- Computers & Software»
- Computer How-Tos & Tutorials
Computer is Slow? Fix it and Make it Faster! Improve the Computers Internet Performance.
My computer is slow.
My Computer is slow on the Internet and just slow overall.
It is often a misconception that purchasing a faster Internet will speed up your computer. Hooking your computer to a fast connection does not make the performance of the computer any faster. In fact, if your computer is slow it make your Internet connection seem slower.
Most common issues that can cause a slow computer:
- Low Disk Space
- Disk Fragmentation
- Low Memory
- Viruses, Mal-ware or Spy-ware
- Firewall / Antivirus protection issues
Microsoft has put together a great and easy to follow page on How to Make your Computer Faster that covers all of the issues above. Their suggestions can make a dramatic difference in the speed of the computer. If it turns out that the speed of the computer was the only issue, this may fix the problem. Make sure everything checks out.
Wired connection fast but wireless slow?
It may not be an issue with the computer if it can achieve the speed wired with an Ethernet Cable. It sounds more like a wireless issue but performing the steps recommended from Microsoft is still a good idea. There are many things you can do to improve your slow wireless issue. I have a hub dedicated to slow wireless issues that may be of further assistance.
Wired and wireless connections slow.
The first things you need to ask yourself are:
- Did you properly run a speed test? (hard-wired directly to the modem)
- Are able to reach your subscribed Internet speed with any other computer hard-wired directly to the modem?
- If you can not reach the speed with any computers in the house, did the ISP's Internet technician come out, and with their computer, prove that the speed is achievable?
Note: If your ISP is providing, but not delivering the speeds you are paying for, fixing the computer with a bad Internet connection will not make much difference on Internet performance.
What is making my Internet so slow on my computer?
Fix my slow computer. It is not the ISP.
OK. At this point, you should have ruled out an issue with the ISP, so we know it is a network issue.
Here are things to check:
- Is the computer slow overall?
- Have you tried to run a continuous ping?
- Have you checked the network adapter settings?
- Have you tried a different network cable?
I will cover each of these topics below in more detail.
Detecting an Intermittent Connection
Ping Command Switches.
Note: The -t tells the ping command to run non-stop until you terminate it. This will send the default 32 Byte data packets. If you want to add a little more payload as a test, you can also add a -l 1024. That bumps up the data packet size from 32 Bytes of data to 1Mb. You can get a list of the available ping commands and what they do in the Command or Dos window by typing in ping -?. Obviously, pinging with larger packets of data will display higher reply times.
Running a continuous Ping with the Ping Command.
Having an intermittent connectivity issue causes web pages to partially load, load painfully slow or fail to load all together.
Here is a great way to see if the slow speed issue is due to an intermittent connection. There is a DOS command called the Ping command.
Do you remember the cell phone commercial that kept asking, can you hear me now?
Basically that is what the Ping command does. It can ask another networked device (such as a web server on the Internet) repeatedly if it can hear you. You then, hopefully, get lots of replies back. It will also include a measure of how much time that whole ask and answer process took round trip from start to finish.
If there is an intermittent connection issue, this will make it apparent and provide proof you are looking for or can eliminate the connectivity as the issue.
Let's see if you have an intermittent connection:
In Windows, to use the Ping command, you have to be at the DOS or Command Window.
- Click your Start Button
- Click on Run. If your version of Windows does not have Run, do this in the search box. You want to type CMD and press Enter.
- You should now be at a screen with a black background and white letters.
- Type in "ping" & the name of a website & " -t" and press Enter.
Example: ping google.com -t
You should now be getting a never ending list of "Reply From..." commands. What we hoping not to see are "Request Time Out" statements or "Destination Host Unreachable" statements to pop in there or to see high very high response times. Those are all bad. The time= value will change nearly every time because this is measured in milliseconds (or thousandths of a second). I would be concerned with numbers at around 150 or higher.
