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Christophers Napkin Sketch by Al Gleichman
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In the Trenches with LAROKE

Konsultant's Log, Cyberdate 01.17.1998 (Hailing all frequencies with 4-of-8)

    Situation Report
    Take Charge And Move Out
    United States of America
    Mission Report

The Do-It-Yourself Network PCWORLD Online From the December 1997 Issue of PC World Internet Peer-to-Peer Networking One of the coolest things you can do with Windows 95 and the Internet is Peer-to-Peer Networking. We'll show you how to set up your computer to connect to remote resources, and then we'll explain how to share your own resources across the Internet. Ever been away from your office or home and really needed a file on your computer? Try setting yourself up as a Dial-up Server. You can securely connect to your computer from any Windows 95 system in the world, with only a modem!

Windows95 Annoyances: Networking, Shmetworking.


SITREP: 6:42 A.M. 1/13/98 Shortly after turning on the PC named "4-of-8" (but more commonly referred to as 4-Bits) this morning, I was greeted with a new "blue death" screen: "VYBN31E: Initialization Error! Invisible Network 3070 Network: NDIS protocol driver not installed or not bound*". I continued the bootup, then restarted 4-Bits, hoping this was a one-time startup glitch or "disturbance in the Force" . . . No such luck.

TACAMO: Next stop: the "Network" Dialog in the Windows 95 "Control Panel" to check the Invisible Network protocol component's "bindings." The bindings were in order as far as I could determine. I tried to access the company intranet to find out if the Invisible LAN protocol was the only one affected. The TCP/IP Internet protocol was also "down for the count." Time to turn 4-Bits off and wait a minute to restart . . . No joy. This time I paid attention to the other network errors Windows 95 displayed as it completed its startup, the most important being "Windows Networking - Your network adapter NE2000 Compatible (0000) is not working properly. You may need to set it up again. For more information see the Network Troubleshooter in Windows Help."

While 4-Bits was turned off for a minute, I had turned on "Merlin," a PC in the clerical department, and set up a DOS mode network diagnostic program . . . I went over to check it, and found that 4-Bits was not one of the active computers listed. This suggested to me that I might have a bad NIC (Network Interface Card). This would be bad news indeed, as the company that manufacturers the card and also the Invisible LAN software has been driven out of business by Microsoft, and I do not have a source of new adapters. I knew I would have to face this problem sooner or later, but I was hoping for later.

I removed the "NE2000 Compatible" adapter component from the Windows 95 Network Dialog and restarted 4-Bits again, running through most of the same error messages in the bargain. Now I went to the Windows 95 "Device Manager" to make sure the NE2000 Compatible Adapter was gone, and it was. Since I forgot to take note of the adapter's hardware settings (IRQ and I/O address) before removing it, I had to go search 4-Bits' maintenance logs for these settings before trying to reinstall it (see LAROKE Download area for an example of the Maintenance Log).

Faithful readers might remember the first time we went through this exercise with 4-Bits (see In the Trenches Cyberdate 10.25.1997), where the settings were the default settings of IRQ 3 and I/O address 300h. Armed with this info, all running programs were shutdown and the Control Panel opened again. The "Add New Hardware Wizard" was started and was allowed to search for new hardware. The Wizard found the "NE2000 Compatible" adapter, but it also thought it found a "Logitech Serial Mouse" and a "Standard PS/2 Port Mouse."

The actual "mouse" setup on 4-Bits is a Logitech trackball with a PS/2 connector connected to a PS/2-to-serial adapter connected in turn to a Cybex Personal Commander monitor/mouse/keyboard switch which is connected to 4-Bits' 9-pin serial port, leaving 4-Bits' PS/2 mouse port vacant . . . Got that? The sad tale of how this came about is also described in excruciating detail in In the Trenches Cyberdate 10.25.1997. The point is that the mouse/trackball configuration is working just dandy and I don't want the Wizard to screw it up, so I canceled the Wizard at this point, opting to install the NE2000 adapter drivers manually.

