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Internet Explorer can automatically dial a connection if you use dial-up to connect to the internet. Having it automatically dial a connection can get in the way, though. Here's how to turn that off.
I have a laptop with Win2k Pro installed and totally patched re critical updates and AV software and firewall. At home I have a 56k dial-up connection which I use very often. Today, for the first time ever, I installed a Sandisk combo 128mb Compact Flash card and Wi-Fi card - 802.11b grade. I went to a local free cybercafe and ran through the process of setting up the Wi-Fi and connecting. All went well.
The last instruction from Sandisk was open IE and start to browse. Well, every time I opened IE, it wanted to connect via the 56k dial-up connection. The only way I could get the Wi-Fi to work was to delete the 56k connection from the settings area on the laptop. As soon as I deleted that connection, the Wi-Fi worked very well. So the basic question is: Is there an inherent conflict here?
Not a conflict as much as a configuration issue.
Internet Explorer is trying to be helpful. And, while that works in many cases, being helpful can also get in the way.
But it's easy to fix.
In an effort to make dialing up easier, Internet Explorer (and Outlook Express, by the way) will automatically do it for you if it sees there's no dial-up connection when it starts. Fire up Internet Explorer, and "all the right things" just happen, and you're connected and surfing in a single step.
That made a lot sense when dial-up was the most common mechanism to connect to the internet. These days with always-on and other types of connections, it can get in the way.
As you're experiencing.
To turn it off, fire up Internet Explorer (cancelling any attempts to dial on the way):
Click on the Tools menu
Click on the Internet Options menu item
Click on the Connections tab
You should now see something very similar to this:
In the center of that dialog box you'll see the option that allows you to control when IE (and Outlook Express) should dial a connection for you.
Personally, I recommend Never dial a connection. This puts you in control of when the dial-up connection is to be made.
If you've been relying on IE or OE to dial the phone for you, to dial the phone now you can right click on your dialup connection in the Network Connections section of Control Panel:
And click on the Connect menu item. To disconnect, that right click on that again, and you'll see that there is a Disconnect item.
If you do this often, you can create a shortcut to that network connection on your desktop or start menu simply by dragging and dropping it on to either. Right click on that shortcut, and you'll see the Connect item.
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