One of the main thrusts of my thoughts column will be working smarter, and since I just had to tackle this, I figured I’d start out helping you learn how to fix slow internet on Windows 10.
I delayed upgrading to Windows 10 since I was afraid that it wouldn’t be compatible with a few of the programs I typically run for work tasks, like my HTML editor. Over the weekend, Microsoft decided it had been long enough and forced the update on my desktop. Monday morning when I logged on ready to work I discovered my computer was not ready to work with me. The internet was unbearably slow, even for ordinarily fast pages fully or partially in cache.
The first thing I did was to restart the computer (echoes of the IT Crowd: “Hello IT, have you tried turning it off and on again?”). That did not resolve the issue.
Next up was to double-check that it wasn’t my internet that was the issue (it rarely is, but you never know) by looking at my connection speed on my laptop. That verified that the issue was definitely with my desktop. If you don’t have a second computer to check, you can try verifying internet connectivity using the wifi on your smartphone.
The next step was to check my wifi adapter for the latest updates. Windows is typically on-the-ball for finding needed updates and making suggestions, so I didn’t find anything here. It was time to move on to personalizing the environment – and fixing the issue!
Disable P2P Windows Updates
P2P file sharing takes up an enormous amount of bandwidth – and Windows 10 default settings put the onus on users files to share Windows updates, rather than burdening its own servers. This is a security issue as well as a network speed issue. To disable this setting (and get your Windows updates directly from Microsoft servers, without potentially exposing your own files):
- Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security
- Click on “Advanced options” under Windows Update
- Click “Choose how updates are delivered”
- Under “Updates from more than one place,” move the slider to “Off”
- Under “Get updates from Microsoft,” select the radial for “PCs on my local network”
This step, combined with the next one, had the biggest impact on fixing my internet speeds with Windows 10.
Uninstall (or Disable) Background Apps
With Windows 10, Microsoft has embraced the HP/DELL/Lenovo school of marketing by packaging a veritable fleet of resource-consuming programs and apps in its user environment. Whether you want to call it junkware, adware, bloatware, or just plain old unwanted, these Windows 10 apps slow down performance. For the majority of business and professional users, these features will never see use and it’s best to remove these default apps from Windows 10. If you change your mind later, you can always go back download them again from Microsoft.
Here’s a list of suggested Windows 10 built-in apps to remove to improve performance:
- Get Skype
- Groove Music (I tried it first but it’s really not a useful app or library)
- Movies & TV
- Phone Companion
The last program I removed was McAfee. I prefer Norton 360 Premiere, which I already have installed and running. Dueling antivirus programs are unnecessary (although if you want a backup to Norton, I highly recommend Malwarebytes) so I took McAfee off.
All in all it took me about 45 minutes, much less than the time I would have wasted struggling through a slow connection for the workday. Hopefully if you found this, your process will go a bit faster.
If after all of this your version of Windows 10 still has slow internet connectivity, I recommend checking your drivers for available updates through Microsoft. If your internet is still slow after the Windows 10 update, it might be time to do a step-by-step check of programs that might not be running correctly with the recent changes.
Sometimes individual programs can take up bandwidth or even prevent connectivity altogether due to incompatibility with the OS. A strange one I have encountered that has this issue is older iterations of Canon EOS programs (for Canon DSLRs). If nothing else is helping speed up your Windows 10 performance, try disabling programs from other vendors using the Task Manager to see if that’s the issue. If it is, you may be able to update the program to a Windows 10 compatible version to permanently fix the issue and keep the use of the program in the new OS environment.