Get your PC and internet browser up to speed with these tips

Sep 3, 2015

Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with a lagging computer or slow Internet connection. Whether you’re trying to listen to your favorite music files or stream the latest blockbuster, dealing with a slow computer is a maddening experience. What causes lapses in performance in home computers? Sources of slow speeds are widespread and depend heavily on the user’s online and offline activity. Additionally, hardware configuration can aid and hinder the performance of your machine.

Struggling with computer performance is especially frustrating when you and your family invest in high-speed internet access. On the bright side, there are low-cost methods for diagnosing and dealing with online and offline performance problems. Deploy a few of the following strategies to address the sources of slow bootup, choppy performance and lagging high-speed Internet.

“Communicate with your cable provider about similar problems in the neighborhood.”

Establish a speed baseline for your high-speed internet service

The first step in addressing your home’s waning internet performance is to determine the speed of your connection. There are plenty of online speed tests available that can help you determine your download and upload speeds.

Once you’ve established your current speed, compare this value against the number your cable and Internet provider promises in your contract. If speeds are significantly lower throughout the day, then there’s a good chance that you’ve got a local, solvable problem impacting your connection. As a precaution, you may want to communicate the speed difference with your cable provider in order to determine if similar problems are affecting users in your neighborhood.

Identify your home’s bandwidth hogs

Homes have grown considerably more connected as a result of the Internet of Things leaving a lasting imprint on the market for consumer goods. As a result, you’ll have to keep a closer eye on the number and type of devices connected to your router. If your bandwidth is split between multiple computers, the family room and a dozen smart devices, then each member of the family is probably going to experience some slowdown.

You can get a better look at what’s connected to your Internet connection by opening your router’s management interface. Locate the DHCP Client table, which should give you a detailed readout of all the machines currently connected to your internet and how much activity they are demanding from your router. This information will make it easier to determine how many devices your network can support before internet speeds begin to suffer.

Adjust router settings and position to maximize your connection

If your high-speed internet connection is free of bandwidth hogs, there may be some configurations issues unique to the router that are causing the problem. Kim Komando recommended reviewing the router’s DNS settings and editing them with alternative DNS available online.

If all else fails, try moving the router closer to devices that utilize the most bandwidth. Reducing the distance may be the secret to boosting your connection.

Start uninstalling unfamiliar and unused programs

If performance problems are more closely related to your computer than your router, then you’ll have to take a slightly different approach to solving the problems. Start by opening your computer’s control panel and opening the uninstall screen. Scroll through the application list and look for strange or unfamiliar programs, especially ones putting excessive demands on your computer’s CPU.

Once your extraneous applications have been removed, you should consider opening up the system configuration window and disabling some of your PC’s startup programs as well. These applications are set to activate automatically anytime your computer is turned off and can lengthen the time it takes for your device to boot up to full speed.

Give your hard drive a vigorous sweep

Sometimes problems on your hard drive are the direct result of infections that begin on the Internet. That’s why PC Magazine emphasized that all computer users should adopt some sort of third-party malware sweeper loaded onto their computer. Such a program acts as your first line of defense against nefarious pieces of code and tricky trojan programs.

Several useful sweeper programs are available as online freeware, but be wary of pretenders and software developers without credentials. Make sure that any piece of malware prevention software you download is well vetted, and make sure to download the program from the developer’s dedicated homepage.

Make some moves with the task manager

Another place to identify and deactivate problematic programs is the task manager, said PC World. Accessing the process tabs will give you a peek at every application running on your computer and the amount of demand they are currently putting on your system. Suspicious, data-heavy programs are top priorities for ending, and doing so regularly could help address slowdown of your internet connection. At the very least, program information identified while looking at the task manager can help you decide to identify which shady programs to uninstall.