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HomeTroubleshooting Rockwell/Conexant Soft56 Modem • Using Other Drivers

Soft56 - Using Other Drivers  (Updated 17-Jun-01)

In order to use a driver, the .inf files must contain certain PCI ID's that match your modem.

You can get all the PCI ID information for your modem by using PCI Tree.
See this page for illustrated step-by-step of procedure described below.

After you download the driver you wish to use, unzip it to a folder. Make a second copy of the driver set in another folder. Make sure you have the original drivers to re-install if you run into problems (either on CD, or copied to yet another folder). Also, it's a real good idea to backup your Windows Registry.

The new drivers you downloaded should contain 3 files with .inf extension. Normally, they will be called pci####[x].inf. The .inf file ending in m.inf is the modem enumerator, and the .inf file pci####.inf is the modem (or child) .inf. Both of these files need to contain PCI ID information that matches your modem.

Delete these 2 .inf files in the second copy of the driver set. Then, use Notepad to load each of these .inf files from the first copy, and modify the lines that have PCI ID information so that the ID's match your modem as identified by PCITree, and save the modified file in the second copy of driver set. This will allow you to use the driver set with your modem. [See this page for sample/detail of this process.] Another way of doing this is to open the .inf files that came with your modem, copy the lines with the PCI ID information from them, and paste these lines to replace the PCI ID information in the other vendor's .inf files.

Now, uninstall the modem - you must use Add/Remove Programs and select your modem to remove.

Then, reboot your machine. Windows will find the PCI Enumerator for the modem and want to install support for it. Use the HAVE DISK (or look in folder) option and direct Windows to the folder with the second copy containing updated drivers with modified .inf files. If Windows tells you that the version of infuninst.exe on your system is newer than the one you are installing, make sure to direct Windows to use the 'new' older version: if you leave the uninstall program that goes with the drivers you are removing, you may have a problem later on if you try and remove the new drivers you are now installing! Windows should complete the installation and you'll be running with the new driver version.

The following information was supplied by Ben Holloway who has had much experience with these modems.


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\HSFMODEM\0000 contains just information on the enumerator; I don't think the information is "active" during modem use, but is used during modem uninstall. If the MatchingDeviceId isn't matched by the second registry key (for the modem), uninstall is problematic, as above. No settings here to play with.


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\Modem\0000 holds the main information - same as an HCF modem in basic layout, I think. Karen Tamrazian's HCF Configurator program works with all drivers.  There are a few differences in registry layout that cause some problems for his program - the OEM string has a different key for HSP, and HCF Configurator reports "not detected"; same for RAS Init String. It is a very useful program, and is far safer than playing around with the registry values themselves. But, as always, "have a backup" is a useful warning!


The init string, held in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\Modem\0000\Init is the same for all the HSP modem drivers that I checked.


The transmit signal power is held in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\Modem\0000\Country\0000, TXLEVEL  and appears to be easily altered with HCF Configurator. Increasing signal strength on a bad line can slightly increase connect speeds (say from 41,333 to 44K) and retrains seem less frequent. Too strong a signal causes more problems. So, adjust by a couple of  dB at a time. I suspect you could  harm a modem by doing this.... I've not tried to kill one, but I do wonder....


The value that HCF Configurator seems best able to alter is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\Modem\0000\Country\0000 SPEEDADJUST which can improve connect speeds considerably on a reasonable line. Changing from "Good" to "Perfect" seems to improve connect speeds from around 45K to 48K, and is stable. Throughput does increase slightly, but that'll entirely depend on individual phone line quality. I haven't enough disconnect problems or a bad enough phone line to try lowering this value to improve connections.


Multiple installs, uninstalls and reinstalls can leave:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\HSFMODEM\0000        and


"dirty", with other modems still listed as 0001, 0002, 0003 etc. This can lead to problems if the enumerator and the modem id aren't the same. Manual pruning to remove all the entries is easy; do after an uninstall, but before restarting for the next install. All the usual backup warnings obviously apply!! (Again, this appears to be one cause of poor connects and disconnects - why, exactly???)  

Ben has used four HSP modems, and reports:

All modems performed pretty-near identically with similar build quality, (so penny-pinchers could buy the cheapest).

Two main variables are the software supplied (Bitware etc.) and quality of website update info - if any!


All drivers from 2.02 through to 2.14.06/12 worked with all modems, but with varying degrees of success.

Drivers before 2.08 were worse for disconnects.

Drivers before 2.08 don't like v90 connecting°

Driver 2.11.06 worked well, but took 100% resources (although with no problems, even on a K6-233).

Driver 2.13.06 seemed overall best for lack of disconnects, throughput, stability¹ and simplicity².

Driver 2.14.06 seemed too aggressive on connect under certain circumstances, and failed on ¹ and ²


ºThis seems to be one reason why disconnects are more frequent in the earlier drivers; they retrain more frequently (partly owing to the poor v90 support???) and then lose the connection. Also probably one reason why they tend to be slower, and why some fail to connect to some ISP's

¹crashed modem diagnostic software     ²hides modem properties in odd places



1). Having installed different modem drivers three or four times on the same Windows registry, disconnects suddenly shot up and retrains were frequent - even with a driver that had worked fine. So, uninstall (you always have to use the Add/Remove programs from Control Panel; using either Modem Properties or System Device Manager doesn't remove any of the files from Windows\System, or the inf file, and it'll immediately reinstall on restarting the computer), tidy up the registry, remove extraneous bits of modem information, and reinstall. The same thing happens; disconnects. Again, prune the registry to tidy debris, but still frequent disconnects. Original connect speeds are still as good as before, but rapidly renegotiates then retrains.  It seems to be the full-blown retrain that kills the process, and the connection is dropped. This often happens within five minutes.


2). However, there are two things that help here. Firstly (and I think, but only think, that this is an OK thing to do) removing all modem information from directory C:\WINDOWS\INF\OTHER before reinstall seems to help on some occasions. Installing different drivers seems to leave this directory a real mess with a collection of un-uninstalled information.


3). Secondly, the driver file uninstall process is not effective in many cases. One easy way to guarantee chaos is to have some files from 2.11.06 and others from (say) 2.13.06. Running uninstalls from different versions doesn't always seem to be 100% successful, and when you install a new driver you sometimes get asked whether to replace infunist (the uninstall exe) as the version you already have is newer. If you choose not to, uninstall then isn't clean. (- note that some sets of drivers are supplied as a mix of 2.11.02 and 2.11.06 etc; this is OK, freestyle mixing isn't).


After uninstalling a modem driver, restart the computer rather than go straight to detecting pnp hardware. Failure to do this results in some of the vxd's not being replaced properly, and can result in a BSOD during the reinstall. (Extra-difficult to tidy up, as it happens before infuninst.exe is installed, or before the modem is added to system properties device manager).


If Windows insists on immediately relocating the hardware, and automatically reinstalls whereas you want to install a different driver, keep all the drivers in the same directory, and simply rename it (just add another letter to the name) before restarting. Very useful with the hyper-efficient WinMe


4). In some cases, the modem still misbehaves; I don't know why. It's got the same driver files, and the registry has been repaired of extra settings - I think! Restoring an old registry, reinstalling the modem has solved the problem - but, again not always. However, by that time, that version of Windows was pretty worn out with dodgy installs, crashes etc. So, that all has to be taken with a pinch of salt!


5). A number of people report that their speaker won't report the handshake; others that the speaker won't shut up on connection. As well as AT commands, there can be a set-up reason for this; installing drivers for Fax Data on a FDTamS loses the speaker altogether; reinstall is the only option I know of to get it back, and you need to ensure the right driver is used this time round.

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