Dial-up - Windows XP Connection Troubleshooting

Summary: Hints and help for resolving problems with your connecting using Windows XP.

Our 0845 and 0808 dial-up products were withdrawn from service in January 2015. To find out more about this, or if you have any questions please see our Dial-up closure FAQ.

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Our website now provides help and support to customers of Plusnet, Force9 and Free-Online. Please select your provider using the drop-down menu and you will be provided with the technical support details that are appropriate to you.

Help with problems connecting to the Internet

  1. Rejected username / password
  2. No dialtone
  3. Random disconnections
  4. Engaged tones

Help with CLI (Caller Line ID) or ISDN connection problems

  1. CLI withheld or ex-directory
  2. Symptoms that suggest you should check your Dial-up Properties (TCP/IP settings)

Help with desktop icons

  1. Desktop icons that 'disappear'

Help with Windows XP Internet Connection Firewall

  1. Enable the Internet Connection Firewall

Help with viewing when you are online with the taskbar connection icon

  1. How to make the connection icon appear on the taskbar

XP Connection Wizard Problems

  1. Fix the XP Connection Wizard

Further help

  1. Useful Tips from the Microsoft Knowledge Base

Help with problems connecting to the Internet

1. Rejected username / password
If you cannot connect to the Internet make a note of the error messages you are shown. If the system is rejecting your username or password make sure:

  • That you've entered your username and password in the correct format (this will vary depending upon what account type you have with us). With dial-up accounts you should simply enter your one-word username. Broadband customers would enter username@plusdsl.net (or username.plus.com). The word after the @ symbol is known as your realm. This information will have been given to you during the signup process - you can check that yours is correct at the Control Panel.

  • That you have dialled the correct number for your Plusnet account. The full list of access numbers, plus instructions on how to change yours if necessary can be found in our dial-up set up guide

  • That you have presented Caller Line ID. Many of our accounts require that we know the number from which you are dialling. If you have CLI disabled and/or are ex-directory we may not be able to do this. In order that we know who you are, you should place the prefix 1470 in front of the number that your modem is dialling - more


2. No dialtone
Check your equipment and cables. Most commonly this is due to an unplugged cable or extension lead. Check that no-one else is using the phone for voice calls. Try picking up the phone. Can you hear the dialtone? What happens if you dial the modem access number? If you can hear a modem squealing at the far end you know that your telephone line is OK and that the problem must lie with your PC or modem.

3. Random disconnections
This is most commonly due to line noise, although you should check that your Dial-up Properties are set correctly. There can be several reasons why your telephone line might be subject to line noise - cold weather even can affect the quality of some lines. The symptom of a noisy line is random disconnects, so look out for this. If your modem disconnects as soon as you dial then your settings will generally be incorrect. If you suffer disconnections frequently you should contact your phone operator and ask them to investigate. Telephone engineers can alter the gain and balance of your line so that your Internet connection can become more reliable.

4. Engaged tones
Customers subcribed to our unmetered Connect service should be aware that the service is 'contended' - i.e. the port your modem connects to is shared with other customers. In fact, we base our Connect products' design on the concept of contention. When you choose your type of Connect account you choose the contention level and this in turn defines how often you would be expected to use the service. Contention is measured as a ratio: for example 10:1 means that you would share the service with up to 9 other people.

Because you share the service, you might imagine that at peak periods when most people want to use the service (we generally find this to be late afternoons (4pm-6pm) and early evenings (8pm-10pm), you'll get the occasional engaged tone. If you do get an engaged tone we recommend that you wait a short while before attempting to redial (the exchange equipment we use for our Connect service requires to reset after issuing a busy tone). Please ensure that you are dialling the correct number for your particular account type.

5. CLI witheld or ex-directory
If you are ex-directory or have number withheld service enabled, you should enter the prefix 1470 in front of the area code. E.g. your access number entered into the Dial Up Networking settings for your connection might read 1470,0808,9933000 (see here).

