Slow Internet with Windows 10? Here’s how get up to speed

Since its launch in July 2015, Windows 10 has become one of the most widely used operating systems in the world with more than 400 million installations. Windows 10 packs in a bundle of new features compared to Microsoft’s previous flagship OS, Windows 8.1. These additional features have improved usability and functionality, but there’s a price to pay: They also consume a considerable amount of system resources and network bandwidth, resulting in slow Internet speeds.

This reduced network throughput usually happens because of background activities and other services of Windows 10, which by default consumes or reserves some of your Internet bandwidth for various reasons.

Users suffering from these issues can perform a few easy troubleshooting steps that might bring their Internet back up to speed.

Monitoring Windows updates

Windows 10 comes enabled with automatic Windows updates. The update function stays active in the background and can consume large chunks of network bandwidth as it checks for and downloads all the updates. Although it is recommended to keep Windows updated, you can temporarily disable the feature. This might boost your Internet speed.

During the Windows 10 rollout, Microsoft devised an automatic system that turns your PC into a file-sharing server to reduce the load on the central Window’s servers. As a result of this P2P sharing service, a portion of your network services is constantly engaged in background activities. To overcome this, one needs to properly manage these services by following these steps:

  • Navigate to your Windows settings and click on “Windows Update” from “Update and recovery” menu.Windows update management

 

  • Click on “Choose how updates get installed” option and set your update preferences accordingly.
    Check settings for Windows 10 updates

Restrict background applications

Applications running in the background can be a very common and obvious reason for lagging Internet speeds. Many of these background applications can be disabled when not in use to prevent a slow Internet connection. This will also improve the overall performance of the system.

Commonly used bandwidth consuming applications:

  • Torrent applications
  • Cloud-storage applications such as Dropbox and Google Drive
  • Antivirus software
  • Steam
  • Graphics card driver applications such as Nvidia GeForce Experience

A simple approach to the problem would be to turn off some of these applications when not in use. (Of course, you want to be very careful before turning off your antivirus program.) In addition to these applications, Windows packs in a lot of additional background services that tends to drain your Internet’s bandwidth. To check and monitor these background services/apps follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Right-click the Windows Taskbar and open “Task Manager.”
  • In the Task Manager’s menu click on the “Performance” tab.  Performance monitoring in Task Manager
  • Now, click on “Open Resource Monitor” from the bottom portion of the window. Resource monitor
  • Click on the Network tab and check for the applications or services that have a high number of send and receive requests. A higher number indicates that these particular services/apps are consuming a great deal of your bandwidth. Slow internet speed can be caused by a number of applications and services

 

Disabling firewalls

Firewalls are one of the most important security features that comes preinstalled with Windows operating systems. But apart from protecting your system from malware and intruders, firewalls can sometimes block or slow down your Internet speeds and can limit your network bandwidth significantly. In the case of slow Internet speeds, try disabling the firewall temporarily to check whether this is the culprit affecting your Internet connection. If it appears that it is indeed the firewall that is slowing your Internet, check your firewall settings to see if there are any unnecessary rules or other configurations you can tweak. If you are using Windows 10’s built-in firewall, you might consider using a third-party firewall instead. And conversely, if you are already using a third-party firewall, you might consider switching to the Windows 10 built-in firewall. Different systems will get different results.

Disabling Large Send Offload (LSO)

Large Send Offload is one of the latest features in Windows 10. LSO is actually meant to improve the overall network performance of the system, but contrary to its purpose, this feature actually allows background applications to consume a considerably large amount of network bandwidth. It can, however, be disabled manually.

Here are the steps to disable LSO:

  • Open Start Menu and right-click on the Computer and select “Properties.” How to disable LSO step 1 - Computer properties
  • Now Click on “Device Manager” from control panel.
  • Among all the devices listed, expand “Network Adapters.”
  • Find your Network Card and double-click on it. How to disable LSO step 2 - Device manager
  • Select “Advanced” tab and Select “Large Send Offload V2 (IPv4)” and set the value to Disabled. How to disable LSO step 3 - Network adapter advanced properties
  • Do the same for Large Send Offload V2 (IPv6) (if it is available).
  • Click OK.

