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  1. #1
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    Is there a way to BOOST your internet speed?

    Any idea's on how to boost the speed of your computer and internet connection? I've got cable, but my darn comp is slow at times???
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    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Memory... If your computer is lagging then add memory to it.
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    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    The speed of your internet connection cannot be boosted. If it is slower than you expect it could be a problem with your ISP or a connectivity problem between you and them.

    What sort of cable modem do you have? How does it attach to your computer and how do you administer it?

    If you have 256MB or more of memory, there are probably other things you can do first that will speed up the computer a lot more than buying new memory. What size and type is your hard drive? How full is it? Try to keep at least 15% of your hard drive free all the time. How many applications do you run on startup and while you use your computer?
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    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Well, if you have no problem doing it the hard way, backing up your files and then reformatting your hard drive and reinstalling windows is the thing that is most effective. After that, stay the hell away from IE, install a small and fast antivirus software such as NOD32 and make sure that you are firewalled, either by a firewall software on your computer, or a router.

    edit - oh, and I strongly recommend 512MB or more for Windows XP.
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    Non-Member Egor's Avatar
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    Reformatting will definately get Windows running faster if you haven't done so in a while.

    I reformatted the family's computer last week, and the speed increase has been phenominal. And it only has 256MB Ram.

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    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    A lot of people say that reformatting will speed up the computer. My response to that is that in it shouldn't, and if it does (in my opinion) it was a poorly maintained computer. I have not completely reinstalled windows since Windows 95b, just upgraded, and I keep my computer running very cleanly. On the other hand, I know how to look up which services/applications are running in the background, and what is loaded at boot time. A lot of people wouldn't know how to do this. Also, I like to avoid installing anything which 'stays resident' - a lot of people like to have lots of resident applications running all the time which can affect memory usage and performance in some situations.

    The most immediate benefit of reinstalling on a freshly formatted partition is that the windows system files, particularly those needed for booting, are all nice and contiguous and at the start of the drive. This will lead to dramatically faster boot times, which results in an overall perception of a performance boost. Defragmenting regularly will help with keeping the files contiguous, and over time windows' built in optimisation will help with the boot-up time. Also, a contiguous swap file will be of good benefit while you are using Windows (making it run like a fresh install) but this is hard to achieve in Windows. Today I found a tool from sysinternals.com called pagedefrag that will let you defragment the swap file.

    The amount of memory you need is dependant on the apps you use, how many you use at once and how often you switch between them. On Windows XP obviously you need 128MB at the very least, but that is an unreasonably low minimum - I would argue that that should be at least 256MB. Now, if you use web browsing, programming and text editing, you probably don't need more than this. If you use heavier apps such as image, sound or video editing apps (rule of thumb - most Adobe applications are quite memory-hungry) and you multitask when you use them, I would recommend you have 512MB.

    However, none of the things I've spoken about in this post will have any effect on internet connection speed. Even a 10 year old computer can download files at cable modem speeds. Cable internet is still way slower than LAN, hard disk or even CDROM performance. The computer can handle it. If the speed is actually too low, it could be a connectivity or modem problem. If the computer is running badly, then it could give the impression that the internet connection is a lot slower than it is.
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    Non-Member DaveMichaels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sales_guide
    Any idea's on how to boost the speed of your computer and internet connection? I've got cable, but my darn comp is slow at times???
    Netzero says they can boost teh speed of your Internet connection by FIVE TIMES!!!

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    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveMichaels
    Netzero says they can boost teh speed of your Internet connection by FIVE TIMES!!!
    Yesterday, I got an email from some company that said that they could enlarge something else of mine five times.
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    SitePoint Wizard megamanXplosion's Avatar
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    I've done the following tweaks to my computer (Windows XP Professional). Always do a full system backup before tweaking it, so do that now if you plan on doing any of the below tweaks.


