Tedious Windows troubleshooting

You have a broadband or ADSL or DSL or cable or LAN Internet connection, but Outlook Express (or another program) still insists on bringing up a box saying Dial-up Connection whenever you try to send/receive mail. And neither sends nor receives mail.

Three hours spent trying to help a friend sort this out today turned up this as the solution:

Open Outlook and go to TOOLS, then go to ACCOUNTS. In accounts you then go to the MAIL tab and go to the PROPETIES of all the mail accounts listed (individually), on the third page of the properties marked CONECTIONS set the correct connection type. Once this is set for all mail accounts then make sure she no news accounts set up that are asking for a dialer.

(Thanks, Moe.) If you’re connecting through an ADSL modem/router, or probably any setup that has an ethernet/network cable plugged into your PC, then the “correct connection type” would be LAN.

But if that doesn’t work, try these methods as well:

  • Microsoft: Help and Support: Modem Automatically Attempts to Establish a Dial-Up Connection When You Start Your Computer or Start a Program
  • Or: “For OE 6: with Outlook Express running open the ‘Tools’ menu and click on ‘Options’. In the ‘Options’ dialog, click on the ‘Connection’ tab at the top. In the middle of the window you’ll see ‘Internet Connection Settings’ and a ‘Change’ button. Click on the ‘Change’ button and then check the ‘Never Dial a Connection’ choice. Then click ‘Apply’ and then ‘OK’ then ‘OK’.
  • Or: “The next method involves checking your dialup settings under your network configuration. Right click on My Network Places and select Properties. Or go to Start, Settings and Network Connections. Click on the Advanced menu and then Dial-up Preferences. Here you can either uncheck the My Location box or check the Disable autodial while I am logged in box. Un-checking the Always ask me before autodialing my help as well. Click Ok to finish and try opening Internet Explorer again.”

I know it’s a tedious observation, but really, if I had money for all the hours I’ve lost to Microsoft’s incompetence/inefficiency, I’d be quite a lot better off. Computers running Windows are all too often not labour-saving, but labour-creating devices. (Yes, Macs also waste time, sometimes lots of it.)

The evolution of remote access: I also learned today that if you want to remotely login to someone else’s computer, so you can help them directly, you need no longer rely on free, cross-platform technologies like VNC (which in theory allow Mac users like me to assist Windows users). In practice, I spent ages today trying to remotely login to my friend’s PC using Remote Desktop Connection (MS do an OS X client), before getting stumped (I think) by the need to setup port forwarding on her router.

But – there are now web-based remote admin services, one of which is Techinline.net (subscription service, but they offer a fifteen-day free trial). I haven’t tried it out, but as it’s a service that works entirely through browsers, sounds like a whole lot less fuss.

About David

I am an environmental writer, journalist and speaker living in Cape Town, South Africa.
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One Response to Tedious Windows troubleshooting

  1. Eduard says:

    The problem of remotely connecting to a friend’s computer when they are (a) behind a corporate / building firewall, (b) use a service such as 3G where they are not assigned a unique IP (i.e. they use Network Address Translation) or (c) use a wifi router that by default does not forward ports or firewalls their LAN (i.e. almost all) has driven me nearly mad. I see no ready solution – since direct connection with ssh, VNC (btw vnc server and client built into Leopard) or RDC remains the best way to help someone. If I understand correctly IPv6 will solve these problems to some extent since every network device you connect to an IPv6 network (even through a router etc.) will always get a unique address that is accessible to the whole network (provided it is not firewalled). This also solves problems with SIP and similar p2p protocols that don’t play nicely with NATed clients.

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