Having Slow Internet on Windows 10? Here’s What to Do
One of the most widely used operating systems on the planet, Windows 10 is not without its faults. Windows 10 has exceeded in features where 8.1 failed but at a very annoying cost. The consumption of resources and bandwidth to run these features can be considerable and downright detrimental to your online enjoyment.
These features will generally run silently in the background, devouring resources, bringing your internet speed down to a laughably, sluggish pace. It goes without saying that this is simply unacceptable, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of ways to fix your slow internet. Typically, if your internet speeds drop off, it isn’t just a problem with your ISP, but with your computer itself. Speeding up Windows 10 and speeding up your internet go hand-in-hand. So, how do you go about fixing your internet speeds?
If you’ve been struggling with slow to intermittent internet speeds for Windows 10, know that you’re not alone. The Microsoft help forums are flooded with plenty of complaints and inquiries as to why the internet is moving at a snail’s pace, especially following a recent update. Before you decide to get lost in a sea of issues in the aforementioned forums, this guide will run you through a few different tasks you can attempt to help fix the problem and get your internet back to running as smooth as it should be.
Close The Peer to Peer (P2P) Update Process
First on the list, you’ll need to disconnect the channel from which you pull data from for applications and system updates from other PCs on the same server. Windows has seen fit to divide up your internet bandwidth with total strangers all without your permission.
This is so that you, the incredibly selfless human being that you are, can enable others to receive their Windows updates faster at the expense of your internet speed. Not too sure on why Windows feels this is okay but it tends to bog down your internet speed both during and after a recent update.
To put the kibosh on the whole community connectivity situation limiting your bandwidth, you should:
- Head to your Start menu and click on the Settings icon or type settings into the search bar and click on the application when presented.
- Select Update and Security.
- Next click Advanced Options, then click on Delivery Optimization.
- Find Allow downloads from other PCs and click the blue toggle from On to Off.
No more internet sharing with people you don’t know. If the toggle was already set to Off as default, we still have a few more options you can try to get your internet speed back up to par.
Close Running Background Applications
Having too many programs and applications running in the background can slow down your PC let alone your internet. The real issue comes when you have multiple applications open that drain bandwidth on top of CPU power. Programs like Steam, Skype, and torrent downloads can drastically slow down your internet. Hell, even having Google Chrome open while gaming can alter the speed a little.
It’s best to quit all open background apps, but if you’d rather figure out which ones are being most detrimental to your internet speed, here’s what you can do:
- You’ll need to get to the Task Manager. There a few ways you can do this. First, the old standard of CTRL + ALT + DEL and selecting Task Manager from the options. Another way is to right-click the Windows Taskbar and selecting Task Manager from the dialog box. Other ways include typing Task Manager into the search or, if set up, you can just ask Cortana. Additionally, you can skip these next few steps and simply type resmon into your Run application (Windows Key + R) and it’ll take you to step 4.
- Once in Task Manager, swap over to the Performance tab.
- Near the bottom, click on Open Resource Monitor.
- Click on the Network tab. All currently running apps and services are displayed here under Processes with Network Activity. Those with higher send and receive requests are responsible for taking the largest chunk of internet bandwidth.
- To close an app or service, right-click it and select End Process.
If you’d prefer, here is how to stop startup applications from running in the background every time you log on:
- Click on Start and head to your Settings.
- Now, select Privacy.
- Next, from the left-hand menu, scroll down and click Background apps.
- Then, either click Let apps run in the background to turn off all background apps or click on the On/Off toggle switches to turn then off individually.
Use An Open Source DNS
The DNS for your PC is normally set to automatic by default. This is so the less technically inclined don’t need to mess with anything in order to get to their Facebook and Twitter accounts. For those of a more technical background, we understand the importance of a DNS and its effect on the speed at which we’re able to browse.
In order to change your DNS address to something more suitable than what your ISP suggests:
- Head to Network and Sharing Center. You can achieve this by right-clicking the network symbol located on right side of your taskbar. Some of us with multiple processes may need to click on the pointer to bring up a menu from which to reveal our network icon. As tempted as you may be to choose Troubleshoot problems, instead select Network & Internet settings.
