Old Win98 machine downloads faster than new WinXP

Posted on 2004-10-24
Last Modified: 2010-03-17
I have three machines connected to a cable modem and firewall / router.  ISP is Comcast with nominal bandwidth of 3Mbps on the download.  A 5-year old PIII machine with a 100Mbps NIC consistenty shows about 3Mbps in download speed as measured by various bandwidth testing sites (PCPitStop, etc) plus downloading big files from sites like Microsoft.  Two much newer WinXP Pro machines with Giga NIC's can only get 2Mbps or less  -  at least a third slower (and even more so for big files from Microsoft).  All machines run IE 6.0 and Zone Alarm Pro (and no Win firewall on the XP machines).

Any ideas on why the Win98 box is faster and if there are tweaks or settings that might boost the XP machines?


Question by:yosemitee
    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    The problem is Zone Alarm, it doesn't play nice with Win XP and a long list of other things like VPN, P2P, etc.

    Author Comment


    I shut down Zone Alarm on the XP machines and repeated the speed tests.  I even downloaded some big files with WS_FTP and got the same results  -  my old Win98 machine seems to be much faster for all types of downloading than the new WinXP machines.  I even switched the ports and cables in the Netgear firewall / router, but the results were the same.  I can't see any settings in the Netgear that would favor the Win98 box.  Could it have something to do with the 1000 NIC's versus the older 100 NIC?

    Thanks for your help.

    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    I have a suspiscion about drivers for the gig nics.  Try this:  force the gig nics (via driver) to negotiate 100mbs and half duplex (also try full duplex).  I bet it will do better without speed negotiation.


    Author Comment


    Yeah, you were right.  I uninstalled ZA and my download speed shot from 1.5Mbps up to 2.9Mbps.  Just shutting down ZA did nothing.  As info, turning on the Windows firewall dropped the speed down about 10%.  I have now read in the ZA forums that the previous version 4.5 doesn't have this problem.



    Author Comment


    Thanks for your post - I just read it after I had done the ZA uninstall.  I'm going to try to adjust the giga NIC's too.  I've done some more speed tests and, even with ZA gone, the gig NIC machines are still a bit slower than the 100M NIC.

    Thanks for the suggestion.


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