How to Check Your Computer for a Dial-up Modem

July 1, 2009 at 11:29 am (Dial up) (, , , , , )

If you’re interested in getting dial-up Internet services, you may be in for a surprise. Many computers are now being sold without dial-up modems. You may want to be sure your modem is installed before you sign up for Internet service to avoid having problems once you’re paying for Internet services. There are two ways to check for a dial-up modem, and it will be helpful to check both areas.

First, check your tower for a modem. From the back of the computer, look for a port that looks just like the phone jack in the wall. You need to have a regular phone cord to test whether the ports are for dial-up or broadband. There are three possibilities:

  1. You see a port, but it looks slightly bigger and your phone cord doesn’t fit tightly inside. This is your Ethernet port. It is for the cables you need for a broadband connection. This is not a modem. Look for another port.
  2. You see two ports side by side. One should read “line” or show the outline of a phone port. The other reads “phone” or shows a picture of a telephone. This is your dial-up modem! For your dial-up connection, plug a phone cord from the jack in the wall into the “line” port. If you want a telephone beside your computer, plug its phone cord into the “phone” port in the back of the computer.

  3. You see one telephone port and your phone cord fits in it. This is your dial-up modem! If you want to hook up a telephone as well, you will need a splitter in the phone jack in the wall and two phone cords: one going to the computer and the other to the telephone.

If you have no telephone ports, you will need to buy a dial-up modem that connects to a USB port. If you do have a modem, you must check whether your computer acknowledges that it is properly installed.

  1. Open your control panel.

  2. Open your modem options. Depending on your version of Windows, it may be called “Modems” or “Phone and Modem Options”. You may need to look under “Printers and Other Hardware” if you are using XP or Vista and you are currently in category view.

  3. Click on the “Modems” tab.

  4. You will see, “The following modems are installed:” and a white box listing whatever modems are or have been installed on your computer.

  5. Under the heading “Attached to”, does it say “COM” and a number? This means your computer recognizes that you have a modem installed. Does it say “not present”? This means that your modem is corrupted or not installed correctly. This will need to be resolved before you can connect to the Internet.

If you detect that you have a modem both physically installed in the tower and registering as installed in your computer, you are ready to order dial-up Internet. Although you are not guaranteed that you have a working modem, as other minor issues can occur, these steps indicate that you will most likely have no problems connecting. Your dial-up service technicians should be able to help you if there are further problems.


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