Sunday, October 6, 2002

Windows Fun for Everyone

My trip to London started Friday night, when I realized I hadn’t installed our new VPN client. Since I’d be out of the office all week, I thought it a good idea to actually have access to the company network while I’m gone. Though I wasn’t thrilled about driving to the office at 10:30 on a Friday night, all I had to do was install one application.


First my computer didn’t want to “see” the right directory on the network – it was apparently confused that it was actually “online”. At this point, I made the dreaded call: to the IT guy who was on vacation. I didn’t want to do it, actually hated myself for doing it (I pride myself on being pretty independent as far as computer use goes) – but I needed the &$!$@* VPN client.

Forty-five minutes later, we’d removed and reinstalled the drivers for the ethernet card, rebooted twice, and finally got to install the software. Scott, our I.T. director, is a saint. He even gave me updates on the Yankees/Angels game while we waited for the machine to reboot, reload, crash…

Miraculously, when I got home everything worked – plugged it into the home network and was able to do everything over DSL.

But all was not right.

Yesterday afternoon, I tried to download my e-mail from the flight club before boarding the plane for London. Repeated calls resulted in “error 720: the computers can’t agree on a PPP protocol to use.”

Frustrated but figuring it to be a temporary thing, I packed up and watched the end of the Stanford/N.D. game. (Mom & Dad were at the game, and got to see a N.D. victory for the first time in years!) I landed in London this morning, get to the hotel and dial the local London POP for AT&T. Same error message. I tried manipulating every single dial-up networking setting: error control, flow control, IP compression, you name it. Nothing helped.

There’s an Internet cafe across the street from the hotel, so I was able to fire up the ethernet connection and search Google for some help. I found it: here and here (but not, interestingly enough, here). The solution? Simple, really: just remove and reinstall TCP /IP.

At this point, I’m wondering whether I somehow missed Jenny or Ernie messing with my equipment… as much as I despise my Gateway laptop, I’d been able to avoid problems like this in the past. In any event, I managed to remove TCP/IP, reboot, reinstall TCP/IP, reboot, and (cue drum roll) – it works!

Simple! Just three hours (cumulatively) spent over a weekend when I could’ve dealt without annoying Windows problems.

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