I started the Wizard again and did not let it search for hardware this time. After selecting "Network adapter" from a list of hardware types, then "Novell/Anthem" from a list of manufacturers and "NE2000 Compatible" from the list of models, I was told the Wizard would install the hardware using IRQ 11 and I/O address 200h settings, and that I could adjust the setting in Device Manager before restarting the computer.

After the Wizard was finished, I opened Device Manager to see the adapter installed but not working, because it had the wrong settings, of course. I opened the adapter's "Properties" Dialog and went to the "Resources" Tab where I changed the IRQ to 3 and the I/O address to 300h. 4-Bits was shutdown and rebooted with fingers crossed . . . Same blue screen of death. Ouch!

Time for surgery. The PC called "Christine" had been put out of service when she was replaced by "P2." Christine had the same type of network adapter with the same hardware settings as 4-Bits, and she was still connected to the network. Christine was booted and checked against the diagnostic program running on Merlin. Her network card was working normally. Christine and 4-Bits were taken off-line, opened up, and their network cards switched. Upon bootup, Christine booted unto the network just fine, while 4-Bits continued to display the same errors . . . It was starting to look like a software problem again . . . heavy sigh - in relief that the hardware was OK, in frustration that the software wasn't.

I went to the Device Manager where I now found three Network adapters: a "Dial-Up Adapter " (used for Internet connections through a modem), and two "NE2000 Compatible" adapters, one of which was disabled . . . I went into the disabled adapter's "Properties" Dialog and clicked the "Remove from this hardware profile" Checkbox under the "General" Tab since this was probably the Wizard-installed adapter at IRQ 11, I/O address 200h. 4-Bits was recycled to see if the disabled adapter would disappear from the Device Manager, which was my intent . . . It did.

Next, I reviewed the properties of the remaining NE2000 Compatible adapter. Under the "Driver" Tab, the information: "No driver files are required or have been loaded for this device." was displayed. I tried to install an "Updated driver" but Windows was having none of that, or at least there was no notable change in 4-Bits peculiar condition.

After comparing the various network component settings with other machines in the system and finding nothing amiss with 4-Bits' settings, I decided on drastic software surgery . . . removing all the network software components for reinstallation, save the Dial-Up Adapter and the "NE2000 Compatible" adapter.

After recycling 4-Bits again, I searched for and found the "VYBN31E" file mentioned in the blue screen message. It turned out to be a "VXD" file (a virtual device driver). I deleted it since I was quite sure by this time it was corrupted . . . On to the Network Dialog to add back the network components. I decided to start with the Microsoft Networking protocol, client, and services required to communicate with the "HAL 9000" PC.


Installing Windows 95 Network Components
This tutorial is the procedure for installing the Microsoft Networking Components for a NE2000 Compatible Ethernet LAN (a common setup). All components for this configuration are included with the Windows 95 Setup Disk(s). Other configurations are installed in a similar manner.
During this process Windows 95 may ask you to insert your Windows 95 Installation disk(s) or CD-ROM, so it would be good to have them (or it) at hand before starting.
At the end of the process Windows will want you to restart, so it is good practice not to have any other programs running as you complete this process.
  1. Click the "Start" Button on the Windows 95 Taskbar to display the Start Menu, then select the "Settings" Menu Item, then the "Control Panel" Submenu Item.
  2. Double-click the "Network" Icon in the Control Panel Window to open the "Network" Dialog. If your system has a NE2000 Compatible network adapter installed, then under the "Configuration" Tab in the Network Dialog, A single item should be showing in the "The following network components are installed:" List. This item should be the "NE2000 Compatible" Adapter.