    Clear Prefetch Occasionally
    Applications that you commonly used are added to C:\Windows\Prefetch so that Windows can grab them when it starts up. This sounds like a good idea, and it is, but it often gets filled with junk that you don't use too often anymore. The first reboot will seem very slow because it can't prefetch anything, but the boot-up time should shorten for subsequent boots. I typically clear my prefetch folder once a month.


    Configure Disk Cleanup
    Disk Cleanup has more options than what it normally shows you. Go to Start -> Run -> Type in: "cleanmgr /sageset:99" (the '99' part relates to the configuration, you can set 1-99 as different configurations and use each individually if you want). You will be shown a dialog where you can configure Disk Cleanup. Check all of the options that you want to be performed/checked, then press "OK". Now, you can call the configuration by "cleanmgr /sagerun:99". You can also create shortcuts somewhere that point to that specific configuration. For shortcuts, use this as your target: "%windir%\system32\cleanmgr.exe /sagerun:99"


    If using FAT32, convert to NTFS
    The NTFS filesystem offers more security, stability, and less fragmentation than FAT32. Go to Start -> Run -> Type In: "Convert C: /FS:NTFS". You will be asked if you want to continue, hit "Y". Then, you will probably be asked if you wish to reboot, hit "Y".


    Disable Indexing Service
    If you are like me and only use the search option once a month, then it is a good idea to disable this service. To disable this service, go to: Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs. On the side of the add/remove programs window, click on the add/remove windows components button. In the new window, uncheck the indexing service and click next.


    Disable File Compression
    If you have a large enough hard-drive that you do not need file compression, turn it off. Windows will compress files and when you try to open them, it will decompress them and run them. The decrompression hurts performance. Go to My Computer -> Rightclick on drive -> properties -> uncheck "compress files to save disk space" -> OK.


    Disable Last Access Time Stamps
    XP automatically updates the last access time on a file when you access it, it will also update the folder that it's contained in (the folders which contain that folder, and up the ladder), and it can hurt performance. Go to Start -> Run -> Type In: "regedit" -> Browse To "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Filesystem" -> rightclick on "NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate" -> Modify -> Enter "1" -> OK. If they value doesn't exist, create it by going to Edit -> New -> DWord Value -> enter in the name "NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate", then edit the value to "1".


    Cleaning Shutdown Script
    Windows tends to load some unnecessary files at startup and by creating a shutdown script, you can have the files automatically deleted when you shut down, so the startup performance will improve (shaved a few seconds off of my boot time). Open Notepad and enter the following lines, edit the red parts with something which matches your configuration.

    RD /S /q "C:\Documents and Settings\"UserName without quotes"\Local Settings\History"
    RD /S /q "C:\Documents and Settings\Default User\Local Settings\History"
    RD /S /q "D:\Temp"

    then save the file: C:\Windows\shutdownscript.bat

    Then go to Start -> Run -> Type In: "gpedit" -> Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Scripts -> doubleclick "Shutdown" -> Click "Add" -> Browse to your .bat file.


    Automatically Unload Unneeded DLLs From Memory
    If you typically close a program and then load it back up soon after, then this tweak will likely hurt you more than help you (windows keeps certain DLLs in memory so that it can quickly relaunch an application). However, if you are like me and only close an application when you're certain that you're done with it, then this tweak will help you. Go to Start -> Run -> Type In: "regedit". Browse to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer. Once in there, create a new entry titled "AlwaysUnloadDLL" and set the value to 1.


    Turn Off Sounds
    If you're not a big fan of the sounds, or simply want to get a slight speed boost, you can disable a few (or all) of the sounds to improve overall running performance and startup/shutdown performance. Go to Control Panel -> Sounds and Audio Devices -> Switch to "Sounds" tab. Once there, choose one of the sounds and use the dropdown below the selection box to select the "none" option. If you like the sounds and only wish to get a startup/shutdown boost, then simply turn off the "Exit Windows" and "Start Windows" sounds.


