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Here are some frequently asked questions about...
the "Disconnect if Idle" feature in Internet dial-up programs.
Different dialer programs refer to this feature by phrases such as:
  • Disconnect if idle for ## minutes
  • Disconnect after ## minutes of inactivity
  • SLIP inactivity timeout (minutes) ##
The ## refers to the number of minutes. For the sake of clarity, we will refer to this feature throughout this FAQ as the "Disconnect if Idle" feature.

Why would I use this option?

    This option can be used as a backup system in case you forget to disconnect from the Internet. Or it can be used to force the computer to disconnect itself after completing a large download, if the computer is unattended at this time.

Why should I not use this option?
    Sometimes your computer is not idle, even when you think it is. So, if your computer is not really idle, it will not disconnect itself.

How do I change the "Disconnect if Idle" option?
I have my "Disconnect if Idle" option checked and set to 20 minutes, but it did not disconnect. Why?
    It is likely that your computer had automatic processes and/or scheduled updates which took place often enough so that your connection was never idle for 20 minutes. This option only works if no information is transmitted through the Internet connection. If your e-mail program (for example) was set to check mail automatically every 5 minutes, then your connection would never be idle for 20 minutes; it would be used every 5 minutes when your e-mail program checked for new mail.

What are automatic processes?
    Automatic processes are tasks that are perfomed automatically by the computer, without the user commanding the computer to do that task each time. An example of an automatic process is checking for new e-mail. Most e-mail programs have a setting you can enable that tells the e-mail program to check for e-mail automatically. This usually happens as soon as you open the e-mail program, and then every 5 minutes after that (or whatever number of minutes it is set for). Another example is ICQ. You can enable a setting in ICQ which also checks your e-mail for you as soon as the program opens.

What are scheduled updates?
    Programs sometimes perform scheduled updates. Anti-virus programs must be updated frequently, in order to keep their virus/innoculation information up to date.

    If your computer is turned on while you are not in front of it, these types of programs may dial for you, and get the information the program is looking for, but not disconnect you (Computers aren't always as smart as you think they are!)

How can I tell if I have automatic processes or scheduled updates on my computer?
    Learn about your programs. Read the Help files, FAQs and visit the program's web site to know more about features such as these. Call our Technical Support department for help in hecking Internet program settings.

How do I prevent my computer from dialing up all by itself again?
    The first, best, and most obvious solution is to manually disconnect from the Internet yourself. It is also a good idea to turn off the power to your computer when you are finished working on it.

I have more questions. Who do I call?

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