Selasa, 28 September 2010

You’re Net surfing and hit a brick wall — now what?

How can this be? My slick Internet connection suddenly is molasses. It’s a problem that will happen to everybody.

The Internet is one big network. The more traffic on a network, the slower it goes. It happens on your office Net and it happens on the Big Net.

You cannot control this. Bandwidth flooding is a favorite trick of hackers. Two weeks ago, they sent torrents of e-mails to American business and government servers. The Internet slowed visibly as the companies scrambled to shut off the tsunami.

This is only one cause of a slow connection. If you have a cable modem, you are on a neighborhood network. If all your friends, say, started downloading movies at the same time, I‘d suspect you would be crawling.

The slow connection may be inside your box. Run your virus checker to make sure you have not picked up something.

An always-on system can slow down suddenly. Basically, you’re running out of memory here.

The fix is to turn everything off including your modem, wait five minutes and turn it all back on again. This clears the memory jam.

If this fails, check your phone line if you have DSL or a phone modem. Noise on the line causes the modem to slow. If you hear noise, call your provider. Older houses with ancient wiring suffer a problem called crosstalk interference. That can turn a slick modem into snail speed.

If you have added gadgets (called add-ons) to your browser, they eventually can slow you. Each eats some memory. Click on Tools and then Add-ons and uninstall the ones you don’t need. Be ruthless, especially with those that constantly access the Net such as weather bugs and toolbars.

If you have more than one system on a wireless net, be aware that if a family member downloads something huge such as a movie, it can slow your home network. I’ve seen this happen with music downloading.

The same happens if you send a huge graphic or spreadsheet to your company computer. It’s best to do that at night when the kids are off line.

If these don’t return you to top speed, call your Internet provider. You’re paying for the bandwidth, you might as well enjoy it.

XP smack-down

I’m still running XP on my home computer. The copyright is 2001. Nine years is antique in computer time.

I’m not alone. Microsoft seethes when they are forced to admit this: 74 percent of workplace PCs still are on XP. Which brings us to a big problem.

Microsoft has threatened before to quit supporting XP, meaning we get no more security updates and have no one to call if things really serious. They are at it again.

If you are running XP with Security Pack 2, they have stopped supporting it. You must upgrade to XP Security Pack 3. Support for that will stop, this time for sure, on April 8, 2014.

Everybody still on XP should check their service pack. Click on My Computer and select Properties. On the General tab you will find your system info.

If it reads Service Pack 2, go to microsoft.com and search on “XP Service Pack 3.” The download is free. Then circle April 8, 2014, on your calendar. That’s Death Day for XP with SP3.
Contact Jim Hillibish at jim.hillibish@cantonrep.com.

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