Installing official network drivers

Although Windows 10 comes preinstalled with all required generic drivers, they sometimes result in stability and compatibility issues with the system’s hardware. In the case of slower Internet speeds, it is advisable to download the appropriate drivers manually from the hardware manufacturer’s website for better Internet connections and more stable performance of the system.

Tweaks using ‘Group Policy Editor’

If nothing mentioned above works, then this measure might come in handy. Although most of us use Windows as our primary operating system, not every one of us is aware that Windows 10 reserves 20 percent of your Internet bandwidth for OS and other system-related services. This means you only have the remaining 80 percent for your browsing and other internet usages. You can disable this Internet bandwidth reservation by following these steps.

  1. Log in to your system with admin rights and click on windows key+R key on the keyboard at the same time to get Run window.
  2. Type “gpedit.msc” in the search box of Run and press OK. Starting GPEDIT
  3. Once the Group Policy window is loaded, click on “Computer Configuration” option Computer configuration in GPEDIT
  4. Now navigate through  “Administrative Templates” > “Network” > “QoS Packet Scheduler” and click on “Limit reservable bandwidth” Internet bandwith is reserved by QoS Packet Scheduler
  5. In the new window that appears, choose “Enabled” and change the corresponding Bandwidth limit (%) to 0.Get access to the full available internet speed by setting 100% bandwidth limit
  6. Apply these changes and click on OK

Hopefully, many of your issues and concerns regarding slow and laggy Internet speeds will be resolved by following these simple tips and troubleshooting methods. If the problem persists, you might need to contact your Internet service provider or check for physical issues in your network and system.

33 thoughts on “Slow Internet with Windows 10? Here’s how get up to speed”

      1. He’s correct about the firewall, but auto updates will slow down the connection WHILE they’re updating.

        “Guess you like your device to be an ad server is an absurd, unfounded, load of nonsense.

  1. Sukesh Mudrakola

    Hi David,
    In the article, it is very clearly mentioned that ‘disabling firewalls’ is just a temporary measure to confirm whether it’s the reason for slow internet speeds or not. As far as the windows updates are concerned, it’s not mentioned to disable them completely. Rather, the article states that the updates are to be monitored properly by the user to tackle slow internet speeds.
    Hope this helps.

    Thanks.

    1. YES! Turning OFF firewall (temp) made my speed go FAST. Now I must research what’s happening and why. Thank you!

  2. David, you really need to brush up on your reading skills. As Sukesh should not have to repeat himself due to your incompetence

    1. I 2nd that Wrightman!. Unfortunate some are in such a hurry to be critical and pass judgement that they fail to read the entire article.
      I thought this article by Sukesh was very well written and informative.
      I have just stumbled upon the Techgenix site and have to express that the few articles I have read I perceived as quit good. The bonus was reaching the end of the articles and finding that the writer truly had beneficial information to offer unlike so many writings on the internet these days. The all to common end of article where the writer goes on and on about common problem people seek answers, only to end with “well I, like most of my readers don’t have this answer either & would really like to know. So if any of you nice readers out there has the answer, please email”. Geezus, strangle!
      I appreciate that Sukesh shares his knowledge and will seek his articles.
      Thank you techgenix!

    2. Nope, those are both two desirable things to leave enabled and if they’re a problem, you have solved nothing by disabling them. It’s not a valid test to fiddle with things that have to work. Rather, you’re just wasting time towards finding the problem.

    1. Sukesh Mudrakola

      Hello Justin,

      Since the Group Policy Editor is not included in Windows 10 by default, we will need to download the editor first. After you download the files (“GroupPolicy“, “GroupPolicyUsers” and gpedit.msc.), paste them in
      –> C:\Windows\SysWOW[64/32] folder (depending on your system)

      Hope this helps!

  3. Internet slow? Stop using it for better speeds! Background applications are there generally because the user installed them. Asking for them to be turned off or removed runs counter to the user’s wishes. For torrent software specifically, there’s usually an option within the software itself to constrain bandwidth use and even to set hours of the day to run (so you can get those bootleg downloads while your sleeping instead of while you’re streaming Netflix).