    No Wallpaper?
    If you are comfortable with the thought of sacrificing your desktop wallpaper for speed, then do so. Windows loads this wallpaper up when it boots, if there is nothing to boot then the boot process doesn't last as long. You could also try using a lower-quality wallpaper (most of the wallpapers that I use are about 500kb because I like the quality, but something under 100kb should be used for speed). This tweak will also serve another purpose, windows draws to the screen faster. I'm sure that some of you may have noticed that if you really push Windows by running a lot of heavy applications, if you try to minimize/maximize a window then Windows will repaint half of it at first and you can see your desktop wallpaper and then it will repaint the other half. This happens because Windows reads the desktop wallpaper data when it minimizes so that it can redraw the screen accurately, if there is no desktop wallpaper then the drawing of the windows will be faster.


    Disable Short (DOS) Names
    This functionality is only enabled to allow dos compatibility with programs, I doubt any of us still use DOS in ANY WAY that works with files, so let's disable it. Start -> Run -> Type In: "regedit" -> ok. Browse to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem. Find the key named "NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation" and change it's value to 1.

    Some anti-virus programs require this. If you find that your anti-virus software, or any other software for that matter, stop working correctly then change this value back to zero.


    Fonts Slow Startup Performance
    You should uninstall any fonts that you no longer use (except for ones which come preinstalled on Windows, that could have a negative impact because Windows might need them and/or your internet surfing will not be the same!). If you have a bunch of junky font files on your computer that you downloaded somewhere and no longer use (for example, some purely decorative fonts like dingbats), uninstall them. Windows XP is much more effecient when handling fonts than previous versions, but they can still bog the system down if there are too many. I remember downloading a HUGE archive of fonts and installing them for use within Adobe Photoshop, bad decision! The system itself got dramatically slower and Adobe Photoshop took about 15 minutes to startup!


    Do NOT Partition Hard-Drive For Organizational Purposes
    Windows XP's NTFS filesystem runs much smoother when working with one partition, so avoid creating unnecessary partitions. Of course, if you plan on having Linux installed or something, go for it. However, organizational partitioning should be avoided, just put it in a folder silly! It's perfectly acceptable to create a partition for keeping important files on (such as installers to your software) because this will improve the reliability of your system, if you ever need to completely format the primary partition and install Windows again then the other partition will be ready for installing your software. It's not fun downloading all of your software again. For mission critical files (software configurations, business papers, etc.), store them on a CD or something which is physically seperate from your computer (so if there's ever an electrical problem and you lose everything, you'll still have your mission critical files.)


    Buy More Memory!
    I know this one seems a little silly for some of the heavier computer users, you've gotten enough tips already hehe. Alot of new computer users will probably think that adding more memory to their computer will be hard, it's not! It's cheap too! Simply open up your pc box (not the cardboard one ) and look at your memory slots and if you have a free slot, go by another stick of ram! I cannot stress this enough, one extra stick of ram can easily make your computer outperform the previous computer-setup with all of the tweaks that I've given already (applying my tweaks to your upgraded computer will help even more!).


    Upgrade Hardware Firmware!
    You should check your CD/DVD drive manufacturer's website and look for updated firmware. Sometimes you are able to find newer firmware which gives even more performance. This doesn't necessarily apply only to cd/dvd drives, it's just something that I know most people have.


    Prevent Windows Explorer Crash From Taking Down The Operating System.
    This one is mind-numbling simple you will smack your forehead! My Computer -> Tools -> Folder Options -> Switch to "View" tab -> Enable "Launch folder windows in a separate process". Done!


    Clean Inside Of Your Machine
    About once a year you should turn off your PC, open it up, and blow out all of the dust/debris. Also, make sure your fans are turning properly. This will ensure that your hardware will get cooled properly (instead of the dust) as the dust can block the air from reaching your components and dust is also an insulator which holds in heat. I would recommend wearing some safety glasses when you try to blow out the dust because there is a lot more in there than what you see, and it will come flying towards your eyes like a tornado! Also, try doing this on a hardwood/tiled floor and not the carpet, unnecessary vacuuming is a pain in the butt. You should be able to find cans of compressed air at places that sell keyboards or at general hardware stores.


