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Browsers are slow on one laptop but not the other

  • I have two laptops with Opera, IE, Chrome, and Firefox on each. One laptop runs Windows Vista with no problems with any of these browsers. The other laptop runs Windows 8.1 and is VERY slow with all browsers. It is so slow as to be almost unusable. The spinner keeps spinning and pages never seem to finish loading. Facebook is the worst. What can I do? I have no idea what the problem is and have no idea how to fix this slowness issue.


    [Moved to Lounge]

  • Some network (speed, DNS) issues? Malware? Antivirus? Hardware? I don't think this problem is related to Opera, esp when other browsers are slow too.

  • I didn't say it was an Opera problem. But I am trying to find out what it is so I can get it fixed.

  • For any browser to successfully connect to a website, a full chain of events has to occur which involves several elements each working successfully. A problem in or with any of them can either block the connection or slow it to a crawl. Because you have one laptop successfully operating, it's an indication that the 'correct' network path to your ISP, over the Internet, and into the website server is operating correctly. Hence, the problem most probably lies within the slow computer: its hardware, its software, or its settings.

    To communicate via the Internet, the computer uses various conceptual layers each involving both hardware and software. The first layer allows the data from the application program (in this case, a browser) to be standardized in order to communicate with other computers on the network using an agreed-upon format or protocol. The next layer assigns port numbers both for sending and receiving data sent over the network, a port being a sort of address label unique to the kind of communication occurring and the settings at both ends of the path. The Internet layer provides the intelligence to orchestrate, send, receive, and route data over the Internet network. The network layer is the hardware (and cabling) in your computer that actually pushes or receives packaged electronic signals over the computer's network cable or wireless transceiver.

    Anything that interferes with any of these layers or the necessary sequence of steps in walking data unimpeded through them to/from a remote website over the Internet can cause either blockage or slowdowns in the communications with a website. Erratic operation or noise at any point can force data to be re-transmitted repeatedly either way so as to get a clean delivery, and that can slow things down dramatically. @donq has listed key issues that can impact data flow through the layers in one way or another. In addition, a number of settings on the system and its software must be properly set to keep communication speed at its optimum level. Hence it's difficult at distance for others to know what the specific cause for your situation might be.

    The most common causes of slowdowns are those listed by @donq: malware (which can bring a computer to a crawl), an interfering AV (or its settings), a hardware problem (especially the network card/chipset or an erratic cable/wifi-transceiver), a name-server lookup problem (DNS), or even corruption in an OS software file involved in the layer operations. What is not a likely cause are things shared by both the fast and slow computers: the ISP, the Internet itself, or the websites.

  • If you have it slow both online and offline, some stuttering/hanging on the system, try cleaning it up.
    Well, I wouldn't recommend my AV - cause it's not an 👼, but first time it administered my system my system got a huge kick off: it removed junk, doubled my free space, optimised stuff, etc.
    There are tools, I say...

  • Where should I start? What are the easiest things to do first?

  • What is your antivirus? Manually scan the system with it (using a deep-scan functionality, if it's available). Then scan the system with Malwarebytes (it's a free download from ). If both those come up clean, then you should check your Network Interface Card via the Windows Control Panel to make sure it's not having problems. Is the problem laptop connected to the Internet/modem-router via an ethernet cable or by wifi?

  • After scanning the system, check your disks on account of some messing - just in case - to defragment if needed.
    Not that it's crucially relevant - perhaps, but while you're at it, ;).