QUESTION I run Windows 2000 and Ubuntu on a dual-boot PC. In Ubuntu, using Mozilla Firefox 3.0, my download speed is around 6 megabits per second (Mbps); in Windows 2000, it's just 0.9Mbps. The upload speed isn't affected, and I get about 0.7Mbps from both operating systems. I've checked these figures repeatedly over several days. I use the TalkTalk Essentials package and a wired connection. Can you offer a fix? A Fletcher

HELPROOM ANSWER Ensure you've got the latest drivers for your network card installed and that your PC's Bios is up to date. Windows 2000 was released in 1999. Many of its components were designed to work with the older NT 4.0 Server operating system.

These components are often left 'switched on' and can consume valuable network resources, slowing down your web connection as they 'chatter' to nothing on the network. Stop your computer using old and now unused network services and protocols such as NetBios, NetBEUI, Appletalk and IPX/SPX by uninstalling them.

Right-click 'My Network Places' on the desktop, then double-click 'Local Area Connection'. Clear the options offered for 'Client for Microsoft Networks', 'File and Print Sharing for Microsoft Networks' and 'Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)'.

Click Ok and reboot the computer when prompted. Go back into the LAN connection Properties box and uninstall the disabled protocols. See our before and after screenshots above.
 This should increase your network and general Windows speed. If it doesn't, you should also check your network card is set to auto-negotiate its speed with your router.

Open up your network card properties again and click on Configure, Advanced. Look for a setting labelled 'Speed and duplex' or 'Full duplex' (it varies between cards), then set the speed to 'Auto negotiate' or 'Auto' if the option is available. If it's currently set to this, try setting it to '100 duplex' or '100 half', depending on the results you receive. If none of these work, remember to reset your network card to its original settings.

If you're still experiencing speed issues, it may be difficult to pin down the culprit – particularly since mainstream support for Windows 2000 ended in 2005 and all support ended in 2010. If your computer has a low hardware spec, you might consider upgrading it to run Windows XP, which is far more network-friendly.

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