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Windows - No Dial Tone When Dialing into the Modem Pool

This document explains how to troubleshoot Windows when attempts to dial-in to WiscWorld result in a "No Dial Tone" error.

Do you have a Voice Mail message waiting on the line?

If you have Voice Mail from the phone company and a message is waiting, it will cause a stuttered dial tone when you first pick up the phone. This stuttered dial tone can confuse the modem. To resolve this, do one of the following:

Is the phone cable hooked into the correct jack on the computer?

Make sure the phone cable coming from the wall is hooked into the correct jack on the computer:

Is your modem hooked up to a digital phone system?

If you are in the University dorms or most private dorms, this item won't apply to you. However, you may need to dial a special prefix to reach an outside line. See Modem Pool Numbers for more information.

Some office phone systems (PBX, Centrex, etc.) use high voltage digital lines and are incompatible with normal analog modems. Hooking a modem up to them can cause damage to the modem, although there may be be circuitry on the modem to prevent this. Have you or someone else been able to use a modem on these lines before? If you need to dial in from a digital line, there are converters available which allow an analog modem to use digital phone lines.

Check for dial tone with a telephone

There may be a problem with the wall jack, phone cables, or any splitter or surge suppresser which are hooked up in-line. Try the following:

  1. If you use the same line for voice and modem calls, pick up a telephone from another extension and while listening, have the modem try to connect. You should hear the modem click in on the line. If you hear it click in, hang up the phone and let it try to dial in.
  2. Take a phone cable and plug one end directly into the jack on the wall. Plug the other end of the cable into a telephone. (Make sure you don't go through any splitters or surge suppresser).
  3. Pick up the telephone handset and listen for a dial tone.
  4. If you don't hear a dial tone over the telephone, try a different phone cable and/or wall jack. If you do hear a dial tone, unplug the cable from the telephone and plug it back into the modem. Then see if it works.

Configure the modem to ignore dial tone

Note: Do this step only if you're having problems with Voice Mail interfering or if you're certain that the modem is is clicking in on the phone line, but for some reason isn't recognizing the dial tone correctly.

If the modem isn't recognizing the dial tone for some reason, it is possible to configure it to not look for a dial tone. When you hit connect, the modem will proceed to pick up the line and start dialing - even if someone is talking on the phone line or if the phone cable is unplugged.

If you're going to do this, you should insert a comma at the beginning of the number to be dialed. The comma will cause the modem to wait a few seconds before dialing numbers, which will give the dial tone time to normalize. If you're local to Madison, the characters in the number to be dialed field should look like this: ,661-0326. If you have to dial a nine to reach an outside line, it should read ,9,661-0326.

Here's how configure the modem and change the number to be dialed:

Windows 95/98/Me


The Help Desk provides only best effort support for Windows 98/ME.

If we are unable to resolve your Windows 98/ME issue, you may be able to find help at Microsoft's Windows 98 website or their Windows ME website.

These products are non-supported by Microsoft. No further development will take place on these products and security updates are no longer issued. It is highly recommended that you upgrade to Windows XP.


  1. Double-click My Computer.
  2. If you're using 95/98, double-click Dialup Networking.
  3. If you're using Me, double-click Control Panel and then Dialup Networking.
  4. Right-click the connection you use to dial in, and select Properties.
  5. Put a check mark next to "Use area code and Dialing Properties" and insert 608 in "Area Code" blank.

    Windows 98 Dial Properties

  6. Click the Configure button, and then the Connection tab.
  7. Uncheck "Wait for dial tone before dialing".

    Windows 98 Dial Properties

  8. Click OK all the way out.
  9. Then, double-click your connection icon to open up the "Connect to" window.
  10. Click Dial Properties.
  11. Insert two commas in the blank labeled "To access an outside line, dial:".

    Windows 98 Dial Properties

  12. Click OK.
Windows 2000

Note: The screenshots for Windows XP are also applicable to Windows 2000.

  1. Click Start --> Settings --> Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Phone and Modem Options.
  3. Click the Modem tab, select your modem, and click Properties.
  4. Under the "General" tab, uncheck "Wait for dial tone before dialing".
  5. Click OK all the way out.
  6. In the Control Panel, double-click Network and Dialup Connections.
  7. Right-click your connection and select Properties.
  8. Put a check mark in Use Dialing Rules and make sure 608 is listed as Area Code.
  9. Click Rules, select your location, and click Edit
  10. Insert two commas in the blank labeled "To access an outside line for local calls, dial:"
  11. Click OK.
Windows XP
  1. Click Start --> Settings --> Control Panel.
  2. Make sure you are viewing the control panel in Classic View, not Category View, and double-click the "Phone and Modems" icon.
  3. Select the Modem tab.
  4. Check make sure your modem is highlighted, and click on Properties.

    Modem Properties

  5. Select the Modem tab in the Modem Properties window.
  6. Uncheck the Wait for dial tone before dialing box.

    Wait for Dial Tone Option

  7. Click on OK.
  8. Select the Dialing Rules tab.
  9. Make sure your area code is selected, and click Edit.

    Dialing Rules Properties

  10. Insert two commas in the blank labeled To access an outside line for local calls, dial:.

    Dialing Outside Line

  11. Click on OK.
  12. Click on OK.
  13. Close the Control Panel window.

After you have the modem configured to ignore dial tone, try dialing in. If you get an error that the computer you're dialing isn't answering or that the line is busy, have the modem dial in one more time, but listen to what's happening by using another phone on that line. If you don't hear the modem click in on the line and start dialing, there's a chance there's a problem with the modem itself. This can happen from a power surge or lightening strike.




Keywords:modem no dialtone dial tone error 680 windows wiscworld pool
Owner:cagrosspGroup:Help Desk
Created:2001-08-01Updated:2006-11-27

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