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Downloads slowing down

by jennywren1420 / January 8, 2011 4:22 AM PST


I have a Macbook 13" running OS 10.5. In the past couple of months, I've noticed that my downloads (links, email, Websites and more) are getting slower and slower. I don't know whether it's my browser (Firefox 3), my ISP (Mindspring/Earthlink), my cable service provider (Time Warner) or what, but when I say, "slow," I mean anything from slow to glacial in pace. Today, especially. I wanted to play a video from a Web site, and there was a pause every second. When I went to a site at, it was even worse, with "loading" crossing the picture constantly and "transferring content" along the bottom of the window until I finally decided to give up, for now.

Can someone tell me where the problem lies? I have had some issues with Earthlink (mostly about other things, though); I believe that Firefox 3 hasn't worked as well for me as 2 (though I have no really firm evidence to that effect); and I don't know enough to judge whether the cable service (not always the greatest on the TV) could be at fault. I only know that by contrast, dialup was a sail through the park. And most are sites that behaved very well in the past.

The question is where to start investigating. It makes no sense to make big changes unless I know where the problem lies.

I confess that I haven't yet gone to Disk Utility (or whatever Disk First Aid is called now), and I can't use my old (4.1) Disk Warrior and haven't yet bought a newer version. I don't know, therefore, whether something to do with the computer itself is at fault. I could try all this on my old desktop (OS 4, G4 Sawtooth), but I'm not sure that makes sense. On the other hand, if I found that Earthlink, Firefox and such worked OK with that computer, that would rule out some things. If you think it's wise, I can try that. It only just now occurred to me to do it.

Anyway, I may be able to do all that before anyone replies. If so, i'll get back to you then. Sorry to possibly be putting the cart before the horse, but I'm going a little crazy, including an unrelated series of oddities relating to Earthlink (including messages that take a long time to come or appear and then disappear and then appear again, sometime later). I'm a patient woman, but this slow, slow, slow loading is the last straw.

Thank you, folks.


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From your description,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / January 8, 2011 7:09 AM PST
In reply to: Downloads slowing down

I'm going for the cable company, which is your ISP.

Earthlink is just a service that you use, like AOL, but they do not supply your internet connectivity.

Trying the old G4 is a good idea, but be sure to compare Apples with Apples. Same network cord, same sites, etc.

Can we assume that other than the slow downloads, the Macbook is functioning correctly in all other aspects?


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I'll do that
by jennywren1420 / January 10, 2011 11:34 PM PST
In reply to: From your description,

Yes, the computer seems to work, just fine. In addition to the slowdown, however, I find that some messages in my WebMail (Earthlink/Mindspring) don't turn up right away and that occasionally, a message appears in my Inbox that then disappears (and usually reappears). I believe that was happening even before I got broadband, but I can't swear to that. That occurred on both of my computers. Maybe there are multiple villains here.

By the way, i did go to Disk Utility and run Repair Permissions and the Verify Disk function. Permissions seemed to show a number of things amiss and claimed to have repaired the little culprits, but unlike what used to happen in OS 9, there were no lines after each flaw saying that the individual problems had been fixed, and when I ran it again, there still were many lines saying that this or that didn't match what it was meant to match. (Verify Disk, by contrast, said that my disk was OK.) I don't know the meaning of this. Is it likely that the permissions were not repaired?

I'll get back to you when I determine whether the slowness problem is as acute on the Sawtooth computer. There was improvement at one of the sites that had not been working when I wrote to you (the video downloaded fully and it was not as jerky), but many sites still take a very long time to load, and my email messages still sometimes are very slow to load.

One more strange thing: Though I asked that this discussion be tracked, I didn't get any indication that you had replied to my query until I went to CNET Forums directly. Suspecting gremlins is a bit far-fetched, but I could be tempted. . . .

Thanks for the reply. Back to you as soon as I can do what you suggested. It's all very odd.


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Downloads slowing down
by SthrnDixieCwgrl / January 11, 2011 2:07 PM PST
In reply to: I'll do that

I have the latest Firefox 3.6 version on Mac OS X 10.6.5 and I had that issue. Then I tried the following:

I cannot remember if it is Firefox>Preferences or Tools Preferences. Click on the Privacy icon. The first option listed allows you to set the number of days for which you want Firefox to remember the web pages pages you've visited. Type in the number of days for which you want your history saved. You may also elect to have Firefox remember what you enter in forms and the search bar, as well as remember what you've downloaded. Then click on the red button in the top left of the Preferences windows to save your settings. Then re-open Preferences and click on Privacy. Hit the 'Clear Now' button located in the Private Data section. A new box will open with multiple options for clearing your history. Check any or all of the boxes that will delete your Web history. You can choose to delete cookies, cache and browsing history. Press the 'Clear Private Data Now' button to delete all of your Web history.

Then while still in the Preferences window go to the Advanced tab and then click where it says Network. In the "Offline Storage" section, click "Clear now." To delete cookies, select the "Privacy" tab (purple mask icon). Select "Use custom settings for history" and click the "Show Cookies" button. Click "Remove all Cookies" at the bottom of the dialog box.

I have also tried the following changes to Firefox to get it to work faster

After those changes I noticed it to run faster.

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