Slow-loading Web Browser Links

One of my forum readers in my Windows XP /2000/etc forum ( I shut down those forums several years ago) wrote about a problem he was having.

IE6 SP1 browser..links take long time to download

My computer contains: Athlon 3200gb, 1 gig Ram, I have WinXP SP2 Home, and IE 6 SP1. When I click on a link in my OE e-mail, I am immediately taken to the web-site. When on a web-site, and I click on a link within the site, it takes "forever" to download the page….I watch the green progress bar, not much happens. It says "done", but I still have to wait a long time for the page to download. I click the F5 key to refresh and still it takes a long time for the page to download.

I’ve checked for malware (AdAware, SpyBot, MS anti spyware, CCleaner….none), I ran a system scan for viruses (AVG and then TrendMicro Housecall….no viruses), I cleaned out cache, Temp files and cookies. Nothing helps.

I also ran Start/Run/ sfc /scannow with my original Win XP CD and this didn’t help. I also ran IE Fix…didn’t help. This problem occurs on e-mails with Links from e.g.;;, etc.

What suggestions can U offer?? I would hate to format/reinstall.
Irving S.

After an initial response, where I thought he was still on XP SP1, Irving wrote back:

I have all of the required updates (which is done automatically). I also tried Firefox and Opera browsers…..same slow download times.

Help, again
Irving S.

Since Irving was serious about solving this problem, I did a little brainstorming and provided him a few things to try:

1) delete your temporary Internet files (IE) and cache (Firefox). Set the temporary internet files and cache to something reasonable — 4-5 MB if cable or DSL, or 20 MB if dialup. By default, Windows uses 10% of your hard drive.

2) dump your System Restore points (turn off System Restore, which will dump them, then turn it back on). THEN, run your antispyware and registry checkers. Download and try CounterSpy (30-day free trial)

3) Check your Hosts file (C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts — delete anything other than localhost
and other than anything for your local network that YOU have set up

4) IE — go into Internet Options and reset to one of the "default" settings

5) Are you using an Internet Proxy service? Intentionally or unintentionally — your ISP may be using a proxy that’s slow rather than just using a cache. Try turning off the proxy.

6) Are you running any ad-blocking or javascript-blocking software? I noticed with Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall — it put a big javaScript around any web page I downloaded, which slowed up things

7) Back to #3 — if you’re using ad-blocking, it often works by redirecting the requests to — which means the browser keeps waiting for the data to come in, until it finally fails.

Irving wrote back to tell me what he found on each of the 7 items and what he changed. Then, he wrote back to say:

I think that U have solved my problem. I’ll give U the "rest-of-the-day-off". I tried several sites and the download was almost "immediate".
Let’s hold off until I go thru some more sites.

Thank U….Thank U….Thank U.
I want U 2 know that others have tried to help me…to no avail
Have a great week and will keep U posted.
Irving S.

He wrote me an email later in the week — with another "thank youv and a tip. Here it is:

Hi Terry,
I’m the guy U had helped with "long download times with IE6 SP1", and I believe I did thank U. In case I didn’t….. a heartfelt thanks. I had contacted many forums and help sites. Many suggestions and solutions……none worked. YOURS DID!!!

I was reviewing your link in your newsletter re: Keeping the Correct Time on Your Computer

Here is a little know fact in Windows XP: Right click on clock in System Tray, in context menu, select "adjust date/time"
in Date and Time Properties window, click on Internet Time Tab. Make sure that a check mark is next to: automatically synchronize with Internet Time Server. Then click the button: Update Now

Hope U find this useful and perhaps alert your readers……I am a recent subscriber.

Irv Stein
(my web-site: why not visit??

Thanks, Irv. I hadn’t noticed that option before. Now that I try it, I see that there are new options on the right-click menu when I right-click on the time in the Status Bar.


  1. Dear Terry,

    I’m having the same problem, which has been growing worse over the past year.
    -But often the first page takes a long time too. I tried to follow your advice re:
    hosts, but I found the folder confusing. I’m running 1.25 gig Ram, I have WinXP SP2 Home, and I use the Google Chrome browser. The CPU is 2.4 Ghz on a Dell Dimension, so generally everything works fast enough. We live out in the country, so we have to use Hughes Satellite; I have the HN7000S, and generally it downloads fast enough, between .8 and 1.4 MB…-I’m on a small network, use a wired router, and so I’m nervous about changing settings, because initially it was pretty complicated…

    Here is what I found in the etc folder:

    11 files, none of which I can open, (- they don’t say what will open them)
    These are: (going from left to right, line by line)

    hosts file File 363 KB
    hosts.20090823-044634 backup BACKUP File 1 KB
    hosts.20090827-274338 backup BACKUP File 371 KB
    hosts.20090914-025432 backup BACKUP File 1 KB
    hosts.20091207-030540 backup BACKUP File 322 KB
    hosts. ics ICS File 1 KB
    NETWORKS File 1 KB
    PROTOCOL File 1 KB
    quotes File 2 KB
    SERVICES File 7 KB

    Hopefully you might enlighten me about whether I could delete any of these, and also generally what they are and to open and work with them. Thanks for any help you can give, Cheers, L

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