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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting Modems | Software Modem Issues ]

My WinModem or software modem does not work when I try to use DOS-based software!

Explanation: You are using a "software modem" or "WinModem" device for communications. The modem works properly in the Windows environment, but does not function properly in DOS. This makes it impossible for you to use DOS-based games or other programs that require modem access.

Diagnosis: Software modems replace some of the circuitry on the modem with software programs and drivers that perform a similar function. This is done for the purpose of saving cost, since it removes some of the components from the actual modem itself. One big drawback with this design is that the main system processor is forced to perform these tasks that were formerly done with dedicated hardware on the modem. The software that the processor runs must be dedicated to a specific operating system, and in the case of WinModems, the software is Windows-based (there is a reason why it is called a "WinModem"). When you exit Windows, this software cannot run, and the modem will not work.


  • Do not use one of these modems. Use a real modem that performs all of its features in hardware. The difference in cost is minuscule and you will not have nearly as many problems.
  • Do not use DOS-based software that requires modem access.

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