Internet Running Slow In Windows 7? Try These Important Computer Maintenance Tips

There's nothing worse than trying to watch an online video or playing an online game and experiencing stutters, stops and freezes. While these issues can be related to your internet connection, it's also extremely common for them to be related to your hardware or software, too. If your ISP has advised you that they've checked your line and haven't found any obvious issues with your connection, it's time to try a few of the following computer maintenance tips for better speed.

Update Your Network Card Drivers

Think of your network card like Grand Central Station. It's responsible for bringing traffic in and sending it out, no matter what you're accessing on the web. Your network card drivers are like the staff members that schedule each train through the station--they have to be given the right information in order to do the job right. If your drivers become corrupted, your speed will suffer and your connection will drop repeatedly.

In Windows, hit the start menu and type "device manager" into the search bar. Then, click on the option for device manager and wait for the new window to pop up. Click on the plus sign near "network adapters", and then right-click your network card--it should be first in the list. Then, select "properties," "drivers," and "update drivers." Select the option to update automatically, and allow the operation to execute. 

If you get a message that you already have the most current drivers, skip to the next step. Otherwise, choose the option that comes up and select "update". Reboot your computer and use the internet to see if your speed improves. If you still have problems, consider swapping out the network card itself--it could be a hardware problem, rather than a software issue.

Clean Up, Defragment and Fix Hard Drive Errors

Another really common reason for seemingly slow internet speeds relates to your storage space. A dying or highly fragmented hard disk drive can cripple your internet by making it impossible for your system to read or write to the drive. Simply put, your system will have difficulty retrieving the information it needs.

Running a check, defragging, and keeping at least 15 percent of the drive free at all times will keep your disk in optimal shape for speed and performance.

Start by deleting unnecessary files, programs, and documents until your hard drive has at least 15 percent of its total available space as free space. Then, move on to the next step.

Start by Defragmenting Your Disk

Hit the start menu, and then type in "defragment." Select the option for "defragment your hard drive." In the window that pops up, select the drive you want to defragment and then click, "defragment disk." This process can take up to an hour or two for some machines, so feel free to walk away, grab a coffee, or go for a walk.

Once the process is complete, reboot your computer. It's now time to check the disk for errors.

Check and Fix Hard Drive Errors

Checking your disk for errors is important for a number of reasons. Bad sectors or dead areas on the disk will cause a plethora of issues, and can even be a sign that the drive is about to die completely. Knowing the state of your drive and keeping it optimized prevents performance issues and ensures that you never find yourself with lost data.

As with a fragmented hard drive, hard drive errors or bad sectors can and will impact your internet speed simply because they make it difficult for your system to read and write to your hard drive.

To scan and fix issues, start by pressing the start menu. Type in CMD. Then, right-click the small black icon labeled CMD that comes up, and choose "run as administrator." Then, when the window pops up, type in "chkdsk /c". In this example, C relates to the drive letter of the drive you want to scan. For most people, this will be either C, D, E, or F. If you aren't sure, hit the start menu again, choose "computer," and use the drive letter of the first listed drive in Windows.

You may be prompted to reset your computer; do so, and the process will begin automatically. Expect a full disk check to take at least a couple of hours or more if you have a drive with multiple terabytes of space.

Once the process is complete, your computer should reboot automatically.

Delete Your Internet Cache and Cookies

If you find that your issues are limited to your browser, fixing the issue may be as simple as clearing your cache and cookies. When either of these become overloaded or corrupted, you can experience slow load times or pages that fail to load at all.

A corrupted cache may also cause images and videos to load broken, especially if it's a resource you view regularly, thanks to the fact that most systems are tuned to save copies of regularly viewed content in your cache.

To delete your cache and cookies in Chrome, click the three horizontal lines at the top right-hand side of your browser window. Then, mouse over "more tools." Select "clear browsing data." Check off all of the options in the tab that pops up, and then hit "clear browsing data." This, too, may take some time.

Once you've completed the task, close and reopen your browser. Try opening common pages to see if your issue still exists.

If you use a browser other than Chrome, consult the browser's user guide for more information on how to clear your cache and cookies.

These easy steps aren't just useful for fixing internet speed problems; they also help to keep your machine in good working order. This produces better overall performance and reduces the likelihood of catastrophic hardware or software failures, keeping you connected and in tune with the online world at all times. If you need help with resolving internet-related issues, contact an internet service provider like Reserve Telecommunications today.