If you’re having issues with doing it this way, you can open Settings from the Start menu and choose Network & Internet.
- On the right, under Change your network settings click Change adapter options.
- Right-click on your internet connection (ethernet or wi-fi) and choose Properties.
- From here, highlight Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties.
- It is from here where we can type in a preferred and alternate DNS IP. If you have IP addresses already typed into this area, write them down and keep them safe as you may need to revert back to them at some point.
The most recognizable, and one we’ll be using, is Google’s Public DNS. Make sure the radial labeled Use the following DNS server addresses is selected. in the Preferred DNS server area you’ll want to type in 126.96.36.199 and for the Alternate 188.8.131.52.
- Click OK to confirm.
You should restart your PC and then check to see if your internet speed has changed for the better.
Monitor/Disable Windows Updates
Considering Windows 10 loves to push through updates on the regular, usually without anyone knowing the wiser, it may benefit you to disable the feature. I’m not saying you should disable Windows Updates altogether, just that it may be prudent to monitor when your system needs an update by setting up notifications.
The notifications will allow you to choose when you want to have Windows 10 updated rather than having it go through automatically during a crucial moment of internet use. In order to adjust the Windows Update settings to your specifications:
- Go into your Start menu and locate Control Panel. The easiest way to do this is by typing “Control Panel” into the search bar and clicking on the application.
- Next, you’ll need to locate your Administrative Tools. If your Control Panel items are currently set to View by: Category, it may be simpler to change it to either Large or Small icons. It will most likely be the first option to select.
- In the Windows Explorer window, locate and open Services.
- Once in Services, scroll down until you find Windows Update. Right-click and choose either Stop or Pause if the feature is already running. To disable the feature, select Properties, tap the Startup type: dropdown and choose Manual (to have it send notifications when an update is available) or Disabled (to completely disable the feature).
Regardless of the choice you make, it is imperative that you keep up with Windows Updates. Disregarding this can result in issues elsewhere that you’ll likely not want to deal with on top of the slower internet. Besides, Windows Updates aren’t all bad.
Adjust Your Network Bandwidth Settings
By default, Windows 10 will reserve 20% of the total internet bandwidth you have at your disposal for the operating system and other system related programs. This means that you aren’t able to receive 100% of your internet bandwidth while cruising the web, skyping, or doing any other online activities.
In order to get that speed back, you’ll need to trim down the bandwidth reserve Windows 10 is hoarding and this is how:
- Pull up the Run command with Windows Key + R (or search run in the search bar).
- Type gpedit.msc and press OK. If you receive an error that Windows cannot find gpedit.msc, then you’re most likely on a Home version of Windows 10. All home versions of Windows do not offer Group Policy edit capabilities by default. You will need to download it before you can use it. For those who have Group Policy Editor installed, you can continue on with the next step.
- Click on Computer Configuration.
- Inside the window, find and open Administrative Templates. Then proceed with Network and lastly QoS Packet Scheduler.
- Click on Limit reservable bandwidth.
- When the window pops up, click the Enabled radial and in the Bandwidth limit (%): area, change it from 100 to 0.
- Click OK.
Windows 10 will no longer stash away 20% of your precious bandwidth and you are free to surf the web at 100%.
Install/Update Official Network Drivers
Network drivers can become outdated over time and it’s up to you to keep them updated. It’s also a good idea to make sure you’ve got the correct drivers installed to avoid unwanted complications with new Windows 10 updates.
In order to ensure that you have the correct drivers for your PC and that they are up to date, it’s best to visit the official site for them. You can always opt to have Windows do an automatic search for them but if you currently have the wrong drivers installed, this only makes matters worse.
If you’re having issues keeping up or just don’t want to go through the hassle, there are programs you can install that will ensure everything is kept up to date as it should be. Driver Talent, SnailDriver, and IOBit Driver Booster are all free options available to get the job done.
