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Please check this page (it's updated regularly) before e-mailing me so I can avoid answering questions I've already done so here. If you're curious about new features and their timeline check to see what's planned.

(Items recently added or updated are marked with )

F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)


  1. Will Call Trace always be freeware?
    You bet! There are so many generous people out there who offer their time to create free products or services. This is my way of giving something back.

  2. Do you have plans on releasing the source code?
    I won't rule this out as a possibility, but it definitely won't happen in the foreseeable future.

Operating System

  1. Which operating systems does Call Trace support?
    Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000 and XP. Windows NT 4.0 is not supported.

  2. Do you plan support for NT 4.0?
    No. Upgrade to Windows 2000 or XP.

  3. Caller ID does not become available until the end of the second ring even though my unit from the phone company shows it between the first and second rings.
    This issue affects both the original and OSR2 releases of Windows 95. It has been resolved with Windows 98 and higher. As a workaround for Windows 95, enable the 'Manually decode caller ID data' feature in the Modem Setup dialog.

  4. Why won't Call Trace run under Windows 2000 or XP? It complains about insufficient write permissions and then quits.
    On an NTFS partition, Call Trace requires that the current user have write access to the 'ctrace.ini' file and the entire 'db' folder that reside under the Call Trace root directory.

  5. I've upgraded to a newer version of Windows. Call Trace no longer displays caller ID.
    The default drivers that Windows has installed for your modem do not properly support caller ID. Check your modem manufacturer's web site for updated drivers.
Types of Caller ID Support

  1. Is Call Waiting ID supported?
    No. Call Waiting ID (or 'visual call waiting') enables caller ID information to be transmitted while you're on the phone along with the call waiting notification beep. Unfortunately this requires special hardware support (even the original caller ID units did not support this). I'm not aware of any modems that support call waiting ID at this time.

  2. Is Internet Call Waiting supported?
    No. Internet Call Waiting allows a caller to surf the internet (via dial-up) and receive notification of incoming calls (along with the caller's name/number) on the same line. The caller then has the option of answering the call (hence disconnecting his internet connection) or to keep surfing. The new V.92 protocol standardizes some of this functionality, and I'm looking into whether or not incorporating it into Call Trace is at all possible. If you have any information about its implementation, please contact me.

  3. Can Call Trace reveal PRIVATE (blocked) or OUT OF AREA calls?
    No. Call Trace relies on the caller ID data sent by the phone company. PRIVATE calls are blocked by the caller by choice and OUT OF AREA calls are usually long distance or international calls. Most phone companies have features (disabled by default) that force private callers to unblock their phone numbers before calling you.


  1. What countries are supported?
    Any country is supported just as long as your modem hardware supports your phone company's caller ID standard:

    Bellcore - used in US, Canada, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Italy. Most modems support this standard.

    BT - used in UK (by British Telecom). The UK Cable companies use the ETSI or Bellcore standard!).
    PMC Electronics and Hayes Europe modems support the standard empoyed by British Telecom.

    DTMF - used in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Holland, Brazil, Uruguay, Iceland
    Intertex offers modems (also known as PowerBit or Telia) that are compatible with the DTMF (and Bellcore) standards. Check section 3.1.1 of their FAQ to find an Intertex retailer in your country.

    ETSI - used in France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Turkey, South Africa. Not quite sure which modems support this (the Intertex modems might).

  2. Advent Instruments Inc. has a comprehensive list of the Bellcore, DTMF, ETSI, and NNT caller ID standards and the respective countries they're employed in.
  3. Rochelle Communications also has a list of different countries and their respective caller ID standards.
  4. Customizable formatting options are available for areas which differ from the North American standard of representing phone numbers, i.e. (123) 456-7890

    I'd love to hear about your experiences with caller ID in different countries. Please contact me if you're outside North America.

  5. Why am I able to get the caller's name, but not the number? (Canada)
    Certain provinces in Canada use a non-standard form of caller ID which causes problems which some modem (e.g. Rockwell) chipsets. This is a hardware issue.

    As a workaround, enable the 'Manually decode caller ID data' feature in the Modem Setup dialog. This will enable Call Trace to decode both the name and number for each call.

    - USR/3COM Sportster Voice/Courier modems are smart enough to decode complete caller ID information, despite the different format.
    - British Columbia is not affected by this issue.

  6. Why is the caller's number not displayed correctly? (Europe, Canada)
    Some countries have phone numbers that exceed 10 digits which aren't handled properly by Windows 95. Download and install the Unimodem V driver update from Microsoft. To see if you need the update check your Unimodem Version in the Modem Setup dialog. If it is then you require the update. Do not download this update if you're running Windows 98 (or higher). You're already running a newer version!

Modem Setup

  1. Does my modem support caller ID?
    • Please check your product manual or web site. If you're having trouble finding your manufacturer's web site, check the Driver Zone.
    • Alternatively, the Modem Setup dialog should tell you right away if your modem drivers support caller ID. However, this is not a clear indication of caller ID support. If you have the wrong drivers installed then your modem can claim to support caller ID even if it doesn't or vice versa. If in doubt, update your drivers (see below).
    • ISDN modems are supported only if they send caller ID information to their analog ports.
    • To date, no ADSL modems support voice or caller ID features. I'm not sure if this is even possible.