    Decrease Delay Before Shutting Down Unresponsive Applications/Services
    When a program becomes unresponsive, Windows will give it a little bit of time so that it has a chance to correct itself. However, I'm not too fond of letting an unresponsive program take up memory and CPU from my responsive programs. Go to Start -> Run -> Type in: "regedit" -> ok -> browse to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\. Once there, you can change a few options in there. The "AutoEndTasks" value should be 1 (this will close unresponsive programs for you). The "HungAppTimeout" can be lowered (I recommend 5000, which is 5 seconds, a reasonable amount of time for an application to try correcting itself). The "WaitToKillAppTimeout" can also be lowered (I recommend 4000). The "WaitToKillServiceTimeout" is the setting for shutting down unresponsive services, you should lower this down to 4000 as well. Do not close regedit just yet, read the next tip first...


    Make Menus Appear Faster
    In the same part of the registry as the tweaks above (HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\), you can also decrease the delay that there is before showing menus. Right now, go to Start -> All Programs, then hover over an item and watch how long it takes for the menu to show. That is a controlled delay, not a your-comp-is-a-peice-of-junk delay! Change the "MenuShowDelay" value to 200. You do not want to completely remove the delay because it would be near impossible to hover over an item without triggering the menu (you do not want Windows trying to draw menus that you don't want to look at, it decreases performance).


    Turn Off Eye-Candy
    I have not personally done this to my computer because I like the eye candy. But, if you wish to squeeze out more performance then sacrificing eye-candy can give it to you! Rightclick on My Computer -> Properties -> Advanced -> Performance -> Settings. Once there, uncheck all of the items you wish to sacrifice for performance.


    Disable Windows Picture and Fax Viewer (Thumbnail View in Explorer Too)
    Start -> Run -> Type: regsvr32 /u shimgvw.dll


    Disable Search From Looking In Zip-folders
    Start -> Run -> Type: regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll


    Disable Windows Media Player Shell Integration
    Start -> Run -> Type: regsvr32 /u wmpshell.dll


    Defragment Your Computer!
    Despite what many will tell you, defragmenting doesn't improve performance noticably if you have a good quality hard-drive (I have a western digital, 120gb, 8200rpm, 8mb cache, which I think is pretty good). However, it is still recommended that you do so, why? When your hard-drive has to do unnecessary seeks (think of a record player and how you need to move the needle to change the song, same thing except with data), it will produce unnecessary heat and produce wear on your HD. Not only that, but it makes recovering lost data a lot harder if the drive is not defragmented. Defragmenting your computer regularly will ensure that your hard-drive has a longer, and cooler, life. If you do not have a decently fast hard-drive, then performance will be lost if data is not defragmented, so defragment! Everyone, defragment your computer regularly! Even if you do not see any noticable benefit from doing it, defragment anyways.


    Virtual Memory Speed Increase
    The default configuration for virtual memory can reduce performance because the filesize for the virtual memory file has different minimum and maximum size values. Why does this matter? When Windows adds or removes items from your virtual memory file, it will attempt to resize it and this can lead to a fragmented memory file which is slower to use. To prevent resizing, you should set your minimum and maximum size values to the same value. Go to Control Panel -> System -> Advanced Tab -> Performance Settings -> Advanced Tab -> Change Virtual Memory. Once there, you will notice that the two values do not match, this is the performance decrease, they are also probably too low for any real benefit. Do not just set any odd value that you want, there is a recommended value. The value should be 2048 minus the amount of REAL memory you have. For example, if you have 256mb of real memory then 2048-256=1792. Using 1792 will cause the virtual memory file to be 1792mb in size and it will not resize itself. Put the answer, which corresponds with your computer, in the minimum and maximum size boxes to really utilize virtual memory.