Use A Proper C: Drive Cleaner
Potentially increase the speed of your internet (and PC) by using a tried and true C: drive cleaner. This app will clean up the bulk of your disk space by removing trash, temporary files, and browser history from your hard drive. Essentially all of the unwanted or unnecessary files that your PC decides to save “just in case”.
There are quite a few out there to choose from, some of which you may want to avoid as scams. They’ll promise lightning speeds and malware blocking only to flood your PC with viruses and are damn difficult to delete from your PC.
Disable Your Firewall
This particular workaround is not recommended but just in case your firewall is hindering your net speed, this is how you can disable it:
- Type firewall into the search bar and click on the firewall that pops up. Some users may have a different firewall program but for this short tutorial, I’ll be using Windows Defender.
- On the left-side menu select Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off.
- Click the radial on both Private and Public network settings marked Turn off Windows Defender Firewall (not recommended).
- Click OK.
Don’t allow the Firewall to remain off until you’ve checked to see if it’s had any effect on your internet speed. Do a quick speed test and if nothing has changed, re-enable both firewalls.
Even if Windows Defender is the culprit, I wouldn’t keep the firewall disabled for too long. It could be in your best interest to find an alternative firewall for your PC that will not affect your internet speed in the long run.
Disable Windows Auto-Tuning
Windows Auto-Tuning is a nifty little feature that improves your PC’s performance through the use of TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). In short, your programs send data back and forth between one another. The auto-tuning feature allows your operating system to monitor the feedback received and uses that information to maximize network performance.
Needless to say, keeping programs running smoothly can cause your internet speed to experience a bit of turbulence. In order to turn the feature off:
- Open the Start menu and type in “cmd” in the search bar and click Run as administrator.
- Type in netsh interface tcp show global and press Enter.
- Look for Receive Window Auto-Tuning Level and see if it is set to normal. If so, we’ll need to disable it.
- Enter in a new command netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled
The “TCP Global Parameters” dialog will come up again, this time showing Receive Window Auto-Tuning Level as disabled. Follow up with a quick internet speed test to make sure it helped. You can use speedtest.net as it is good enough in this situation.
If you don’t notice any improvements, you can always re-enable Auto-Tuning by typing in the command netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=normal.
This feature is not unlike the Windows Auto-Tuning feature above. It is meant to improve network performance across the board at the expense of your internet speed. This particular feature veers more towards the use of your background apps and forces them to consume large quantities of internet while you’re actively engaged in something else.
To disable this feature:
- Right-click the Windows icon and select Device Manager. If you do not see it, you can go through the Control Panel or type Device Manager directly into the search bar and click on the application.
- Expand the Network Adapters menu and look for your particular network card. Double-click it.
- From here, select the “Advanced” tab and highlight Large Send Offload v2 (IPv4).
- Change the value from Enabled to Disabled.
- Repeat this for Large Send Offload v2 (IPv6), if applicable.
- Click OK.
If you need to reverse this decision at any point, simply change the values back to Enabled and click “OK”.
Get Rid of Microsoft OneNote
It might seem a bit strange, but OneNote can also cause the internet to run a bit slow. You’ll find the conversation in the comments section of this Microsoft Answers post. If you happen to use OneNote, that’s awesome. Continue to do so as normal. If you use Microsoft Office but have no interest in OneNote, deleting it from your PC could help.
OneNote is a glorified sticky notes app similar to Evernote that can aggregate all of your notes in one spot. So, if you feel this is something necessary to your life, keep it. If not, then here’s how you remove it:
- Right-click the Start menu and select Windows Powershell (Admin). Click Yes on the pop-up.
- You’ll be looking at a blue version of a DOS-like screen. Enter in this command:
Get-AppxPackage *OneNote* | Remove-AppxPackage
- Hit Enter.
And just like that, OneNote is gone.
If you feel that I’ve missed a solution to the Windows 10 slow internet speed problem or seem to be having trouble following any of the above instructions, tell me about it in the comments below.