4 Useful Tweaks to Speed Up Your Internet Browser [Windows]

There are hundreds of articles online covering various methods to speed up your web browsing experience. This article covers a few lesser-known tweaks which will improve your browser performance in Windows 7, and should be applicable to Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Exploler.

The role of DNS cache is to store IP addresses of pages you have recently viewed. If you tend to visit particular sites often (such as facebook or twitter), increasing the size of your DNS cache effectively improves browser loading performance. To enhance the size of your DNS cache you need to do the following:

Click the Start button and type “regedit” and hit enter. In the registry editor, browse to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\DNScache\Parameters

Right click on the white space on the right and add four DWORD values:

CacheHashTableBucketSize
CacheHashTableSize
MaxCacheEntryTtlLimit
MaxSOACacheEntryTtlLimit

Ideal value settings could be as follows:

  • CacheHashTableBucketSize – up to 1
  • CacheHashTableSize – up to 384
  • MaxCacheEntryTtlLimit – up to 64000
  • MaxSOACacheEntryTtlLimit – up to 301

Restart your computer for changes to take effect.

For XP, Vista and Windows 7, the QoS Reserve Bandwidths limit is enabled by default to 20% ‘reserve’ of your available bandwidths in order to assist certain applications like Windows Update. Changing the limit to reserve a lower percentage of bandwidth will effectively speed up your internet performance. To reduce your reserved bandwidth limit in Windows 7, you need to do the following:

Click the Start button and type “regedit” and hit enter. In the registry editor, browse to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft

Right-click on Windows and create a new key called “Psched”.

fast-internet-browsing-Psched

Then right click on the new key you just created and create a new “DWORD” entry. Name it “NonBestEffortLimit” and set the value to zero to disable reserve bandwidth.

fast-internet-browsing-NonBestEffortLimit

For Windows 7, the TCP auto-tuning feature is enabled by default. This may cause websites to open at a significantly reduced speed as the feature does not operate effectively with a number of web servers. To disable TCP, first open a command prompt with “Run As Administrator” permission. Type the following command to disable the TCP autotuning feature:

netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

fast-internet-browsing-disable-autotuning

Exit the Command Prompt and restart your computer to ensure changes take effect.

Note: To restore TCP autotuning feature type the following command at Command Prompt:

netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=normal

Exit the Command Prompt and restart your computer to ensure changes take effect.

In some instances, you may notice that browsing a particular webpage with your internet browser is significantly slower than with an earlier version. This may be because your browser is running in Software Rendering mode instead of GPU Rendering mode by default. This can occur for users with outdated video cards and video drivers that do not support GPU hardware acceleration. To resolve this issue, install the latest video driver that supports GPU hardware acceleration.

If the issue is not resolved after installing the most up to date video driver, you may have to upgrade your video card to one that supports GPU hardware acceleration.

You can normally check if your browser is running Software Rendering mode in the advanced settings sections of most browsers advanced, and is referred to as “accelerated graphics section”.

The example below shows how to review this in Internet Explorer 9:

1. Open Internet Explorer 9 and click ‘Internet Options’ on the Tools menu.

2. .On the Advanced tab, locate the Accelerated graphics section.

Verify that the “Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering” check box is selected. If this option is selected, Internet Explorer 9 is running in Software Rendering mode. Uncheck the box if you want IE9 to run in GPU rendering mode. If the option is grayed out, your current video card or video driver does not support GPU hardware acceleration.

fast-internet-browsing-gpu-rendering

The example below shows how to review this in Mozilla Firefox 14:

1. Open Firefox and press Alt+T, go to Tools and click on “Internet Options” in the drop down box.

2. Go to the Advanced tab, click the General tab in the Options Window. Navigate to Browsing and verify that the “use hardware acceleration when available” check box is selected. If this option is selected, Firefox is running in Software Rendering mode. Uncheck the box if you do not want Firefox to run in Software Rendering mode.

fast-internet-browsing-hardware-acceleration

What other tricks do you have to speed up your Internet browsing?

Image credit: Abstract blurred action from car at high speed
by Big Stock Photo.