brought home a NetZero CD some time ago. I’ll use that, and although old once it connects it will update itself. Well, it’s so damn old that all the numbers it tries are out of service.

  7. No problem, I think. We’ll go to the library the next day and download it to a floppy. First we try to use my Dad’s card, but apparently it expired when he did.

  8. No problem, I think. We just get a card for my Mom and log on. I go to, and try to download the software. It keeps failing and timing out.

  9. No problem, I think. I Google search for the filename, and find about 5 or 6 other sites with the NetZero.exe file I need. But they all fail too. I realize the library system is likely blocking .exe downloads as a virus protections.

  10. No problem, I think. I’ll email a bunch of friends, and they can send me the file zipped. This was a flawed idea from the beginning; of course I would have needed to download the unzipping software, which is a .exe file. And on top of it, the one friend who sent it to me sent it to me in the original .exe format. In retrospect, a simple renaming of the extension would have been the way to go.

  11. No problem, I think. I’ll access the CD I brought here (I had already started suspected the problem was my Mom’s PC’s disc drive; in fact I verified it can’t read Imation CDs for some reason.) So, I put the CD in and go to load up Windows Explorer. But they blocked that as well.

  12. No problem, I think. I’ll type file:///d:/ into the address field in IE, and access it that way. I try it, but appeared to be blocked.

  13. At this point, I’m ready to stand up scream profanities at the top of my lungs. Since they frown upon that in the library, I think a bit. I see that they have Netscape on the machine; I load it up, and find they didn’t or couldn’t block the file:///d:/ deal, and I access the disc that way. Finally.


Hey, my computer connected to the internet in five minutes.

Did you get the cables mixed up rjung? Mine took less. :stuck_out_tongue:

Revtim - did you close the fucking* cd? You could always get your friend to turn the .zip into a self-extracting archive.

Gratuitous swearing added for extra Pittness value

You might be on to something there Nanoda, I probably didn’t close it. It’s possible that by pure coincidence I didn’t close only the Imations.

But the self-extracting archive would not have worked, since I couldn’t download .exe files.

I counted the time from haulin’ the box into the house, unpacking it, setting it up, getting connected, and having a can of Coke. :wink:

Oh, that is awful.

I spent a day trying to find a video driver for this old crappy Dell that I got off of eBay. I wanted to do a dual boot on it. (Dual boot has been so easy for ages on the Mac, why is it such a pain on the PC? Oh wait–don’t answer that!) Anyway, the video driver was built-in to XP, but not in Win98 (the other half of the dual boot). Spent FOREVER finding that damned driver.

One thing that did help in installing Win98 on this old crappy Dell was updating to Windows 98 SE. A lot of things worked better after that update.

By the way, Revtim, do your parents have the SE version of Windows 98? I am not suggesting that it’ll help with your NetZero issues, but updating to SE is always recommended, so I hear, if you’ve got 98.

Good luck to you, and keep us updated on your Netzero torment! And if there is any way we can help, let us know!

yosemitebabe, how does one upgrade to from 98 to 98SE? My home computer is on 98 and some programs only work on 98SE or higher. Couldn’t find a darn thing on Microsofts website, of course…

I’d think you’d have to find a win98se disk to do the upgrade with. I’m sure they’re dirt cheap on Ebay by now.


You probably won’t find the upgrade on MS’s website. y understanding they have officially dropped support of 98. They still have some stuff on the site, but they aren’t adding anything new or updating 98 stuff.

What you need is an upgrade disk from 98 to 98se. You must have Windows 98 running, you run setup from the upgrade disk and it does pretty much a reinstall. You might find one on eBay.

I have been curious about this for some time. If the above is in fact true, could I copy my upgrade disk and share it?

It was my understanding that it was already 98 SE. I did finally get it to work in the final step, by using Netscape to access the CD and “download” Netzero.exe to the floppy I brought. It was pretty smooth sailing from that point on.

I just spend 2 weeks troubleshooting my new computer.

After 2 videocards and about 10 reformats, a second memory test found bad ram. Of course the mem test I ran the first day passed with flying colors.

Yes, I see no reason why not. I bought my update disk from Microsoft (when the updates first came out). I think I paid $20 for that CD–just so I wouldn’t have to download everything. But I didn’t get the impression that I was paying anything special, just for the convenience of having a CD sent to me instead of trying to download all the updates. (I had dial-up at the time and there was no way I was going to download all that stuff!)

So, copy away, I say.

Outside chance, but something similar happened to my parents. Try a virus scan and a reformat and reinstall. Many dialer virii just shred the entire inner workings of Windows. If that doesn’t work, it’s time for the 12 gauge reboot.

Yeah, I did end up doing that. I realize now that I didn’t make clear that the machine was working fine by the time I left.

The two strongest possibilities I know of that might have buggered the machine in first place are a spyware-laden screensaver my Mom downloaded, and she was using Skype ( which doesn’t support Win 98 but seemed to mostly work.