    Keep QoS Running
    There is a lot of talk going around about how windows XP will reserve 20% of bandwidth using the QoS service. Do not disable it, that is not exactly what it does. When they use the word "reserve", they actual mean that if a program requests it then Windows will give that program a 20% priority boost for networking purposes, it does not prevent you from using that 20% of network activity. It should also be noted that the QoS services gives extra reliability to TCP/IP because it makes sure it gets all of the correct data while you're downloading (if it cannot read particular parts of the data it will request it again). You can disable this if you want, but you will not see a gain in network performance and might also increase your chances of getting corrupted downloads. I would recommend leaving this running!


    Avoid Memory Optimizers
    Use these sparingly, they are not made to improve overall system performance! If you are not a heavy gamer, then do not use these, you will get a major performance decrease by using such tools. Programs on your computer use RAM so they can work faster, if you take RAM away from them (which is what these programs do,) you will see a dramatic decrease in performance. If you are a gamer and plan on running a game, you should close out all of your applications and then run the memory optimization program so that it frees up as much available ram as possible, then start your game. This will mean your game gets more ram and will operate smoother. However, these programs should never be used unless you are going to use the majority of your ram on one single application, like games, because it will decrease your overall system performance. Also, some memory cleaners will free up a little bit of memory which was never released by the program which used it, this is really unnecessary as you'll likely never recover more than 100kb of your total RAM and explorer.exe does that automatically if you just kill the explorer.exe process and start it again, plus it's a lot quicker that way.


    Configure Pipelining for Faster Browsing with Internet Explorer
    Internet Explorer comes with HTTP Pipelining enabled by default but has really low settings configured by default. Internet Explorer is actually following the HTTP 1.1 standards, can you believe it? However, the low settings can be a real drag on performance, going higher may go against the HTTP 1.1 standard but I've never seen any adverse effects caused by it. To configure pipelining, you need to open regedit (Start -> Run -> "regedit") and browse to:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings

    Configure these settings (if they do not exist then right-click and create new DWORD's with the names I've specified below, then configure them)...

    MaxConnectionsPerServer = 6 (broadband) or 4 (56k)
    MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server = 30 (broadband) or 8 (56k)

    Please note that the values supplied cover a wide range of speeds and might not fit your configuration, lower or raise the numbers as needed.


    Enable Pipelining for Faster Browsing with Firefox
    Firefox is another browser which comes with HTTP Pipelining disabled by default. Again, I don't know why. To enable pipelining, you need to type "about:config" (without quotes) in the Firefox address field and visit that location. There are three options in this list that you should be concerned with, I have them named below with their recommended values.

    network.http.pipelining = true
    network.http.proxy.pipelining = true
    network.http.pipelining.maxrequests = 30 (broadband) or 8 (56k)

    Please note that the values supplied cover a wide range of speeds and might not fit your configuration, lower or raise the numbers as needed.



    Edits

    I clarified on the experience of clearing the prefetch folder. The first start-up will seem really slow because it can't prefetch anything and that is normal. The next start-up should be faster than it was before you emptied the prefetch folder.

    I clarified on the "No Wallpaper?" tweak to mention that my 500kb wallpapers are for aesthetics and not a recommended size. Wallpapers of smaller size will typically perform better because they get their small filesize by having repetitive data and that repetitive data allows the computer to conserve CPU cycles when drawing windows to the screen.

    I Removed the advice to turn off the disk performance monitors. I was under the impression that it ran at all times and that is not true. There is no benefit in disabling it.

    I added a warning-note under the tweak for disabling DOS filenames. Disabling the creation of these names could interfere with the functioning of your anti-virus software, or any other software for that matter. Try the tweak, if it causes adverse effects then undo it.

    I added a useful tip under the section for cleaning the inside of your computer case which should give you a good idea of where you can find cans of compressed air.

