Computer Question: Slow PC? Take it easy

Ross Jewell of the Vernon PC Users's Club answers that age-old question, what is happening when the Internet slows down?

Since last spring Microsoft has released Windows 10 and is encouraging users of older versions of the operating system to upgrade.

As with any generational change in computer software some issues in the product being replaced may be resolved, but on the other hand, new problems may be introduced that mitigate whatever net gains are being touted by the software developer.

As a general rule it is prudent not to be an early adopter of new software, particularly operating systems which impact all application software under its control.

Network system software is a different breed of cat, however, over which the end user has no control whatsoever once the delivery method to your home or business has been chosen.

Remember the dialup modem which piggybacked a digital signal over a network designed for analog voice traffic? If you were an Internet user in those days you were competing for bandwidth not only with other Internet users but as well with those folks who just wanted to call home.

Nowadays we have dedicated high speed digital networks built with coaxial or optical cable with bandwidth capacity several orders of magnitude greater. Still, these networks do have a limit as to how much traffic can be handled. Much of the voice and text mail traffic has moved to cell phone networks, but the Internet still does the heavy lifting in the form of streaming entertainment content like movies and sporting events.

So when the Internet slows down think of the system that delivers water to your home. If everyone on your block or in your highrise were to decide to take a shower at the same time you might be lucky to get a dribble. Windows 10 might allow you to check your e-mail faster and help you kill time while waiting on a download, but it would be a pleasant surprise if it improves Internet speed.

The next meeting of the Vernon PC Users’ Club is Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Schubert Centre in the cafeteria.

Call Betty at 542-7024 or Grace at 549-4318 for more information.