Why Does My Internet Slow to a Crawl When My Desktop Is Turned On?

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I have a very specific problem. I have a router which connects to both my desktop PC (which is wired) and several wireless devices: a tablet, a laptop, and so forth. Whenever I turn on the desktop, my laptops, and my tablets, the internet almost stops working. It takes three to four refreshes to open up a page ( which is irritating) and the internet, if it’s working at all, is very slow. Usually, when the laptop and the tablet are on, the internet runs fine. How do I fix this?

This sounds like your desktop computer is simply hogging all of your internet bandwidth.

There are several reasons why this could be happening.

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When your internet s…l…o…w…s…

The desktop computer may be trying to upload or download something (probably a very large file or maybe several things). In doing so, it’s taking up all of the available internet speed that your ISP is giving you.

This could be temporary. For example, if the desktop is downloading updates, then the speed should return to normal after the download is complete.

Slow as a snailIt could be malwareMalicious software on that desktop could be trying to upload and download constantly to the exclusion of everything else.

It could be a router. Normally, your router does a better job of getting everything more or less equal time, but that’s actually an impossible task depending on exactly what’s happening. The concept of equal time doesn’t really apply. Some routers are simply better at it than others.

What do I do?

I would start with my article, “How do I monitor network activity on my Windows 7 machine?” This examines what the desktop machine might be doing when it’s running.

Run the diagnostic tools outlined in that article and see exactly what that desktop machine is trying to do. From there, you could probably make some decisions about turning off software or allowing downloads to run. But that’s where the information is and that’s where I’d have you start.

8 comments on “Why Does My Internet Slow to a Crawl When My Desktop Is Turned On?”

  1. Yes Leo,I have a Dell Desktop I purchased new n 2004,windows xp ,sp3,and the word (run) has disappeared,I need to locate it so I can stop some programs from loading when my pc starts up,thanks,..please help me find where it is”run”.

    • Right-click START. On the ‘Start Menu’ tab click ‘Customize’. On the ‘Advanced’ tab, in the ‘Start Menu items’ box, take care that the ‘Run Command’ is checked.
      I hope this is what you are referring to.

  2. my brother keeps using bit torrent and is hogging all the internet! i cant even do my research for my essay! im forced to use my mobile phone.. please help me how to prevent that injustice brother of mine to stop torrenting, or to at least share the internet. i beg of you

  3. Whenever my HP laptop uses a web browser the ping on my mac book air instantly jumps to over 2000, I think the issue started happening after upgrading to windows 10. I’ve tried upgrading the network drivers to no avail. Plz help!

  4. hello, great thread and great work, but I still face the problem, will the router model causing that slowing in the wireless, or cause bad distributions to the bandwidth ?
    I use windows 10, I disabled all the services which I not use, I noticed that SVCHOST takes the highest bandwidth in the resmon, could be because of the windows update which running in the background.
    my router is 3Com OfficeConnect ADSL Wireless 11g Firewall Router Version 1.12.04.A.
    hopefully that leo still follow this thread.
    Thank you in aadvance

  5. The next time everything slows down on your network, and you’re not knowingly doing any heavy downloading, click your Start button, start typing resource monitor and after just a few letters the program name should appear at the top of the menu so click on it. When the program opens, click the “Network” tab, look at the “Network Activity” bar then the “Network I/O” monitor – it looks like this. Keep an eye on it for a few minutes. What’s the maximum value shown (in Kbps or Mbps)?
    That simple test should determine whether there’s a hidden process on your laptop that’s using the Internet so much it’s slowing everyone down.

  6. I have a Windows 7 laptop that my husband uses just for simple games. I don’t want internet access on all the time so I unclick internet access when I turn it on. However, every time I turn the laptop off for the night, when I restart it the next morning, internet access is automatically on. How do I get it to stay off until I want it on, for updates and such?

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