  2. Caller ID does not appear AT ALL on incoming calls!
    1. Make sure you subscribe to caller ID from your phone company.
    2. Make sure your modem supports caller ID (see above for details).
    3. Make sure that Call Trace does not warn you of any problems in the Modem Setup. If any problems are detected, click HELP on the modem dialog and make sure to read the relevant sections carefully to help you troubleshoot!
    4. Obtain the latest modem drivers (.inf files) from your manufacturer's web site and install them (see below). If you have a USR/3COM modem, read further below.
    5. Try enabling the 'manually decode caller ID data' feature in the Modem Setup. Check the MODEM LOG (under the View menu) to see if any raw data is being sent to the modem (after an incoming call). If caller ID is being sent to the Modem Log and Call Trace isn't decoding it properly, contact me.
    6. Place several calls to your line to see if the problem isn't sporadic (see next question).

    If you get past all these steps and still no success, it's possible that your modem's caller ID support is not working (see next question).

  3. Caller ID does not appear consistently on incoming calls.
    First check the location portion of this FAQ to make sure your problem isn't telco related. Other than that most likely you modem's caller ID support is flaky. This is really frustrating as many modems advertise caller ID support but don't always work 100%. Newer models seem much more reliable however. This doesn't always have to be the case! You're best off testing a (known) working modem in your own system if you're thinking about replacing your own card!

  4. Caller ID is only available on the first call.
    Try enabling the 'Reinitialize line after every call' feature in the Modem Setup.

  5. I have a USR/3COM voice modem. My modem hardware supports caller ID but I can't get it to work.
    Sportster Voice and Courier modems actually have excellent caller ID support. Unfortunately they're plagued with driver issues. Windows didn't ship with caller ID compliant drivers until Windows 98 Second Edition, so users were forced to download them from the USR web site. Furthermore several early versions of their drivers had buggy caller ID implementations.

    Most USR/3COM modems support caller ID, including all the Sportster Vi and Voice models, Courier models, and many of the non-voice modems (such as the 56K Performance Pro Modem, 56K Internal PCI Winmodem, External V.92 Faxmodem etc.)

    USR Sportster Voice 33.6/56k - USR's latest drivers are work fine, but they only started shipping with Windows starting from Windows 98 Second Edition. If you are running Windows 95 or the original release of Windows 98, you can obtain updated drivers from the USR support site.

    USR Sportster Vi 14.4/28.8/33.6 - These modems have been long discontinued but 3COM never bothered to fix their .inf files for caller ID support (they also like to ignore e-mail to tech support). I have modified a version of their .inf files here (3KB).

    Other USR 56K and V.92 modems - If your version of Windows does not have proper support for these models, you'll have to obtain updated drivers from the USR support site.

  6. How do I update my modem's drivers?
    1. Download the latest drivers for your modem from your manufacturer's web site (the Driver Zone might help). In some cases the drivers will be packaged as an EXE or ZIP file. If necessary extract these files to a temporary directory or floppy (c:\windows\temp\ for example).
    2. Through the START menu, choose SETTINGS -> CONTROL PANEL. From there open the SYSTEM applet.
    3. Click on the DEVICE MANAGER tab and expand the MODEM selection (under Windows 2000 or XP, the device manager is accessible through the HARDWARE tab). Right-click on your specific modem and choose select PROPERTIES.
    4. Under the DRIVER tab click UPDATE DRIVER. If prompted, choose the option to 'display a list of drivers in a specific location so you can select the driver you want.'
    5. After Windows builds the driver database you will be presented with a list of modems. Click on the HAVE DISK button. You will be prompted to enter the location of your drivers. Choose the directory where your (extracted) drivers reside and click OK.
    6. Select your specific modem model (be careful to choose the right one!) and click OK to update your drivers (ignore any warning messages about the driver not matching your hardware configuration).
    7. If you're still running Call Trace select the SETUP -> REINITIALIZE MODEM menu command. Proceed to the SETUP -> MODEM dialog to ensure everything is okay.

Call Log

  1. Is there a limit to how many calls I can log?
    Not really (the theoretical limit is 200 million). Furthermore, logging calls does not take up much disk space. 10,000 calls occupies just under 1.5 megs (i.e. one 3.5" floppy disk). The call log can store names up to 20 characters and numbers up to 15 characters long. It lets you browse through your most recent calls (last 30, 90, or 180 days), all calls, or gives you direct access to a specified range of dates. Future releases will offer advanced search capabilities.

  2. Where is the call log stored?
    Call Trace stores all incoming calls in a database. To save your call log, backup the entire Call Trace\db directory. All other program settings are stored in the Call Trace\ctrace.ini file. The database format is proprietary, but you have the option to export your calls in text or HTML format.


  1. Why is there a delay in displaying the popup window and announcing the caller's number?
    If your system is busy (multitasking) during an incoming call then notification might be slightly delayed. Selecting 'Give Call Trace high process priority' in the SETUP -> PROGRAM OPTIONS dialog should help.

  2. Is the sleep mode Call Trace's way of setting notification schedules?
    No. The sleep mode is used to selectively disable specific notification types until a set time. When I go to bed, I turn off my ringer and put Call Trace in sleep mode to disable sound notification until it's time for me to get up. That way, morning phone calls don't wake me up! Actual notification schedules will be implemented in a future release.

  3. Does Call Trace support more than 1 line?
    Not at this time. Furthermore, Call Trace does not allow you to run more than one instance of itself so is always restricted to 1 line. The database structure has been designed with multiple line support in mind however, so should a future release support 2 (or more) lines the existing caller ID log can be used seamlessly.


    If you're looking to troubleshoot your modem setup, click here.

  1. Why are my toolbar and system tray icons invisible?
    You have an old version of the Windows common control library. You can download an update from Microsoft.

(Copyright 1998-2003. May not be reproduced in part or whole without written consent of Arash Ramin)

Last updated April 16, 2003