On 3/29, I was online with a laptop (Windows 7 Home Premium, Service Pack 1,
HP Compaq Presario) during a storm and my power went off momentarily. I turned
everything off after that. Everything worked the next morning, but it would not
detect a dial tone. I can do anything I want except get online. I only have
dial-up available here.
I’ve tested every phone jack, cord, and phone, and everything is working. My
laptop just won’t dial up. It just hums while going through every phone number
and says “no dial tone”. I unplugged the phone and hooked it up to that
connection and it still says “no dial tone”. I’ve rebooted many times. I even
did a restore but I can’t get it to pick a date for 3/29. It will only go back
to 3/30. I’m using my desktop to find out what I have to do. I hope you can
In this excerpt from
Answercast #14, I look at the fact that hardware breaks, explore ways to
figure out if this is what happened, and talk about how to protect against this
sort of problem in the future.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
Fundamentally, this feels like something in the laptop broke. My guess is
that something in the laptop’s modem (the device into which the phone line
plugs into) has broken.
Perhaps it took a power spike. Perhaps there was some form of static or
some other kind of electrical damage that caused the laptop’s modem to get
Don’t forget to look at hardware
This is one of the things that, I think, people tend to not think about. I
actually have an article on it called, “Hardware Can Break.”
- The fact is: it’s not always software.
Software definitely has its share of problems; don’t get me wrong. But,
very often it is hardware, especially in a situation like this where you’re
dealing with a power storm or a storm that had a power issue… and now all of
a sudden, after that, a modem doesn’t work.
You’ve got a working phone line, you’ve tested it on all of the possible plugs.
It sounds like the hardware is busted.
The only solution that I am aware of is to have that hardware repaired. What
that’s going to take for your Presario? I honestly don’t know. I would get in
touch with HP/Compaq and see what kind of options they have for that particular
Chances are the modem may be a replaceable module. I know that it is on
some of my Dells and I’m hoping it is on yours. In which case, it’s probably
something you can safely replace yourself.
Whether it’s going to cost you money or not will depend on whether or not
you’re in warranty; or whether or not the warranty even covers this kind of
What I would suggest in the future, if you are in a lightning or storm-prone
area, is to get yourself a surge protector.
That not only protects the power (which typically isn’t quite as necessary
for a laptop), but it also allows you to run the phone line through surge
protection in that device.
Typically, a surge protector will not only have power plugs, but will also
have a couple of plugs where you can plug in the phone line. You then plug the
protector into your laptop. That will protect the device (your laptop) from
those unexpected power spikes that sometimes come across phone lines.
But, to me that’s what this smells like. I think you have a broken modem and
you need to go out and get it fixed.