How to Work Faster with a Slow Internet Connection
When you're in a hurry, that's the time you always seem to encounter a slow Internet connection. As we've all painfully experienced, pages load in slow motion and emails take ages to send. If a sluggish Internet connection is a constant problem, you should consider upgrading your computer or subscribing to a faster Internet service. But if slowness is an intermittent problem, there are things you can do that won't cost you a cent to speed up your computer.
So you want to email a big file
If you're sending multiple files, especially large files such as photos , instead of sending them as email attachments, upload them to "cloud"-based file-sharing services online.
Windows Live Hotmail and Windows LiveSkydrive, for example, work together to store and share online documents. Likewise, Gmail and Google Docs are integrated and designed for sharing online. These programs make email messages smaller and let the recipients access the online documents using links, eliminating the often time-consuming download process.
You can still send files the old-fashioned way as email attachments, but compress them first to reduce their size. Some email services such as AOL Mail automatically compress, or "zip," multiple files when the documents are attached to an email. Windows 7 and Vista users can use a built-in compression tool right from their desktops. Right-click a file or folder with multiple files in it, point at "Send To," then select "Compressed Folder." Windows will compress the file or folder and save the new zipped file in the same place as the original file. Now you're ready to attach it to your email.
Windows XP users can use a third-party compression utility program such as WinZip. The program features a standard Windows point-and-click, drag-and-drop interface and has a compression wizard that walks users through the process.
Once your files have been zipped into one folder, your email will send faster. Furthermore, you'll avoid frustrating bounce-backs to your inbox that happen when your email is too large to be sent by your email provider.
An amazing number of open windows can accumulate while you work on your computer. Multiple browsers, emails, documents and photo-editing panes add up fast when you're immersed in a task. Opening up multiple tabs or separate windows in your browser eats up processing resources, and streaming music and video also can significantly slow your browsing speed.
The number of resources that each program uses can be a real eye-opener. See for yourself by opening Windows Task Manager. You can do this by right-clicking on any empty space along the ribbon to the right of the Start button. Select "Task Manager" to see a list of what's running and how much of your computer's memory is occupied.
Close the windows and tabs that you're no longer working on and watch those resource numbers plummet. Cutting your computer's workload will speed up the processing of your current task.
In case of emergency, turn off graphics
If you're under a time crunch, you may consider turning off the graphics in your web browser if these elements are not critical to your work. You will be able to see only text on the page, but Web pages will load noticeably faster.
Internet Explorer users should open the "Tools" menu, click "Internet Options" and then select the "Advanced" tab. Scroll down to the "Multimedia" section and uncheck the following boxes: play animations in webpages, play sounds in webpages, play videos in webpages and show pictures. Click "okay" for changes to take effect. When you're out of panic mode, simply go back in and recheck the boxes.
Firefox users should open the "Tools" menu, click options and then select "Content." Uncheck "Load images automatically." Firefox also allows users to authorize exceptions by specifying the sites from which you want to continue loading images ― a unique level of flexibility among browsers.
Google Chrome users can open the "Tools" menu, select "Options," click the "Under the Hood" tab and then "Content Settings." Click the "Images" tab and then select "Do not show any images."
Safari users will can select "Preferences" and then click on "Appearance." Uncheck "display images when the page opens."
Keeping a tidy computer
You can also do some housekeeping to speed things up when you're battling a slow Internet connection.
Send unused documents to the trash or store them on a flash drive. Move notoriously large files such as photos and videos off your computer and onto an external drive or into online storage. Delete your browsing history and temporary files. Clean out your inbox by sending old messages to the trash.
And don't forget to empty the trash – all that clutter in there can bog your computer down as well.