Speed tweaks

Although cable modem and DSL Internet connections are usually much faster than their dial-up counterparts, they're rarely configured to be as fast as possible. This section of the website will show you how to close that gap, adding as much as 100 KB/s in just a few clicks.

On Windows computers, you’ll usually see the most improvement with registry tweaks. These are minor “under the hood” changes that increase the efficiency with which Windows handles Internet data. Note, however, that the registry is crucial to the functioning of Windows, and a single mistake could render your machine useless. This is why I really, really recommend that you BACK UP YOUR REGISTRY before messing with it.

Windows XP registry editor

Registry editor in Windows XP.

On any version of Windows, you can access the Registry Editor by going to the Run box (Start » Run…) and entering “regedit”. Backing up the registry isn’t much harder than saving a file; just go to File » Export… and provide a filename. Make sure you choose to export the whole registry, and not just a selected branch.

Once that’s done, It’s time to start tweaking. Most of it can be done automatically, but if you’re running Windows 95/98/Me, you’ll need to find this folder manually:

Within that folder, you’ll see several numbered sub-folders. Find the one in which there is a DriverDesc setting with the value "TCP/IP". In that sub-folder, look for a MaxMTU setting. If it doesn’t exist, create it (Edit » New » String Value and type "MaxMTU"). Most of the time, it works best when set to 1500; if you have a PPPoE DSL connection, though, It’s best kept at 1492 or less. You can change the setting by double-clicking it and typing in a new value.

Beyond that, you’ll just need to run one of the generic patches below. They're simple text files, and if you’re really interested in what they do, you can open them up to take a look. Otherwise, just click on the appropriate patch and let it run!

That’s it! Of course, these settings can’t work perfectly for all systems, so you may actually notice a slowdown after they've been installed. If so, you can return to your old settings by opening Registry Editor and importing your backup file (File » Import…). Note, however, that you should NOT import a backup file if you have installed programs or made any other changes to your computer since you used the patches. Doing so may erase new settings and cause your computer to fail.

Or your computer may work fine, and your Internet connection may run faster than a hampster on a rocket-car-mounted exercise wheel. Only time can tell.