Networking Windows XP, 95/98, and Network Printer

Wow, What a Way to bring in the New Year!

Network Internet Connections

Needed to help a buddy hookup a network between two Windows XP computers (one a Toshiba laptop, and the other a new Dell Vostro desktop), two old Dell Windows 95 computers, a System 2000 computer, and a networked Brother MFC FAX/Printer/Scanner/Copier. Well, he had a network working with NetBeui, using a network HUB, and a strange Bridge setting on the Toshiba laptop XP system, but when the new Dell Vostro desktop was installed, the network stopped working.

After my buddy had spent four hours on the phone with Dell Tech Support, they decided to send out a repair guy to try a new motherboard. This was after Tech Support tried everything under the sun software wise to get the system to function. My friend is still in the stone-ages for Internet connectivity. He is on a Dial-Up Modem. No high speed service is available where he is located. To far away for DSL from the phone company, and no high speed cable service in his area. Satellite communications is still questionable as far as he is concerned. So, can you image when the Dell Tech support person got online and tried to control his new computer? Slow as molasses for the mouse movement. Got to hand it to Dell, the person went none stop for four hours straight, even though the problem was not fixed.

The Network Problem

Sometimes the Dell Vostro would show up on the network and sometimes it would not. This was the case with even looking at itself on the network. Sometimes it was there and sometimes it was not. Dell tried turning off Windows firewall protection and Norton Internet Firewall Security but that did not seem to change anything. So, that is when they decided to go to the next level, and try the hardware. Because of the holiday season, it was going to take a couple of days to get the motherboard. So, we put our heads together and tried tackling the network issue ourselves.

Since the network was on an old network HUB (read about: The difference between Hubs, Switches, and Routers), I decided to try a couple of spare routers, using DHCP to supply IP addresses to the computers and the network printer. Low and behold, we thought the problem was fixed, but such was not the case. The network still bombed out. Back to the original problem after trying it for some time. The problem was still the disappearing computers on the network. Funny though, the old Windows 95 computers could talk to the Dell Vostro with Windows XP operating system, but not the other way around. Also tried swapping network cables with no change in the problem. FYI, my buddy ordered the Dell Vostro with Windows XP operating system instead of Windows Vista by choice just before the holidays. It arrived a couple of days after Christmas.

I decided to call it a night. My buddy however, started digging through the documentation. Apparently when he turned off Norton Internet Security it started working much more reliably. The network was stable for a couple of hours and he thought that was it. However, after leaving it on overnight, it was discovered that the network was nonoperational again in the morning. So, the service call was still scheduled. Dell contracts out to independents in the local areas for service. The guy came out with a new motherboard and swapped it out a day latter.

Finally, everything seemed to stabilize, but we also tried a different router and setting Norton Internet Security Zones for trusted sources (the other computers’ IP addresses) and everything was talking with each other.

Microsoft I figured probably had Windows Updates available for the XP system, even though it was a week old. This was indeed the case. On a dial-up modem it only took four hours to download and install!

Computer Lessons Learned

Technology is changing so fast, that even the customer service techs have trouble keeping up with the new software. The support people are not fully aware of the full spectrum of protection that Norton Internet Security software was doing on the computer from a network standpoint.

Computers are supposed to save time. Ha Ha. Think about all the problems you have had with your computers over the years. Do they really save time? I think not, but in some ways the computers have filled our times with other activities. Internet browsing, searching for products and services, comparing prices, shopping for the new car, and even to the point of replacing TV for online videos.

Just like anything purchased anymore, the customer needs to become more of an expert and pay particular close attention to details.

By-the-way: Networking Mac OS X and Windows XP and Windows 2000

I decided that I would hook up a Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Mac OS X computers that I had together. Took a bit of research online about sharing between the software platforms, but after finding out how to do the settings, everything seemed to function. For advice on how to: Networking Mac and PC, do a Google Search. Good information is available online.

Welcome to the New Internet World

Internet marketing by Professional Web Services

Two Comcast Modems or More at the Same Location?

How To Install Two Comcast Modems
Comcast Cable Modem
Can I install more than one Comcast modem at one location?

The simple answer is yes, but it is going to cost you for a second connection.

The following was a submitted question to me.

Message: My wife and I have two rooms with our respective offices. Our house is new and installed with cable TV/Internet cable connections in the walls of each room. My wife’s computer is connected to Comcast through a cable modem with a router. Right now I have set up a wireless connection to her computer through a wireless router in her office but the speed is diminished on my computer. The only other way to connect to Comcast through her modem would be to run an ethernet cable through the attic from her router to my office which could be dangerous.

