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Modem Problem? You May Need a New One


Question: After I upgraded from Windows Me to Windows XP, the Rockwell HCF 56K data fax PCI modem originally installed in my PC stopped working and is not recognized by the new system.

I asked Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard for help, and they don't have answers. I went to the modem manufacturer's page on the Internet, and they don't have any new drivers. What can I do? Do you know if there is a driver on the market that can work with this modem?

Answer: You've tried pretty much everything we'd recommend, though be sure and check the obvious things such as testing the phone line to make sure it hasn't somehow stopped working properly.

We have two thoughts. Yank the modem, delete all reference to it from the operating system and reinstall. This probably will not work.

The good news is that modems are really cheap and very easy to install. You might save yourself some headaches by buying a new one.

Q: I use both Netscape and Internet Explorer on my Mac. I would like Netscape to be my default browser, but every time I click on an Internet link, Internet Explorer shows it. How can I make Netscape the default browser?

A: Basically, you've got to get to a program called Internet Config to change your system settings.

First, make sure Netscape and all its components are turned off.

Click on the Applications folder and look for the Netscape folder. Once you're in that, open the folder labeled Internet Config. Finally, double-click the Internet Config icon. You may not find the Internet Config file there; if so, you'll need to find it using the Mac's search function.

Once you click on Internet Config, a preferences box should open. If it doesn't, go to the menu and select New.

Hit Helpers and scroll down until you find the line item for "http," the basic Web browser protocol. Highlight it by clicking on it and then click Change.

Click on Choose Helper. Click the proper drive, use the selector at the top to bring up the desktop, hit Applications, Communicator, Netscape Communicator. And finally, hit the OK button. Go through the process again for the https protocol and any other protocols you want to use your browser for, such as FTP.

After that's all done, quit Internet Config. The box will ask you whether you want to save your changes. Unless you think you've made some dreadful mistake, say yes.

You may be able to save some time by simply reinstalling the Netscape browser or upgrading to the latest version if you're running an older version. That should give you the chance to make the newly installed browser your default without all this heavy lifting.


Dave Wilson is The Times' personal technology columnist. Submit questions to Tech Q&A at Please be specific about your computer and operating system and include a daytime phone number.

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