Troubleshooting problems
When I try to check my email, I get disconnected from the internet!
In Microsoft Outlook Express, click the TOOLS menu and click OPTIONS.  On the CONNECTION tab, there is an option labeled HANG UP AFTER SENDING AND RECEIVING.  If this option has a check in the checkbox next to it, uncheck this option and click OK.  This option disconnects you from the internet once the application checks for new email and sends any queued messages.

When I try to dial to the internet, my computer says the phone line is busy!
The line is probably not actually busy.  If you are using Windows, this operating system generally uses this generic error to report many types of problems.  To check the line, pick up your telephone and dial the telephone number your computer is attempting to dial into.  If there is not a busy signal detected when you dial the number, verify that you are dialing the correct telephone number, for the most common problem is caused by the incorrect telephone number being dialed.  Lastly, when dialing local numbers, the area code should not be dialed.

When I try to dial to the internet, my computer says there is no dial tone!
First, ensure that the phone line is connected to the LINE input on the modem.  If it is, you need to connect a telephone to the telephone jack that the computer is trying to use.  Pick up the telephone and see if a dial tone is present.  If so, is the dial tone pulsating?  If so, you must have a voicemail service, in which case you will need to disable the Wait for a dial tone before dialing option in the modem’s properties.  To do this, you need to open the modem’s properties in the DEVICE MANAGER and uncheck this option.  If you still receive this error even after the modem should not be waiting for a dial tone, the modem is probably defective.  Contact the computer manufacturer for a possible warranty replacement.
When dialing into Cowboy.Net, it fails when verifying my username and password!
This can happen if your account is behind on payments.  If this may be the case, call (877) 372-7704.
Otherwise, verify that your username is all lower-case and has ‘‘ inserted with the username.  See the example below:

Also, do not change any attributes of your PPP dialer, such as Log on to network, Windows domain, and other options.  If you did make changes, please re-create the PPP dialer using the instructions located via the following link labeled ‘How to set up your PPP adapter‘.  Delete the current dialer before you create a new one.  Do this by right-clicking the dialer and clicking the DELETE option.

I cannot connect at 56Kbps and I am randomly getting disconnected!
The FCC regulates optimal connect speeds to 53.3Kbps, but you should be able to connect at approximately 45Kbps assuming that your telephone lines are free of line noise.  Telephone line noise is critical to your connect speed. Marginal lines, or lines that are miles away from the telephone company’s central office, will prevent you from obtaining any speeds at, or near 28.8K. Many areas are plagued with corroded telephone wires and antiquated relays and switches.  Higher connect speeds pass data at higher speeds. The faster the data is traveling, the more susceptible it becomes to line noise.  If you ever hear pops, clicks, or large amounts of static, you will need to get the problem taken care of with the telephone company.  Internet connections via dialup modems are far more sensitive to this type of noise than regular phone calls.

If you are confident that line noise is not an issue, you will need the latest device drivers for your modem to be installed.  A device driver is a program that controls a particular type of hardware device that is attached to your computer.  They are generally free downloads available at the modem manufacturer’s website.  If your computer came included with your computer, such as a Dell, Gateway, HP, etc., the most recent drivers should be available at the computer manufacturer’s website.

Here are some links to several common modem driver manufacturer’s websites:

If speed is not an issue, but you are being disconnect at random times, do you have call-waiting with your telephone service?  If so, you are probably receiving a telephone call while you are on the internet, which will disconnect you from the ISP’s modems if call-waiting is enabled.  To disable call-waiting only when you are on the internet, you will first need to check with your telephone company to see which code disables call-waiting.  it is generally *70, but call to make sure, for it may also be #70.  Enter this code with a comma ( , ) before the telephone number that your computer dials into.  For example, if you are in Cushing and your computer dials 225-8046, your computer should dial *70,225-8046 or #70,225-8046 for call-waiting to be disabled while you are on the internet.