If another adapter is installed instead of the "NE2000 Compatible" adapter, that's OK . . . the point is that Windows 95 should have added an adapter component in this Dialog when the adapter was installed. If the adapter component is not listed, don't panic, you can install it from this screen . . . you just have to gather up your adapter information so you will know which one to install and its settings. Next, the steps required to install a "NE2000 Compatible" adapter will be presented as an example.
Adapter Network Component
From the Windows 95 Help Files: "An adapter is the hardware device that physically connects your computer to the network."
  1. Under the "Configuration Tab" in the "Network" Dialog, click the "Add" Button, then select the "Adapter" Item in the resulting "Select Network Component Type" Dialog and click the "Add" Button.
  2. In the "Select Network adapters" Dialog, select "Novell/Anthem" from the "Manufacturers:" List, then "NE2000 Compatible" from the "Network Adapters:" List, then click the "OK" Button.
  3. With the newly-installed "NE2000 Compatible" Adapter selected in the installed components list on the "Configuration" Tab of the "Network" Dialog, click the "Properties" Button to display the "NE2000 Compatible Properties" Dialog, then click the "Resources" Tab. Make certain that the "Interupt (IRQ):" and the "I/O address range:" fields have the proper values for your installed adapter.
Protocol Network Component
From the Windows 95 Help Files: "A Protocol is the 'language' a computer uses to communicate over a network. Computers must use the same protocol to communicate with each other."
  1. Under the "Configuration Tab" in the "Network" Dialog, click the "Add" Button, then select the "Protocol" Item in the resulting "Select Network Component Type" Dialog and click the "Add" Button.
  2. In the "Select Network Protocol" Dialog, select "Microsoft" from the "Manufacturers:" List, then "NetBEUI" from the "Network Protocols:" List, then click the "OK" Button.
Client Network Component
From the Windows 95 Help Files: "Client software enables you to use files and printers shared on other network computers."
  1. Under the "Configuration Tab" in the "Network" Dialog, click the "Add" Button, then select the "Client" Item in the resulting "Select Network Component Type" Dialog and click the "Add" Button.
  2. In the "Select Network Client" Dialog, select "Microsoft" from the "Manufacturers:" List, then "Client for Microsoft Networks" from the "Network Clients:" List, then click the "OK" Button.
Service Network Component
From the Windows 95 Help Files: "One type of service enables you to share your files and printers with other people on the network."
  1. Under the "Configuration Tab" in the "Network" Dialog, click the "Add" Button, then select the "Service" Item in the resulting "Select Network Component Type" Dialog and click the "Add" Button.
  2. In the "Select Network Service" Dialog, select "Microsoft" from the "Manufacturers:" List, then "File and printer sharing for Microsoft Networks" from the "Network Services:" List, then click the "OK" Button.
Check Component Properties
Windows 95 will enter default configuration settings as each component is installed. Most of them may remain as is, but you may need to personalize the configuration somewhat.
  1. Under the "Configuration Tab" in the "Network" Dialog, select the "Client for Microsoft Networks" Client Component in the installed components List, then click the "Properties" Button. If you do not have a Windows NT server in your network, leave the settings in the "Logon validation" Section blank. In the "Network logon options" Section you have the choice of either "Quick logon" or "Logon and restore network connections" Radio Buttons. Which is better? It's a field call but the following might help you decide. When you connect to the other computers on your network, communication takes place between the two machines basically in the form of "Are you there and can I connect to you? . . . Yes, I'm here and you have permission to connect". If