Why Is My Computer So Slow?

I have a Compaq Pesario that is about a year old, Windows 95, a 56k modem, and I use Inernet Exlporer.

It takes 1 to 3 minutes for a simple page to load. What’s wrong?

It sounds like your registry’s MTU settings may be messed up. I have a Presario (model 2100) with a 133 MHz Pentium. While I didn’t have trouble with slow page loads until I tried messing with the MTU settings (which I promply changed back) I used to have a lot of crashes with it- illegal instructions, GDI crashes, blue screens, all the time. I had to reboot about once a day. Then I went to Compaq’s web site and downloaded the latest updates. There is one update they have that fixes a bunch of registry settings that were not set correctly at the factory. Now it works like a charm. (Even though charms don’t really work.)

Might be that your local phone lines and switches can’t facilitate your modem’s potential. I had a 56k modem and could never log on faster than 26k BPS. I e-mailed Earthlink and they blamed my local phone lines.

I’ve got a cable modem now and can download pages 10 times faster. (280k BPS, I think.) Huge difference. I used to actually play computer solitare while waiting for a page to load.

It’s a piece of crap?
Don’t worry, they all are. Computers I mean, no particular brand, mine’s a bugzapper hanging out on the porch. Hasn’t caught squat yet.

It takes several minutes for a page to load eh?
Could be hardware, could be software, could be net.

How do you check for each particular piece of the ‘problem’?

  1. Well, the hardware operates right? You dial up and connect obviously. Does all your other non-online software operate with a speed that you consider adequate, or does all of it run slow too? If all of your software is slow, you may just need more subjective speed. Once you get used to fast, you want faster. Have you actually timed a web pages loading speed with a watch, or does it just ‘seem’ slow?

  2. Software. Is the modem optimized to work with the software? Is it set in control panel to use a higher speed than the puny default settings? I’ll assume that Compaq shipped it fully set up, but not set up for any software changes that you may have made afterward. Did you install a later version of IE than the one already installed?
    If so, you may have to go back and restore the more optimum settings. You see, most newer software may check for your current settings, but then want to overwrite the settings that are the best for you. They tend to go for the lowest common denominator.

  3. Net. You got a slow line that can’t handle your modem speed, even though it may tell you you connected fast. (Yep, they do lie, sorry.) Try another access number if one is available. Call a LD one if necessary, the goal here is to determine the problem source, not to lay blame.

Traffic. Sometime the net just runs slow, traffic meaning everybody and their brother is logged on right now, and the system just gets slow. Or at least your piece of it.
Do all pages load slow, or just some?
The more enhanced tricked out, java’d shockwaved .giffed etc. they are, the slower they load.

ok, summation,
troubleshoot the easy and the obvious first

  1. is it subjective speed? get a faster computer, or live with it.
  2. check your modem settings in control panel, set (or re-set) them to allow the maximum connect speed of which your modem is capable, and if possible, use the actual drivers supplied by the manufacturer, rather than the generic hayes drivers that a lot of programs like to use. A mismatch here won’t kill your connection, but it won’t be optimum either.
  3. as earlier, dirty substandard lines, or traffic, result in slower connections.
    I doubt however that too many isp’s would try to sell shoddy connections.
    So it must be traffic.

Also, clean out your temp cache files, (located in the IE menu bar somewhere
and defrag your HD. (located in system tools){in fact, that could be the simple easy fix, for several reasons}

None of the above suggested things will damage your system. They are simply the first places to look. Get a knowledgable friend to help, if possible. Then when you screw it up to point where not even hard wiring it to the closest lamp post will make the power switch light up, then you can truly say; I fixed it myself! Imagine the pride! Or lay blame at will!

But still… not responsible, park & lock it.
(not available in sectors M and N, after curfew)


If you are still having troubles, email me, and I’ll try to help. My address is up there by my name somewhere…

People tend to forget that they aren’t connecting straight to the straight dope computer but thru a series of network hubs and computers. ANY of these could be the cause of the slowness.

Just wait another day, try again–before messing with those MTU things.

The little computer icon in the corner of my screen says I’m running at 44,000 bps. My internet settings seem to be correct. It has my 56k modem listed.

I emptied the temporary internet files, and I defragmented my disk (God, that took a long time) and it seems to be a little quicker.

I’m sort of afraid to change any settings. The last time I did that, my computer refused to allow me to sign on, saying that another program was using the modem. Called my service provider, and they said “Well, I dunno . . . why don’t you call Compaq?” I called Compaq three times, getting a different and incorrect answer ever time, but during the last call, I was able to get my modem back. I’ve had more problems with this computer than I care to list.

