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A new computer's internet access can be slowed down by the internet connection itself or by trying to run too much software. There are a few places to look.

I just purchased a new desktop and opening websites seems slower than my old XP computer. I did not transfer to the new computer any other software or programs other than what was on my old XP computer. My wife did add Microsoft Office to the new computer. Could this be what is slowing down opening websites? I also noticed on Windows 8, under Programs Installed is AMD Catalyst Control Center. I did not have this on XP. What is this program for and is it necessary? If not, please advise how to uninstall it? Thanks for your informative newsletter.

In this excerpt from Answercast #80, I look at various reasons a new computer could be accessing the internet slower than its predecessor.

New computer's internet access

So there are couple of things that come to mind right away.

Whenever you get a new machine, it's very difficult to compare apples and oranges because the hardware is so dramatically different.

You would expect, of two different machines on the same internet connection, that the newer of the two would potentially be faster. It's probably got a faster processor and faster disk and so forth.

The internet connection itself

It's usually the internet connection, and not the computer itself, that actually determines how fast your internet browsing experience will be.

A couple of things come to mind.

One: if you're now sharing that internet connection between two computers, well, those two computers are competing for that resource.

If the other computer is actually doing something on the internet at the same time, it causes the internet on the new computer to actually be a little bit slower.

Normally, the kinds of things that we're doing on the internet don't really impact each other that dramatically. But, if the older computer is doing something like a large download or Microsoft update or something like that, then it's possible that it could create some slower internet performance on the new computer.

Pre-installed software

One other thing comes to mind on a new computer.

You haven't indicated what manufacturer this is, but new computers often come with a lot of (for lack of a better word) "stuff" that's pre-installed.

Usually, the number one thing that affects the overall performance of a computer is simply trying to run too much stuff. I don't really have a good solution for that specific problem because it varies so dramatically from one machine to the next and specifically from one computer manufacturer to the next.

Clean up software

What I would do is what it sounds like you are already doing - and that is examine the software that's installed on your machine and uninstall that software that you don't need.

Now, if you have software that's installed but not running (like for example Microsoft Office), that shouldn't impact anything. That really shouldn't make a difference. It doesn't matter if Office is on the machine or not.

What matters is the software that's actually running at the time you're having these performance issues.

One thing you might do is go grab a copy of Process Explorer. If you take a look at "Who's Hogging the CPU" (an article I wrote some time ago), that will show you if one or more of the programs running on your computer is in fact taking too many resources and causing your computer to slow down overall.

There are other possibilities. Things like the hard disk may be having some issues or the hard disk itself being slower on the new computer than the old one, but that's unlikely.

So, the very first place I would start is the software that's installed on your machine, and actually running, at the time you're having these performance issues.

Catalyst Control

Now, to answer your other question down this path.

AMD Catalyst Control Center is software that is specifically for your video card. You have a video card that uses underlying technology from AMD. The Catalyst Control Center is software that allows you to control, configure, and play around with the various characteristics of that video card.

I generally recommend leaving it place; I have it on my machine as well.

It is not a performance hog. It shouldn't impact much of anything - certainly not your internet performance and typically not your computer's overall performance at all. It simply turns out to be a useful utility for manipulating some of the more advanced settings on your video display.

Try another browser

Finally, one other thing that comes to mind to try is since you're running Windows 8, you have Internet Explorer 10.

You might consider downloading either Firefox or Chrome or both if you like (there's no reason not to have them both) and see if either of those will perform a little faster for you.

In fact, I'd be very interested in understanding if that has an impact on this particular issue if you try it.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Article C6151 - December 19, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

December 22, 2012 6:49 AM

One of the best things i do to determine network activity is to use Task Manager and open Resource monitor. Then click on Network tab to view what programs are using the network. Microsoft automatic updates usually take over the network and cause a slowdown. Other possible causes include automatic updates from other softwares, file transfers etc. As leo said, process explorer can also be used.

December 28, 2012 7:55 AM

One thing I always do when working on a new PC or maintaining one for a friend is optimize the network adapter settings. I have been doing this for years. I used to use Internet Boost, now I download and run TCP Optimizer from CNET. Run it once and 99% of the settings hold, so you don't have to run it again. So it may be that the network adapater settings on the new machine are quite different than the old one, and this is causing a seemingly slower internet connection.

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