the computer you are trying to connect to is turned off or otherwise unavailable, there will be a short delay as your computer keeps trying to establish the linkup for a few seconds. If you choose the "Quick Logon" Radio Button in the "Network logon options" Section, this communication between computers on the network will not take place until you actually try to access a service on the remote PC. If you choose the "Logon and restore network connections" Radio Button, Windows 95 will try to establish ALL your normal network connections during startup (immediately after you enter your Username and Password). Click the "OK" Button to close the "Client for Microsoft Networks Properties" Dialog and return to the "Network" Dialog.
  2. Under the "Configuration Tab" in the "Network" Dialog, select the "NetBEUI -> NE2000 Compatible" Protocol Component in the installed components List, then click the "Properties" Button. Under the "Bindings" Tab of the "NetBEUI Properties" Dialog, click the "Client for Microsoft Networks" and the "File and printer sharing for Microsoft Networks" Checkboxes (if they are not already checked). Click the "OK" Button to close the "NetBEUI Properties" Dialog and return to the "Network" Dialog.
  3. Under the "Configuration Tab" in the "Network" Dialog, select "Client for Microsoft Networks" from the "Primary Network Logon" Dropdown List if it is not already selected.
  4. Under the "Configuration Tab" in the "Network" Dialog, click the "File and Print Sharing..." Button. In the resulting "File and Print Sharing" Dialog, click the "I want to be able to give others access to my files." Checkbox if you want other computers on the network to be able to access the disk drives on this machine. Click the "I want to be able to allow others to print to my printer(s)." Checkbox if you want other computers on the network to be able to access the printers directly connected to this machine. Click the "OK" Button to close the "File and Print Sharing" Dialog and return to the "Network" Dialog.
  5. Under the "Identification Tab" in the "Network" Dialog are three fields which a network wizard may have asked you to fill in earlier. The first Field "Computer name:" is the name other machines on the network will see when connecting to this PC. If you have any Windows 3.x or DOS software programs that will be accessing this machine over the network, use DOS naming conventions here so the older applications will not "break". You are safe using only letters and numbers with hyphens or underscores. Also, limit your name to eight characters in length. Do not use blank spaces. For example use "Comput_1" instead of "Computer One". The second Field, "Workgroup", must be the same for two computers on a network to see each other for persistant connections. Make this name the same for each PC you want to connect to. The third Field, "Computer Description", is optional. This is for additional information about this PC that others on the network will see in certain dialogs.
Finish Network Installation
  1. Click the "OK" Button to exit the "Network" Dialog and finish the network configuration process.
  2. If you are asked for your Windows installation disks or CD, insert them or it in the appropriate drive for Windows to access the installation files it needs. You may have to help Windows by selecting the correct drive from the Drop-down List in this Dialog. Some manufacturers copy all the Windows 95 installation files to your hard disk and leave them there. This directory on your hard disk may also be a choice in the Drop-down List. If Windows "remembers" where the installation files are on the hard disk (and they are still there), you won't be asked for the installation disks. Windows will go ahead and install the needed files from the hard disk directory without asking.
  3. When Windows is finished installing the network files it needs, you will be asked to restart your PC to let the changes take effect. If you haven't already closed all other running programs, it's a good idea to do so now before clicking the "Yes" Button.

