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Windows 98 > Troubleshooting Windows 98

Troubleshooting Windows 98 Networking


A lot of people are having problem getting their Windows 9.x home networking to work properly. This document will focus on how to get your networking to work, from the perspective that your hardware is successfully installed.

One of the most commonly reported problems is that you can't get the systems to show up in the Network Neighborhood.

First we need to check the basics to get a system to see other systems in the Network Neighborhood:

  • Is File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks installed?

    If not, this can be added from the Network aplet in Control Panel. Press Add... on the Configuration tab, and select Service.

  • Are the systems part of the same workgroup and have different computer names?

    You can check the workgroup of a system from the Network aplet in Control Panel. Select the Identification tab, here the Workgroup name is displayed (and can be changed), as is the Computer name.

    You also have to make sure that a computers name is unique on the network.

  • Did you share something, a printer or a full disk or a directory?

    You can enable sharing by right-clicking on an object (printer, disk or directory) in Windows Explorer, and choosing Sharing... on the Sharing... tab. If you don't have a Sharing... option on your right-click menu, you don't have File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks installed. Only systems with something to share will show up in the Network Neighborhood.

  • Check the Bindings of your NIC (Network Interface Card).

    You can check the bindings from the Bindings tab on the properties sheet for your NIC. this is done from the Network aplet in Control Panel.

    Only protocols which are checked are used by the NIC.

If you want to connect to other systems than Win9.x, you may want to use additional/other protocols & services.

Do you have the same protocol installed on all systems?

Check your system to see if the have the same protocol(s) installed. When installing a NIC on Windows 95, it installs the IPX/SPX-compatible Protocol and NetBEUI protocol's by default, along with clients for both Microsoft- and Netware Networks.

Windows 98 on the other hand only installs the TCP/IP protocol by default, along with the Client for Microsoft Networks.

So to have Windows 98 & 95 machines connecting to each other, you will have to install aditional protocols.

NetBEUI is the most easy protocol to get working, along with the IPX/SPX-compatible Protocol. The IPX/SPX protocol has some performance enhancements, and I would recommend it over NetBEUI. As noted above, you will also need to have File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks installed.

Another source of potential problems is Windows 98 IRQ Steering. Sometimes Windows 98 will assign a different IRQ to the network card then the IRQ the NIC is set-up for. Run the NIC's diagnostics program from a real-mode MS-DOS prompt (restart your computer in MS-DOS) to compare the IRQ assignment to what Windows 98 thinks the IRQ resources are and then get the two into agreement. An easy way to do this is to reserve the IRQ used by your NIC (as reported by the NIC's diagnostic program) in your systems BIOS, and set the IRQ in Windows 98 manually to that value.

For more information on reserving an IRQ in your BIOS, consult your computers manual.

You might also want to check if you have the latest drivers for your NIC. Early driver versions of Realtek & 3Com are known to cause problems in some cases.

Only Entire Network Icon Appears in Network Neighborhood

If you have a PCI NIC in PCI slot 1, and an AGP video adapter, a conflict between the network adapter and the AGP video adapter can occur and prevent you from browsing the network. For resolutions see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 193938.

More information on troubleshooting network connection problems can be found in Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 192534.