My old system:
My present system:
I have added
more RAM for a total of 352 mb (256+64+32), upgraded to an Aopen 32mb G
Force 2MX video card, and to a 450 mhz AMD K6-3+ processor slightly overclocked
to 500 mhz. This makes for a system plenty fast enough for my current
The computer box:
The ATX form factor case is the best and has a software shut off feature, so when you shut down from Windows, it turns off the computer. I use a computer power cable (available at your local computer store if you don't have one already) to plug the monitor into the computer, so the monitor turns off along with the computer. I got a mid tower case which is not too bulky, but has ample room for expansion. Some cases come with individually removable sides. These allow easier access and are an advantage in tight spaces or if you need to get inside the case frequently. You can plug the computer and peripherals into a circuit breaker power strip to protect against power surges. I unplug the power strip from the wall during lightening storms to make absolutely sure my computer won't get zapped.
Speed up dialup:
Get a good telephone line: If you have a slow connection, the wiring in the house is not usually the problem. If it works for voice, it should be fine for a 56K modem. The problem comes with the telephone line from the telephone office to your site. If the distance is far and the branches are many, you probably will not be able to get a fast connection. If you have the option to get your telephone service from a cable company through fiber optic cable, try that. The signal should be better through the fiber optic cable; and it worked for me. I got a slow connection through the regular telephone line; and now I get a fast connection through fiber optic cable. If you get a faster line, and browsing is unusually slow with a connection, you can disconnect and reconnect and this will often yield a faster connection.
Get the right modem driver: Download and install the latest drivers for your modem. Sometimes the generic drivers for the modem chip are better than the drivers from the PC manufacturer. For example, the LT winmodem in my Toshiba laptop, with the latest drivers from Toshiba, would not connect when I got a faster telephone line; but when I installed the generic driver available from http://www.agere.com, it worked just fine.
Get the latest browser: I prefer the latest (non beta) version of Internet Explorer which is IE 6.0 at present. It seems to be the fastest yet. If you have enough disk space, you can set the cache size to 10-30 mb to speed loading of previously viewed pages. You can select the custom install option from windowsupdate.com to keep down the size of the download. You can browse faster by turning off graphics.
Use IEQuickStart: If you have several favorite websites that you like to check, you can load them all at once with this program. Then when you finish with one site, the next site is right there ready to view. The program is a free download from http://www.iequickstart.com/ . To get your selected favorites into the program, right click and select import. Click start to launch the links, take a break while the pages load, and then enjoy fast browsing.
Use Download Express: This is also a free download from http://www.metaproducts.com/DE.html , and it speeds up the process by splitting the download into several channels. Resume is also supported.
Unbind TCP/IP: Having TCP/IP bound to Microsoft network and Windows family logon can slow down browsing, so go to contol panel/network/TCP/IP -> Dial-Up Adapter/properties/bindings and uncheck any that are in there. Click ok and ignore the Windows warning since the bindings are not necessary. This trick also improves your internet security.
Add more memory: Having enough memory will decrease the use of virtual memory on the hard drive which slows down page loading. Increasing ram from 32 or 64 mb to 256 mb or more will usually make pages load a little faster. With more memory you can set the computer, under file system properties/hard disk, to network server, set conservative swap file usage in Windows 98 or ME (in system.ini, find the [386Enh] section and add a new line reading "ConservativeSwapfileUsage=1"), and set a fixed size for virtual memory which will decrease hard drive usage and add to the speed.
Maximize the Internet
Explorer window view:
With a regular window, the viewing area can be maximized by moving and reducing the size of the toolbars: In Internet Explorer, go to view and uncheck or check Status Bar to suit your needs, then go to view/toolbars and check only Standard Buttons and Address Bar. Uncheck Lock the Toolbars. Next, go to view/toolbars/customize and select "No text lables" in "Text options" and "Small icons" in "Icon options". Then add or remove toolbar buttons and sort them with the Move Up and Move Down buttons to suit your needs. I use Back, Forward, Refresh, Home, and Full Screen. Click on "Close". Now you can combine toolbars. Click and hold near the left margin of the Standard Buttons toolbar and drag it up onto the top bar. Then do the same for the Address Bar, or just click and hold on the lower margin of the taskbars and drag them all up. When combined, you can slide these bars to the left to hide the options you don't use often and give more space for the address bar. Now you can toggle between regular and full screen setups as shown in the images by clicking the Full Screen button. In full screen mode, right click on the toolbar and check Menu Bar, Address Bar, and Auto-Hide. You can slide these bars from side to side to suit your needs. Now the toolbar will auto-hide when browsing and give a true full screen, nothing but net, view.
this setup with a free ISP such as Netzero with an ad banner, park the
ad banner and the Windows Taskbar at the bottom of the screen and use Auto-hide
and Always on top for the Windows Taskbar. This will allow viewing
of the Internet Explorer toolbar when in full screen mode and full viewing
of web pages as well.