ISDN users need to have CLIP (Called Line Identification Protocol) enabled on their line in order to connect successfully to us when using their Connect account. This will ensure that you present the number dialled so that the call can be routed correctly. CLIP can be enabled by calling BT on 150 (152 for users with a business line with BT).

6. Symptoms that suggest you should check your Dial-up Properties and TCP/IP settings

If you find that any of the following symptoms occur then you should check that your TCP/IP (Dial Properties) settings are correct:


7. Desktop icons that 'disappear'
Windows XP will, (unless you tell it otherwise), clean up your desktop by removing unused icons every so often. This may mean that you might lose a shortcut to your Plusnet connection if you haven't used it for some time. To stop this from happening you can turn off the automatic clean-up process.

  • Open the Control Panel (Click on Start and then Control Panel. Make sure you are viewing the Control Panel in Classic mode).
  • Double-click on the Display icon. Selecting the Desktop tab, click on Customise Desktop.
  • Now, under the Desktop Cleanup option, remove the tick from the box which says 'Run desktop cleanup wizard every 60 days'.
  • Click on OK.


8. Enable the Internet Connection Firewall
Windows XP has a firewall built into the Dial-up Properties section. A firewall gives your computer additional protection from hackers and intrusive network data packets whilst you are connected to the Internet. Whilst we would recommend that you use a separate third party firewall application such as ZoneAlarm, you can enable Windows XP Internet Connection Firewall as follows.

  • Open the Control Panel (Click Start then Control Panel. Make sure you are viewing the Control Panel in Classic mode)
  • Double-click the Network Connections icon
  • Right-click on your Plusnet icon. From the displayed menu click Properties with your left mouse button. The Plusnet Properties panel will open.
  • Click on the Advanced tab. Place a tick in the small box next to 'Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet'.
  • Click on OK.
You can find out more about Firewalls here

9. How to make the connection icon appear on the taskbar
If you have ever used another version of Windows to connect to the Internet with a modem, you may be familiar with the icon that shows when and for how long you have been connected. This sits in the lower right-hand side of your computer screen.
With Windows XP you may find that this icon doesn't appear - this is optional, however we recommend that you switch it on. This will always know when you are online and incurring call charges (if you use lo-call rate access), or using your weekly usage hours (if using the Connect unmetered service). The connection icon can also show you your Internet connection speed.

To make the icon appear:
  • Open the Control Panel (Click Start then Control Panel. Make sure you are viewing in Classic View mode).
  • Double-click the Network Connections icon · Right-click on your Plusnet icon.
  • Click on Properties. The Plusnet Properties panel will open.
  • Make sure that you are viewing the General page - note the tab at the top of the panel
  • At the bottom of this screen place a tick in the small white box next to "Show icon in notification area when connected".
  • Click OK.


10. Fix the XP Connection Wizard
(Please note that this fix is conducted at the user's risk. No liability will be accepted for damage occuring as a result of following this guide. No additional support wil be provided for this issue).

Some customers have reported the problem of 'Connect using a dial up modem' being greyed out and unselectable whilst manually setting up a new connection with the 'New Connection Wizard'. This results in Windows XP responding with error message 711 and the creation of the new connection is halted.

Error 711: Cannot load Remote Access Service Connection Manager.

The reason for this can be a one of two things:

1. Telephony services, Remote Access Connection Manager and/or Remote Access Auto Connection Manager are disabled in Win XP Home/Pro.

2. Corrupt registry.

Those experiencing this problem should initially investigate the first possibilty. The Microsoft Knowledge Base has an article on this error:
Error 711: Cannot Load Remote Access Service Connection Manager

Only if this fails to activate the "Connect using a dial up modem" radio button then would you have to investigate the following method of editing the Registry:

Run: regedit
Select folders in the following order:
-Current Control Set
-when you get to this point, you should see 4 folders (numbered 4, 13, 25, 26)
-DELETE: folders 25 and 26

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