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HSF / Driver Install & Upgrade

I've got an E-Machines 466 as a "spare" that came with a Soft56 modem. I decided to test the Doctor's Universal Driver - and had an interesting experience: I had removed the Soft56 modem (which at one time was used for Internet Access) and put in a network card. The E-Machines system runs Windows98SE. My first challenge was to get the modem working (again) at all!

I put the modem in the second PCI slot (leaving the network card in), and booted. There was no modem. Note: When a Conexant-based PCI modem is put in a Windows machine, it will only be installed if it is detected by Windows when it start up. If you try to install it using Add New Hardware, or by ControlPanel->Modem's Add or Detect Modem, you are wasting time! These methods require selection of a COM port that exists on your machine. PCI modems must be enumerated, and a driver installed that creates a virtual COM port. (Believe me when I say I wasted my time trying to install support for the modem!)

Turns out - the network card was preventing detection of the modem. (The need to re-arrange what's in your PCI slots is not uncommon: see PCI.) I removed the network card from PCI slot 1, and put the modem in its place. (I left the network card out.) Reboot - and success! The modem was detected. However, it didn't work.

When Windows detects the PCI card, it attempts to recognize it and install drivers automatically. If the PCI card you are putting in is recognized, the drivers will be automatically installed. This can be a problem: if the drivers that are installed aren't the correct ones for the modem, it won't work. And, if you've wasted your time (see above) trying to incorrectly install drivers by using Add New Hardware, automatic detection may install incorrect, inconsistent, or incomplete drivers. This was my result. (If I had simply removed the network card and put the modem in its slot, I probably wouldn't have had a problem; but, since I tried to force install, I wound up with a bad auto-install.) The modem was detected, installed, and listed, but it didn't work. It wouldn't respond to any commands, and if I used Hyperterminal directly connected to the modem's assigned COM2 port, it would crash - go to black screen, and the desktop would re-appear without Hyperterminal.

The challenge now becomes preventing the bad driver set from being installed: a good driver set cannot be installed once the bad driver is installed. There may be several ways around this problem (wiping out your entire system and restoring it with the factory CD is a drastic, but often effective method).

Here's what I did: Since Windows98's auto-detection of the modem is based upon files in the \windows\inf folder, I tried identifying and removing them (to a backup folder). Remove the modem enumerator (HSF Modem) from ControlPanel->System->Device Manager. Reboot. I didn't get all the correct .inf files removed - the modem was re-installed, but not properly. So, I moved the entire \windows\inf folder to a backup location, and repeated the process. This allowed me to specify the location of the drivers to use when Windows booted - and I used the Conexant modem package from e-Machines (2.11.06 - very old!).

Now, I had a working modem. No problems! I put the network card back into the machine (PCI slot 2), got it working and the modem! (Note: it is necessary to restore the files from the /inf folder backup, otherwise Windows loses the ability to detect and support PCI/plug and play devices! Also note- it may be possible to use SafeMode to install a good driver instead of altering the \windows\inf folder.) Now, to upgrade with the Doctor's Universal Driver!

Control Panel->System->Device Manager - select the HSF Modem (enumerator); right-click, -> Properties -> Driver tab -> Update Driver. Using the do not search, Have Disk... location, I pointed Windows to the folder I had unzipped the Universal Generic HSF Driver for Win95/98/Me. The next part was confusing: Windows displayed a list that contained 13 .inf files! Which one to use? I decided to try GENHSFx.inf - and it worked: the 4.06 V.92 drivers installed, and the modem works! (I don't have a local V.92 ISP available, and I don't have call waiting on my line, so further tests are on hold at the moment....)

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