    Also, most of these other suggestions don’t actually do what is claimed. They’re just regurgitated from common bandwidth myths off the internet.

    LSO actually speeds up transfers that would otherwise slow you down.

    Turning off “Limit Reserved Bandwidth” will have no noticeable effect. (The system doesn’t permanently reserve this. It just gives priority to system transfers up to the amount of bandwidth specified. Those transfers are going to happen anyway so you might as well get them out of the way as quickly as possible.)

  4. Group Policy Editor is not available on Home versions, and it is strongly suggested that you don’t attempt to install and use it without deep knowledge of the registry.

    Oh, and don’t use 10 over a DSL. Boat anchor.

  5. Subject: autotuninglevel disable for Win10 Home
    1. Start administrator command prompt (Rt.Click RunAs Administrator)
    2. type powershell
    3. Copy and paste: netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled
    4. Copy and paste: netsh interface tcp show global
    Last step will display global autotuninglevel=disabled
    Use netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=enabled to turn it back on

  6. M Abubakr Fayaz

    Non of them worked for me. The problem is, somehow, something keeps using the internet inside the computer. Even after turning of Windows 10 auto update feature and disabling many apps, the internet speed did’nt recover. Something keeps using internet on and on. I don’t know what to do.

    1. run powershell in admin mode and type: netstat -b

      kill all listed programs one by one in task manager, look which cause your issue

    2. Sukesh Mudrakola

      Hello Abubakr,

      Try disabling the background processes and activities from powershell as XzenT mentioned. If that problem persists, try reinstalling your network drivers.

      Hope this helps.

  7. Hello,

    Could you please tell me where I could find a safe gpedit.msc file? I found it in a few websites, downloaded them but the virus scan fails to prove that they are safe to be used 🙁
    Another solution would perhaps be to upgrade from the Home Edition to the Pro Edition. That would of course cost me some money and time!

  8. Have you for real just suggested to reserve 100% of bandwidth for the OS? How does that suppose to improve your Internet speed? Or did you mean 0% actually? Ha.

  9. Remove all “Immunization” antimalware softwares like SpyBot S&D or at least disable that feature. In SpyBot Go to Immusization- Click Undo and then Go to Tools-Resident-Untick all boxes. Do the same for Immunisation also. Untick all the boxes. You need to be in Advanced mode.

    Now we come to the main Culprit. Go to Windows-Windows32-drivers-etc-hosts folder. Remove all hosts files (including hosts files with BACKUP extension) EXCEPT the one that is smallest in size.
    DON’T TOUCH other files.

    Now run Disk Cleanup. Restart your computer and most likely your problem will be solved. And yes, Do use a good Anti-Virus or Internet Suite which is a must and paid ones are better while free ones are not bad either.

  10. hello
    i have problem in my laptop my WiFi is working good in other devices but my laptop is not going upto 12 kb/s i disable all kinds of firewall
    and if i connect my laptop with different network it work fine
    only its not working with my network help plzzzzzzzz.

    1. Sukesh Mudrakola

      Hello Murtaza,

      I am pretty sure, it has something to do with your network setting. I suggest you to login to your network management dashboard and check if your laptop has been blocked or blacklisted. If so, unblock or whitelist your laptop and it should be back to normal.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks.

  11. Hello,

    Thank you very much for all this work and the details. I have no “LSO” option in my adapter, do you know if there is any other way to deactivate it ?

    Thanks a lot!

  12. Thanks, my culprit was the skype application, a nice list of things to check. It hindered my network speed to 1-2 Mbps from 40Mbps.

  13. I tried everything on that list and it still didn’t fix the problem.
    Then I realized it wasn’t the laptop, but the modem/router. Something was obstructing the slots for heat dissipation. I removed the obstruction and VOILA, back up to speed ! It’s called Thermal Throttling. My modem was doing it because it was too hot.
    So make sure your equipment is not overheating.

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