2006/09/15

The Stinkin' Modem...

It's unbelievable that five days of system troubleshooting and not being able to send email was all due to a miserable malfunctioning modem.

More discussions today with my friend's ISP (see yesterday's post) led quickly to the conclusion that they had absolutely no suggestions for resolving the problem of being able to browse the web but not being able to send mail from his office using Outlook Express. The best they could do was suggest the computer be brought to their offices for troubleshooting. The ISP said they had no alternate SMTP server for us to try as a troubleshooting tool. Seems odd an ISP would have access to only one SMTP server.

The computer was running as well as it could be made to do (MS updates, malware scans, email virus scanner off, prefetch and temp folders all cleaned out, defragged, etc). The router was brand new. The laptop which could not send email via Outlook Express from the office had been taken home and worked fine sending emails from home via Outlook Express. So after verifying the computer still would not send email via Outlook Express this afternoon, the ISP was called and asked if a different modem could be borrowed from them to try for getting email working, even though they had tested the modem being used and said it worked fine.

The modem was picked up from the ISP and installed. Office computer was turned on. Outlook Express was opened and a test email was written to send to the friend's work email address. Not expecting anything good, the Send button was clicked.

The email was sent fine. No problem.

The ISP employee who had loaned the spare modem and worked with us throughout the five days to troubleshoot the problem was called. Upon being told the problem had been resolved and Outlook Express could now send email simply because the modem had been replaced, she said, "That's good."

When it was suggested she find new methods for verifying whether a modem was working properly because she had tested and ok'd the bad modem, she told me,

"Oh, I didn't check to make sure it would send email."

She had been told the office computer could access the web but not send email with Outlook Express! There's a good possibility the total hours spent working on this problem and probable lost business will be added up and an invoice for the total cost sent to the ISP...

The true meaning of "double check everything" hit home on this one.

*****

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