Home network crashes my comps...

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Home network crashes my comps...

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2002 1:25 pm

I've just installed 10/100 network cards in each of two PCs. One is a P3-866, Asus CUSL2-C, 256 SDRAM, Win98 (first edition). The other is a Cyrix 166+, god knows what mobo, 32MB RAM, Win95. The main purposes of this network were to share a printer and a (dialup) internet connection.

Both NICs are plugged into a Netgear 10BaseT hub. I've installed all the relevant drivers and (I think) all the relevant protocols; the two computers appear on each other's Network Neighbourhoods. I tested the network first of all by creating shared folders on each, and dropping files across. Transferring a file from the Win95 machine to the 98 machine worked fine. When I tried to do the reverse (not the same file, unfortunately... the scientific-methodology part of my brain was not functioning at the time), it got part of the way, then the 98 machine froze. Keyboard and mouse did nothing. After a few seconds (including frantic Ctrl-Alt-Delling, but see below) it rebooted.

I decided to dismiss this as a fluke, and tried to get printer sharing working. The 95 computer could see the printer (on the 98 machine), but when I tried to install it as a network printer, it froze at the copying-drivers-across stage. (It got about 20% of the way through the transfer before the 98 comp froze.) Then, without my taking any action, the 98 PC rebooted itself.

I assumed that ICS wouldn't work, since that would presumably involve the sharing computer to send data... I did manage to play a few rounds of Hearts across the network and it didn't crash, so I guess it may be related to the size of the transfer in some way...

I didn't have time to perform as many tests as I would have liked, but I'm guessing that either the 98 comp has problems sending data, or the 95 comp has problems receiving it.

Both computers are quite stable, and everything else still works as it did before I installed the NICs. I have in the past had an odd problem with the 98 comp, where the (optical) mouse cursor would suddenly start jerking, as if Windows were running at 10fps, and then freeze completely. (Symptomatically somewhat similar to the current problem, though occuring at different points.) I was able to "fix" it by plugging various USB devices (Zip, scanner, printer) into different USB ports (?), and using the PS2 converter for the USB mouse. I never worked out why this was happening, and it has (once) recurred with the rearranged setup.

Could this be some kind of PCI problem? (Guessing completely here.) Or does anybody have any ideas as to why this might be happening, or how to fix it? If you need more information, I'll be happy to provide it. I don't have access to these two comps at the moment, unfortunately, so I can't try any solutions straight away.

I would appreciate any suggestions.
BigMadDrongo
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Postposted on Sun May 05, 2002 10:46 pm

Make sure the protocols are installed and identical on both PCs. Generally, you need:

• Client for Microsoft
Networks
• (Your network card brand/model here)
Fast Ethernet Adapter
• IPX/SPX-compatible
Protocol
• NetBEUI
• TCP/IP

Go to Settings --> Control Panel --> Network --> Configuration --> Identifications
check for Workgroup name. Compare the protocols on both computers and make sure that they are the same. If any protocols are missing, install them. Also, you may have not have enabled File and Printer Sharing, or did you?

I hope this is helpful. I doubt it has anything to do with the USB.
It might have something to do with PCI is there is an IRQ conflict. Also, is one of these hard drives filled to the brim? Sometimes that causes lockups when you're transferring files.

Hope this helps :)
jsbach11
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Postposted on Sun May 05, 2002 11:23 pm

BigMadDrongo, if one of your computers is freezing, then it isn't stable at all!

It looks like your Windows 98 box is having the problem, so the obvious thing to do is to back up your data and do a fresh, clean Windows 98 install on that box. If the problem come back, then you can be sure that it's a hardware problem. You'll want to make sure that you have all of the latest hardware drivers for your motherboard and all of your perhiperals before you do this. Since you didn't mention a brand name, I'm assuming that you don't have to use a restore CD, so you can make a directory for all of those files, uncompressed of course. Burning a CD with all of the uncompressed files on it is even better.

You may not want to do all that work, but I assure you (from years of experience) that half measures will be wasted time in this case. Bite the bullet and do a clean install from scratch. That means deleting the Windows and Program files directories, and every file in the root of C: as a bare minimum. The best thing to do is to move all needed files to the other machine, then use FDISK to destroy the partitions, and THEN run Windows setup on a blank disk. I do something like this every 6 months or so on all Windows 9x systems under my control, even if they aren't exhibiting problems. A fresh install helps performance quite a bit, too.

As long as you're reinstalling, you might want to upgrade your OS. The original version of Windows 98 has no ability to share an Internet connection, so unless you have other software to do this, you are going to need Windows 98SE, Windows 2000 or XP to achieve one of your main goals.

jsbach11, there's no need to install every possible protocol on a machine, unless each and every one is really needed. In this case, TCP/IP is the only one needed. Adding more unnecessary things only adds to the complexity, making for more things to go wrong.
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Postposted on Sun May 05, 2002 11:39 pm

I don't think that's a list of all available protocols. I'd say, of course, installing all protocols is impractical.
jsbach11
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Postposted on Tue May 07, 2002 10:49 am

But you don't really need any more then one protocol. Why did you list three in your post?

Speed is right, with everything being done with IP today, that would be the only protocol you need. It's the only one on my network.
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zgirl
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Postposted on Wed May 08, 2002 12:30 am

Nice suggestion. Why don't you offer it to the person asking for advice?
jsbach11
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Postposted on Wed May 08, 2002 8:30 am

Thanks for your replies.

jsbach11 wrote:I hope this is helpful. I doubt it has anything to do with the USB.
It might have something to do with PCI is there is an IRQ conflict.

I don't think it's to do with the USB - I just thought that there might be a common cause for both the earlier mouse-freezing problem and this current one. I think the PCI is a likely culprit... There's some IRQ sharing going on (e.g. every device and its wife seems to want to use IRQ 10) but no actual conflicts, and I've made sure that all the cards are in non-sharing PCI slots.

Speed wrote:BigMadDrongo, if one of your computers is freezing, then it isn't stable at all!

Heh... I meant it's stable apart from this problem. (OK, arguably the non-fixed, dormant older problem makes it 'potentially' unstable... but hey.)

I had a horrible feeling that a reinstall would be required at some point... I have an even more horrible feeling that it is indeed a hardware problem, but no particular justification beyond Murphy's Law. Unfortunately I don't have a CD burner, but I should be able to fit drivers and essentials onto a Zip disk or two.

Speed wrote:The original version of Windows 98 has no ability to share an Internet connection

Erk - did I really sound like that much of a newbie? :D Yeah, I knew that. The network kit I bought included some kind of sharing software, although what with simple filesharing not working I didn't dare to try it out. If I'm going to be reinstalling anyway, I may as well upgrade as you say.
BigMadDrongo
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Postposted on Fri May 10, 2002 9:01 am

Another thing occurs - do you think either of these problems could be caused by PSU problems? Unfortunately I don't know what rating the power supply is :oops: and won't be able to check it for a week or so, but - could an underrated/struggling PSU make the thing freeze intermittently, or when a large network data transfer is taking place?
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