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How to Tweak Windows Vista for Faster Internet Speeds

written by: Jennifer Claerr•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 7/26/2011

If your Internet connection seems slow, there are ways to tweak Windows Vista to achieve faster speeds. Find out about the best methods to surf the web faster in Windows Vista.

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    Tweaking Internet Speeds in Vista: Getting Started

    If you are experiencing slow Internet speeds in Windows Vista, there are many ways you could speed it up. The best approach is to look for problems with your Internet connection and your overall computer speed, and then try to solve those problems. There are quite a few Windows Vista tweaks, both basic and advanced, that can dramatically speed up your dial-up, DSL, cable or satellite Internet connection. However, before you try these tweaks, check the phone lines in your home and contact your Internet service provider to ensure that your equipment is compatible with theirs. Check your router, modem and other Internet equipment to ensure that they're in good working condition. In addition, set a system restore point prior to making changes to your settings in Windows Vista.

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    Improve Vista's Speed by Removing Viruses and Malware

    Viruses and other malware are common causes of a slow Internet connection. Microsoft provides tools with Windows Vista to combat these threats. Windows Defender can scan for spyware that might be slowing your Internet connection speeds. To scan your computer, click the Start button, select All Programs and select Windows Defender. Select Full Scan from the Scan drop-down menu. You can also use Software Explorer in Windows Defender to find unwanted programs that may be interfering with your Internet connection. Also, be sure to run a complete virus scan to remove any viruses that are eating up your bandwidth. It's a good idea to install software to combat adware and spyware on your computer, as well.

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    Manage Browser Add-Ons for Faster Internet Speeds

    Browser add-ons can also cause problems with Internet speed. If you suspect that Internet Explorer add-ons are causing the problem, try running the browser without add-ons. You can also manage your add-ons through Windows Vista. Click the Start button, select Control Panel and select Network and Internet. Select Internet Options. Click the Programs tab and select Manage add-ons. Select Add-ons that run without requiring permission. Select each entry you don't want to run, and then select Disable in the lower part of the screen. Click OK when you've finished managing add-ons. Be sure to check your browser add-ons periodically to keep your Internet speeds optimized. You can also opt to run Internet Explorer without add-ons.

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    Correcting Low Memory or Disk Space in Windows Vista

    Low memory or disk space in Windows Vista can slow down your Internet speeds. You can check the status of your hard drive by clicking the Start button, clicking Computer and then viewing drive C:. If the disk seems full, right click it, select Properties and Disk Cleanup. Select the types of files you're like to delete, then click OK. To check your memory performance, click Ctrl, Alt and Del simultaneously. Select Start Task Manager from the list. Click the Performance tab. View the memory usage statistics in the window. If your computer is using more than two-thirds of its total memory, you should remove some programs from startup. Click the Start button and type msconfig in the search field. Click the Startup tab. Carefully examine each entry to see if the program is necessary for your computer to run. You can check a resource such as the Uniblue Process Library if you're unsure about a file. Uncheck the box beside each item you don't want to run each time you start Windows Vista and click OK and Exit without restart. Then return to the Start Menu, select All Programs and right-click the Startup folder. Select Open All Users. Remove any shortcuts for programs you don't wish to run at Windows startup. Restart your computer.

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    Tweaking Your Wireless Network in Windows Vista

    If you're experiencing a slow connection over your wireless home network on a Windows Vista computer, it may because you're trying to connect to an older router. In Windows Vista, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is enabled by default, but some older wireless routers don't support this protocol. If your router doesn't support IPv6, you may need to disable it and use IPv4 instead. Check your router's documentation to see which protocol it uses, or run Microsoft's Internet Connectivity Evaluation tool to determine your router's IPv6 support.

    To disable IPv6, start Windows Vista, then click the Start button and select Network. Select Network and Sharing Center and Manage Network Connections. Right-click the item marked Wireless Network Connection and select Properties. Uncheck the box beside IPv6. Click OK and reboot your computer.

    Windows Vista's autotuning can also cause problems with your Internet connection. To turn it off, click the Start button and type cmd. Right-click the cmd entry, which appears under Programs, and select Run as administrator. At the command prompt, type netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled and press Enter.

    Use these methods whenever you're having a problem with the Internet speeds on your Windows Vista computer. Be sure to make a note of every change you make to your system settings so that you can undo the changes should they cause problems. If you experience difficulties you can't solve on your own, visit the Microsoft Help and Support website.

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    Microsoft: "Windows Defender: Scan Your Computer Using Windows Defender"

    Uniblue Process Library:

    Microsoft's Internet Connectivity Evaluation tool:

    Microsoft Help and Support website:

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