If the Ping command is returning unfavorable results, I would next try to wiggle the network cable to see if it makes a difference. You may also want to try another Ethernet cable altogether. If you have a modem with a built in wireless router (has multiple Ethernet jacks in the back), I would unplug all other devices and make sure you turn off all wireless devices to see if the time or intermittent issue corrects itself. If it does, another device on the network is causing an issue. This could be caused by a bad setting or bad wireless adapter, a bad network card, bad Ethernet Cable or possibly a bad modem or Internet connection. I will cover settings in a moment.
You can let the Ping command run as long as you like. When you are finished just click close the window or do a CNTRL and C and it will stop the Ping process.
If I was getting unfavorable results, that would tell you that it is having trouble communicating to Google. The next thing I would try to do is to Ping to either the modem or the router. See if on your network it has issues. You would do this the same as the above, but instead of putting a web site in there, you would use the IP address of the modem or router.
Most often it is one of these:
Just try each one until you find one that replies. If it is a Netgear router, you can also login by using routerlogin.net in the web address bar. Here are some more suggestions if 192.168.1.1 is not working. If it is a Netgear router and routerlogin.net is not working, here are some suggestions.
If you get good solid pings, your connection from that computer to the modem/router is good, it may be an issue with the ISP's connection.
Watch your Speed and Duplex
AutoNegotiate choosing a bad speed and duplex
Nearly all network cards (wired and wireless) choose the speed and duplex they will operate automatically. It's called AutoNegotiate. Basically, say you have a wired network card capable of doing 1GB (1000 Mbps) and a router capable of 1GB as well. They should both discover that they are capable of doing 1GB and both agree to communicate at that speed. If one of the devices is 1GB and the other is 10/100 Mbps device, then both devices should negotiate to work at 100 Mbps speed (the fastest speed at which both can operate). And in a perfect world things run smoothly.
AutoNegotiate has an issue though. Although the idea and concept is universal through the industry, there is no set standard for how exactly it is to ask. Sometimes the way that the question is worded is not understood by the other device. Then out of desperation to at least work, it guesses on a speed and duplex. Some times it picks a speed slower than what is possible for both to operate as there is a greater chance that the other device will support it, or picks the incorrect duplex.
Again there is no set standard, so it is up to each manufacture how their device responds. Now with the duplex, here is where it gets interesting. Most of the time, you would want full duplex (talking and listening at the same time). With all the computers on full duplex, things work like clockwork. If just one computer in the house is set to half duplex, the type of transmission from that one computer does not mesh with the others. With it operating on a different timing, it causes what is referred to as a data collisions.
Just imagine a malfunctioning traffic light and cars crashing into each other. Not only will it affect the speed of this computer, but when on your network with other devices, will affect the other devices speeds as well. After all, it is crashing into the data of other devices as well and all devices have to try again. Some of that data will make it thorough and a portion could collide again and the process starts again. This could be happening hundreds or thousands of times a second.
How to fix it? I usually manually set the speed. Here is how:
- Click the Start Button.
- Right Click either Computer or My Computer.
- Choose Properties.
- Choose Device Manager (some versions of Windows it may be under the Hardware tab).
- Look for the Network Adapters section and double click to expand open.
- Look for the wired network and open it.
- Click on the Advanced tab.
- Click on Speed & Duplex under Properties.
- Check the Value section.
I have seen where the setting was also manually set to the wrong setting. If it is on AutoNegotiate, I would manually set it to the fastest speed on the list with full duplex (assuming that the router/modem is capable of that speed) and you may have better results.
Note: You may notice the color of the LED on the network card or on the modem or router change. There is no set standard for the colors either or anything stating that the color needs to change. You could look up the modem, router or network card online to find out what speeds get what colors.
Fast Network Adapter, an Inexpensive Upgrade
View My Other Technical Articles
- mybestreviews on HubPages
I have always enjoyed working with computers and technology. I grew up using a Commodore 64 with a plug in external modem. With that I ran a dialup...