When Windows restarts, you should be ready for Windows Neworking. You will have to setup any disk drives or folders and printers connected to this PC for sharing, if you want other computers on the network to be able to access them.
Updated 01.14.1998

I restarted 4-Bits, yet again, trembling with anticipation (or was it anxiety). She got to the Logon Screen for the first time without the dreaded blue death screen. After logon, network connections were restored with HAL . . . one down, two to go.

TCP/IP Internet Protocol components for the Internet and the company intranet were installed and 4-Bits rebooted again to check the results . . . Success again! I hope we're on a roll. All that remained at this juncture were the Invisible LAN components. The backups of installation disks for Invisible LAN that I made the last time I had to search for the original disks were easily found this time with 4-Bits' system documentation (see In the Trenches Cyberdate 10.25.1997).

The Invisible LAN components were installed and 4-Bits restarted for the last time (I hoped) . . . ~!@#$%^& . . . my luck gave out and the blue death screen was back! WOT THE HECK IS GOING ON HERE?! The only difference this time is that the other two protocols are still functional. Back to the drawing board.

I went to the web site, which is still up and running and where they are giving all the Invisible LAN software away free. I downloaded the latest versions of their Windows 95 Invisible LAN v4.00H, Adapter-dependent v4.00H for DOS and Windows 3.x, and Adapter-independent v4.00H for DOS and Windows 3.x which I didn't have before. I also read some support FAQ's while I was there and realized I had missed a step when trying to reinstall the Invisible LAN software. I had forgotten to run an Invisible LAN "BAT" (batch file) which removes all Invisible LAN files from the system.

I removed the Invisible LAN components and tried again after running the batch file . . . Curses! No luck!!

One more try . . . This time by deleting all components except the two adapters and installing the Invisible LAN protocol first. ~!@#$% Still no joy and I'm starting to run out of expletives.

Since the blue death screen also mentions the NDIS protocol driver, I'm going to remove all the network components except the Dial-Up Adapter, run the Invisible LAN batch file removal, and then search for and remove the vybn31e.vxd file, if it exists, and then any NDIS files I can find before running another lap in this exercise . . . Been there, done that, same old story.

Time for lunch and some serious grumbling.

I'm not quite out of ideas yet. I've been installing the original Windows 95 Invisible LAN v4.00 . . . now I would try the v4.00H flavor I had just downloaded, which, among other things, had some bug fixes for Windows 95 v4.00.950b which 4-Bits is running. If this worked, it would not explain why the earlier version of Invisible LAN had worked with Windows 95 v4.00.950b until this morning, but I didn't care at this point.

I removed the Invisible LAN components from the Network Dialog one more time and installed the Microsoft Networking components (so that I could transfer the downloaded upgrade files from HAL), then restarted in DOS mode to run the Invisible LAN removal batch file again. When 4-Bits restarted, I copied the Invisible LAN Windows 95 v4.00H installation file from HAL and unzipped it in a temporary directory on 4-Bits.

I went through the Invisible LAN component installation drill another time in the Network Dialog, and then restarted 4-Bits again . . . same ~!@#$% results as before, but this time with the additional error message to the effect that I had the adapter configuration screwed up . . . I needed to check the NE2000 adapter bindings and uncheck the Invisible LAN "TransBIOS for Ethernet" binding, then restart.

OK, I'm game . . . One more time into the breach with bated breath . . . No ~!@#$%^ Way!! But I got the same message about the TransBIOS binding again and reading it closer revealed it was referring to the Dial-Up Adapter binding, not the NE2000 Compatible adapter. AAARRRUGGH!! hoisted on my own retard again. I released the binding and restarted and got a DOS message, for my efforts, scrolling by and telling me TransBIOS was not loaded.

Entering the Network Dialog again showed that all Invisible LAN components had been removed, presumably since the Protocol had no bindings at all. Back out to DOS to run the Invisible LAN removal batch file for another relatively clean start.

OOPs! Even though the Invisible LAN components were not showing in the Network Dialog, references to them still existed in the Windows 95 Registry since they had not been uninstalled in the usual manner and several messages to this effect were displayed during Windows 95 restart.

I decided to try to reinstall the Invisible LAN components again, verify the TransBIOS binding for the NE2000 Compatible adapter and remove the binding for the Dial-Up Adapter. If this method does not work, I will try to uninstall the components in the proper manner and start again . . . We have LIFTOFF, sports fans! Invisible LAN is back online!

MISREP: I don't want to think about it, but this darn TransBIOS/Dial-Up Adapter binding has probably been the problem from the beginning (it is now 2:01 P.M. 1/13/98 and the problem was discovered around 6:30 A.M.). Even worse, I was in 4-Bits' Network Dialog yesterday and might have inadvertently caused the problem by changing the setting, although I do not recall doing any such thing.

Oh, well, some days you get the Bear, and some days the Bear gets you! I finished by reinstalling the TCP/IP Internet protocols for the Dial-Up Adapter to access the Internet and for the NE2000 adapter to access the company intranet. After rebooting 4-Bits one final time and testing the three installed protocols, I pushed my chair back, mentally frail . . . Guess I picked the wrong decade to give up drinking . . .


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Issued Saturday, January 17, 1998

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