Sometimes, it’s faster than others, but it’s generally pretty slow. I downloaded Webcelerator to try and speed it up, but all I got was a lot of frustration, so I finally uninstalled it.

I think it may be the phone lines as well. The local phone company isn’t exactly technologically advanced.

I think I may just have to live with it. Thanks for your help, guys.

ISP tech support people are not always stupid but I’ve run into some that would need to be watered if they were any dumber. My ISP hangs up on me whenever I check mail, and it doesn’t matter which email client I use. It’s obviously a problem on their end. So I called them, and the guy asked,
“What email client are you using?”
I said, “Outlook 98”.
“Sorry, we can’t help you. We only support Outlook Express. Bye…click

But Compaq tech support is even worse. I downloaded some updated drivers for my sound card, and they didn’t work. So I called Compaq to ask what I should do- and the lady actually told me to format my hard drive, and restore the original drive image from the QuickRestore CD that comes with the computer. (I didn’t follow her advice, and soon fixed it myself by finding an older copy of the drivers, sitting in a directory of some NT machine in Estonia of all places.) Later I heard similar stories from people with little computer problems who called Compaq and were told to reformat their hard drives. It seems to be Compaq policy for their tech support to give this standard piece of awful advice if they don’t know how to fix your problem.

There’s always the solution that involves feathers and chicken bones, and dancing by the light of the full moon while reciting incantations. It may not be 100%, but it works way better than relying on tech support lines.

I often wonder why I make my living with computers when I hate the damned things so much.

Y…o…u…r… c…o…m…p…u…t…e…r

i.s… s… lo…w…?
Did you try the Turbo switch?

I blame Bill Gates for everything, including DOS

I was going to mention this and I forgot-
If you want to find out how many hops there are between you and a remote server, go to a DOS prompt and type this in:
tracert www.straightdope.com
If you are at a Unix prompt, it’s “traceroute”. If it doesn’t work on your computer, you can try http://consumer.net/tracert.asp
This will provide a picture of how data is traveling between you and the remote system. It’s useful for seeing the structure of the net, diagnosing slow connections, and finging out who is providing Internet access to spammers.
It works by sending a packet with a short “time to live”. When a router on the way to the remote computer comes across a packet after its time to live has expired, it sends a message notifying the originating system. When you invoke traceroute, it fires off a bunch of packets with varying “expiration dates”, which die at different points along the journey. By watching who notifies you of your dead packets, you can figure out what path your connection is making. For example, my connection from my own ISP (hhs.net) to www.straightdope.com looks like this:
C:\WINDOWS>tracert www.straightdope.com

Tracing route to www.straightdope.com []
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 * * * Request timed out.
2 151 ms 154 ms 148 ms cisco2.hhs.net []
3 164 ms 198 ms 158 ms
4 208 ms 168 ms 163 ms nss5-tci-e9-3.psc.net []
5 * 238 ms 209 ms
6 * 164 ms 168 ms
7 182 ms 164 ms 179 ms
8 178 ms 189 ms 178 ms br1-p330.cgcil.ip.att.net []
9 183 ms 184 ms 183 ms gr1-a3100s2.cgcil.ip.att.net []
10 184 ms 184 ms 188 ms aads.nap.net []
11 187 ms 173 ms 178 ms chi-h0.mcs.net []
12 188 ms 189 ms 193 ms Loop-Core17-E0.Mcs.Net []
13 189 ms 182 ms 194 ms
14 213 ms 223 ms 194 ms www.straightdope.com []

Trace complete.

Each line represents a host that the data went through. Some of them (like don’t have DNS hostnames. The times are the round trip times in milliseconds for packets to come back to you. A * means the router at that hop didn’t return a notification from the failed ping request.
You might want to give it a try.

Also another easy trick is under modem properties, set the receive & send buffers as low as possible. Its a little slider bar & easy to set back.

Forgive me, but what are buffers?

I have had the same problem off/on. But then you never said if you are on unlimited access on your internet provider.??

IF yoy are on unlimited access, whats the difference…what does it matter, really how long it takes to load a page.

Let me ask you this - Have you ever driven from school/work to home or somewhere else and drive like crazy and get to your destination and park the car and walk into the house and sit down and say to yourself “what am I gonna do now” ?

What is our constant interest in “SPEED” let’s all slow down and relax. Think of the technology and what is happening, it is amazing that we can even get onto the internet and then people complain it’s too slow?

I just switched from 28.8 to 56 and really don’t see much difference. A friend of mine has a cable connection and it is fast fast but let slow down people enjoy what we have and lets stop complaining that it’s not fast enough. But I admit if your on a select amount od connection time it does make a big difference, or if your playing games on-line.


Please feel free to email me