Windows 95/98

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Windows 9X Networking

Infrared Support

IrDA Overview

Working with Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft created the Infrared Data Association (IrDA) protocol for data communications over infrared (IR) transmissions. Support for IrDA version 1.0 for Windows 95 was made available to users in the Fall of 1995 and it provided for redirection of virtual serial (COM) and parallel (LPT) ports over an IR link.

IrDA support in Windows 98

Windows 98 supports IrDA 3.0 that includes support for both Serial Infrared Devices (SIR) and Fast Infrared (FIR) devices, which are capable of sending and receiving data at 4Mbps.

Installing Infrared Devices

Configuring an IR device in Windows 98 involves the following two steps:

  1. Installing an IR device
  2. Running the IR Configuration Wizard

Installing an IR Device

To install an IR device:

  • Start the Add New Hardware Wizard in Control Panel
  • Click No when the Add New Hardware Wizard prompts you to have the system automatically detect any new hardware, then click Next.
  • Select Infrared Device, then click Next. This will start the next section, "Add Infrared Device Wizard".

Running the Add Infrared Device Wizard

When you have finished installing your IR device by following the above procedure, the Add Infrared Device Wizard will start automatically. The steps you follow will depend on the type if IR device you are adding

To install a Serial Infrared (SIR) device:
  • When prompted to select the Manufacturer and Model, choose Microsoft as the manufacturer and Standard Infrared Serial (COM) Port as the device, and then click Next.
  • If your transceiver is internal, select Generic Infrared Port; otherwise, select the appropriate transceiver type from the list, and then click Next.
  • Select the port that your device is connected to and click Next.
  • Choose the simulated ports that applications will use to access your IR device. Accept the defaults unless you know that the ports are already in use. Click Next.
  • Click Finish.
  • Windows 98 copies the required files and prompts you to reboot your computer.
To install a Fast Infrared (FIR) device:
  • When prompted to select the Manufacturer and Model, choose the appropriate combination, and then click Next. If your device is not listed, you will need to provide the manufacturer’s driver disk.
  • Additional dialog boxes may appear for further configuration. Refer to your device’s documentation for details.
  • Click Finish.
  • Windows 98 copies the required files and prompts you to reboot your computer.

Configuring Infrared Devices

Infrared Monitor

The user interface for Microsoft Infrared Support is provided in the Infrared Monitor. The first time an application requests the use of one of the virtualized ports, the infrared device is initialized for the current Windows session and the Infrared Monitor is launched. It appears as an animated icon in the system-tray on the Taskbar.

By default, the Infrared Monitor remains minimized unless communication over the infrared link is interrupted. Click once on the system-tray icon to view the interface.

The interface can also be viewed by opening the Infrared icon in Control Panel, which contains the following tabs and options:


This tab provides a range of information about the status and quality of infrared connections. The exact information displayed on the tab at any moment depends on whether any application is using one of the virtualized ports supported by the infrared software.


Enable infrared communication - Enables or disables infrared services on the physical serial port. This solves device-contention problems that arise from Microsoft MS-DOS® and other applications seeking to use the physical port while the infrared services are enabled.

Search for and provide status for devices in range - Starts or stops the infrared device’s ability to detect other devices that are in range. This solves the problem of constant detection of an irrelevant device.

Limit connection speed - Select this check box and then select a speed from the drop-down list to configure the maximum speed for the infrared device. By default, communication is done at the highest speed possible. Limiting the speed may improve communication by eliminating numerous retries.

Enable software install for Plug and Play devices in range - Enables or disables Microsoft Infrared Support software from automatically configuring a device across the infrared communication link when the computer comes into range of a new Plug and Play device. This solves the problem of accidentally installing unwanted software, especially for a device that frequently comes into range.

Restore defaults - Restores settings to the following defaults: infrared communication enabled on the user-defined serial port; device-searching enabled at 3-second intervals; automatic driver installation enabled for detected Plug and Play devices; and connection speed permitted at the highest rate possible.

Note: Previous versions of IrDA would allow a customer to change the Com port that the device was connected to through this property sheet. Due to IrLan being removed from Windows 98, this functionality is no longer available. To change the Com port for the infrared device, the device must be removed and reinstalled.


Display the infrared icon in the taskbar Determines whether or not the infrared icon displays in the system tray. When the taskbar icon is disabled the Infrared Monitor can still be opened from Control Panel.

Open Infrared Monitor for interrupted communication When infrared communication is interrupted, the Infrared Monitor will be opened.

Play sounds for devices in range and interrupted communication Determines whether or not sounds will be played for the various infrared events.


Computer name Enter a name for the computer in this box. If the computer already has a name assigned, it appears here by default.

Computer description Enter a description of the computer in this box. If the computer already has a description assigned, it appears here by default

Microsoft Infrared Transfer

Transferring files through an infrared connection in Windows required a Direct Cable Connection (via infrared) to be established between the sender and the receiver.

Windows 98, while still supporting this method, introduces Infrared Transfer, a new application for transferring files through an infrared connection.

Using Infrared Transfer

When an infrared device has been installed, an icon called Infrared Recipient is added to My Computer, and a shortcut to it is added to the C:\Windows\Send To folder. This shortcut adds an item to the Send To menu option that appears when you right-click a file or folder.

The first time Infrared Transfer is used to send a file or folder, a folder called My Received Files is created, and all files or folders sent will be copied to this folder. If a file or folder is sent that already exists in the My Received Files folder, a copy of the file or folder is made.

Transferring Files or Folders Over an Infrared Connection

Use the following methods to transfer files or folders over an infrared connection:

Infrared Recipient
  • In My Computer, double-click Infrared Recipient.
  • Select an available infrared device.
  • Click Send Files.
  • Select the files to send.
  • Click Open.
Send To
  • Select the files you want to send.
  • Right-click the selected files and then point to Send To.
  • Click Infrared Recipient.
Drag and Drop

If there is only a single infrared device in range:

  • Select files you want to send.
  • Drag and then drop files onto the Infrared Recipient icon in My Computer.
  • If there is more than one infrared device in range:
  • In My Computer, open Infrared Recipient.
  • Select an available infrared device.
  • In Windows Explorer, select files you want to send.
  • Drag and then drop files onto the computer selected in Available devices within range.

IrDA Support Issues

If you are having problems with infrared communications, check the following items:

Distance between IR adapters

Try moving the devices closer together. Make sure that there are no obstructions between the devices.

Application set to use virtual IR port

Ensure that the application you are using is configured for the virtual port, not the physical port that the infrared device is attached to.

Verify IR adapter settings

Open the Infrared Monitor and verify that all of the settings are correct.

Alignment between IR adapters

Infrared devices produce an "arc" of infrared light. This arc is usually between 15 and 30 degrees. Try re-aligning the devices so that they fall within this arc.

Interference with IR transmission

Direct sunlight contains infrared light and can cause degradation of the infrared signal between devices. If this occurs, try blocking the sunlight or move the devices closer together.