    I added two new tweaks which show you how to enable HTTP pipelining in Internet Explorer and Firefox. These tweaks won't really benefit your download speed itself, but it will make the browser fetch more things (smilies, for a good example of where pipelining is useful) at once which should result in the pages getting to you, in a usable manner, much faster. Please note that "broadband" and "56k" are both very wide ranges of speed so you may need to lower/raise the value to something more fitting for your situation.

    Edited the Internet Explorer pipelining tweak to tell people that they made need to create new DWORD values in their registry as those settings might not exist by default.
    Last edited by megamanXplosion; May 17, 2005 at 20:59.

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    Thanks to all who gave input to this. Should help me clean up / clear up an unknown, intermittent lag issue I'm having. If nothing else, my system will be cleaner. - AL

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    SitePoint Wizard gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy dc dalton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveMichaels
    Netzero says they can boost teh speed of your Internet connection by FIVE TIMES!!!
    Yeah by compressing images into pixelated GARBAGE that make every website look like CRAP!

    Dont know if any of you have ever seen one of those stupid accellerators in action ... what freaking Garbage!

    BTW Mega - NICE LIST! Some great stuff in there!

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    SitePoint Wizard Keriam's Avatar
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    Yes, Mega - very nice list! That one has been cut, pasted and saved for future reference.
    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do
    the day after tomorrow. ~ Mark Twain

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    SitePoint Wizard megamanXplosion's Avatar
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    Glad you two liked the list of tweaks. There is one that I would recommend avoiding though because I was wrong about it: the performance monitor. Leave it enabled, it only runs when you specifically ask for it so there's no benefit from disabling it. Everything else is accurate though

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    Employed Again Viflux's Avatar
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    Just read through the list, looking for performance tweaks, and it is quite impressive!

    I would, however, like to point out that Norton Antivirus, among other programs still uses the 8.3 naming convention, so disabling it may not be a good idea for everyone.

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    I saw a thread a while back on some other forums about a hack in Firefox that makes pages load 2x as fast. The hack makes the browser work harder to retrieve packets from a website (kinda like overclocking in a way). It worked great! If I find it again, I'll post it.

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    Employed Again Viflux's Avatar
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    It was also posted on these forums.

    There's a bunch of settings regarding pipelining that can really speed up your browser.

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    SitePoint Wizard megamanXplosion's Avatar
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    I have made a few edits to my list of tweaks above and have added tweaks for configuring pipelining in Firefox and Internet Explorer. Opera has pipelining enabled by default and the settings are easily changable through the preferences dialog, so there's really no need for me to talk about it.

    Enjoy

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    bb

    buy broadband

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    SitePoint Wizard Dylan B's Avatar
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    I would rep you if I could , Megaman :P

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    SitePoint Wizard megamanXplosion's Avatar
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    I would if I could dee100

    Thanks for the... uhh... thanks? That's a weird sentence...

    Anyways, someone pointed out to me via PM that the registry entries for IE pipelining aren't there by default, I have edited that tweak section to reflect that. I did a search through my registry to find that tweak and forgot that the values didn't exist by default

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    there is no box baztorres's Avatar
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    Wow, great list. Shall have to give some of those a go. Thanks very much megaman
    Baz
    ---

  22. #22
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Onspeed works. It does however compress everything that's sent so images can look bad. Page loads are definitely sped up though and you can click on images and get them to load correctly if you really want to see them properly

  23. #23
    SitePoint Member
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    I pointed a friend to this *excellent* old thread and he pointed out that there's no mention of optimizing the paging files by storing the paging files on a different partition or drive than the boot partition.

    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=314482

    I just wanted to add one more tweak for those who run across this old thread. I'm sure I'm not the only one who bookmarked this thread for later use.

    Thanks to the previous posters.

  24. #24
    Artist* :) gunther_'s Avatar
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    make sure you don't allow any useless application to run in the background. If you install applications with the default properties, you will have dozens of little watchers in the background.


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