It seems that every Comcast modem has its own unique MAC address. I do have a another Comcast modem the same as my wife’s modem which I purchased on EBAY. Is it possible to clone the MAC address on my wife’s Comcast Modem into a router in my office and connect the purchased Comcast modem into the cable connection in my office and be able to get on the internet? Thanks



Answer: Hello H,

What I think you’re asking is,

Can I hook up another Comcast modem using the front end of a router, with the cloned address of the other Comcast modem?

First off, you are right, every Comcast modem does have its own unique MAC address.

The router is meant to be on the output of the Comcast modem, not the input of the Comcast modem. Routers make the Comcast modem think that there is just one unique IP address on the output of the modem. But, in actuality, the router routs the information to each computer on the Local Area Network (LAN). The input from Comcast Central goes into the modem from the coax cable, and not the other ethernet cable for the LAN network.

I too have an extra Comcast modem. When I upgraded to digital voice with Comcast, they installed another modem with phone built-in. My original modem was purchased by me at a local store. When the service guys did the install, they had to call in the new modem to Comcast Central.

My understanding is that only one modem of that address can be installed at a time. If you think about it, this makes sense, otherwise the system would not know which modem is handling the information. However, if you want to pay for another Comcast account, I think you can get two Comcast modems hooked up at the same time but with unique MAC addresses. Gamers, who like lots of speed have done this. Comcast then splits the coax cable and runs it into both modems. Then you have two outputs (one from each modem). Note: just as your router assigns a unique IP address to each computer, the Comcast DHCP system assigns an IP address to each modem.

As far as speed is concerned with your current wireless setup, what is your cable Internet speed with the current setup?

Compare your speed at both computers.

How far is your wireless computer from the office router?

Certainly the best connection is to have a cable going to both computers from the router. Many times the problem with wireless is the location of the router or the location of the antennas on both the computer and the wireless router, and that they are behind shielded walls or just long distances.

So, as it is, I think you have a spare second modem that can only be used if you pay for another hook up.

Read other posting with a conversation with Comcast for additional modem, router, switch, and hub information for a Comcast home networking system.

Jim Warholic

Marketing Solutions

Upgrading a Computer Hard Drive And Back Up Software

Important: Backup Your Computer Now, Before It is Too Late!

Hard DriveIs your computer hard drive running out of capacity? Are you wondering what you are going to do when it maxes out? Are you worried about loosing all your pictures and files when your hard drive crashes? Have you ever performed a computer HD backup? Well, I’ve got the solution for you.

No one really wants to go through and delete information from the past. Installing a second add on drive is a possibility. Another option is to install a brand new C drive, with all your existing programs and data intact.

There are a couple of programs that I am aware of that make it easy to clone a hard drive completely. The program that I have used for backing up information and cloning a hard drive is Acronis True Image. Acronis True Image is a program that once installed on your existing hard drive can be used for daily backups to another hard drive or to install a brand new C drive with all the existing files intact.

For example: I had a computer with a 180 Gbyte disk drive that was getting to the point, with pictures, videos, files, and programs installed, that the days were numbered until I was going to be forced into doing something about it. I decided to take the initiative and replace the disk drive with a new 400 GB disk drive. Using Acronis True Image, the new one is Acronis True Image Home 2009 backup and disk image recover software, I first did a fresh backup on the second disk drive I have installed in the computer. Once that was complete, I disconnected the second drive and hooked up the brand new Seagate 400 GB disk drive that I picked up from Fry’s Electronics for $89.00. I can’t believe these prices on hard drives keep dropping as much as they have over the years.

Once the second drive was hooked up, I ran the True Image software again, and cloned the primary drive, but expanded it to include the total available space to be used on the new drive. Once the cloning process was done, I then removed the first drive, and made the new drive the C drive, then re-attached the other backup drive, and the computer was up and running on the new hard drive.

It is interesting to note that even though most drive manufactures state a certain size hard drive, they usually overstate what the drive actually holds. It seems as though there is a 5 to 10% fudge factor. The Seagate 400 Gbyte drive turned out to be 367 Gbytes formated. But still, it is hard to pass up a deal when you need it.

My recommendation for anyone looking for a new hard drive, try to estimate what you will be using it for. If it is going to be used for pictures and video storage, then by all means up the storage capacity. However, if a standard 500 GB hard drive is substantially more than enough room for what you are currently doing, save your money for the future. As the price on these hard drives has dropped over the years, it is likely that the price of hard drives will continue to plummet, and the capacities will continue to increase. Then, the price per gigabyte will be less in the future, when you really need the storage. As of this update date: 2/20/08 – there are external 1 Terabyte hard drives available for sale around 100 dollars. See: 1 TB External Hard Drives

Jim Warholic is President of Professional Web Services, Inc., an Internet marketing and SEO company.