Tag Archives: “slow transfer”

How to update Network Adapter and Wireless Adapter Drivers within Windows

You may be finding that your network or internet connection is slow or unreliable, you may also find that your computer responds far more slowly whilst you are using network resources because your network adapter drivers are not fully optimised. Wireless network adapter users may find that they cannot connect to some wireless points and/or that wireless range is not what they expect.

Any of these issues could be related to using outdated network adapter drivers so update them.

The primary types of network adapter that you will find in use today are PCI, PCI-Express or USB.  Even wireless and cabled network adapters that are integrated into a laptop or computer will still use one of these fundamental bus types.  Despite who you bought your laptop or computer from (i.e. Dell, HP, Acer, Sony) you will most likely find that a thrd party supplied the network adapter module or chip.  This is actually a good thing because it means that you are not restricted to the often outdated drivers that your system manufacturer will issues when your machine is first produced but then subsequently forget about and never update.

The process to update the drivers usually involves downloading and extracting the zipped/compressed driver file and then using Device Manager to verify and update the drivers are compatible and will install.  You will usually find that the extracted drivers folder includes an “inf” file and various “dll” files.

Once you have the drivers downloaded and extracted on your machine its time to launch Device Manager and find the network adapter that you wish to update the drivers for. On my example machine we want to update the Realtek PCIe Gigabit Adapter so we will double click on it and verify the current driver version.

Here we can see the driver version is “7.23.623.2010 and the date the drivers were released is “23/06/2010”.

Now we want to click “Update Driver” and select the location of the new drivers that we downloaded earlier. To do this we need to click “Browse my computer for driver software” and then selecte the location of the extracted driver files.

Once we have carried out the update the new version will show along with the updated driver release date.

You will usually find that the network adapter in your computer or laptop is manufactured by one of the companies listed below, next to each manufacturer is also a link to the official driver download/support page.

Intel           http://downloadcenter.intel.com
Realtek      http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads/
Broadcom http://www.broadcom.com/support/ethernet_nic/downloaddrivers.php
Nvidia        http://www.nvidia.co.uk/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-uk
Marvell      http://www.marvell.com/support/downloads/search.do
Ralink        http://www.ralinktech.com/en/04_support/support.php?sn=500
D-Link       http://www.d-link.co.uk/support
Netgear      http://support.netgear.com/app/
Linksys       http://homesupport.cisco.com/en-eu/support/linksys
Belkin         http://www.belkin.com/uk/support/

Improve Windows Performance by Enabling SATA AHCI Mode

Probably the biggest bottleneck in most computers these days is the hard disk drive and its interface (SATA).  Depending on the current configuration of your system it may be possible to further improve performance by turning on SATA AHCI mode in your system BIOS and ensuring that your Operating System has support for AHCI enabled.

Here is a brief guide to verify if AHCI is already enabled and if not to ensure that AHCI can be enabled and will work correctly.

Restart your computer and wait for the BIOS Screen to appear, you will need to enter your BIOS Setup Screen.  The Key to enter the BIOS Screen can vary between systems,  “Delete”, “F1”, “F2” or “F10” are some of the most common shortcuts.

Once in the BIOS Screen locate the SATA Controller options and check if the SATA mode is “AHCI”, “Compatible” or “IDE”. The “Compatible” and “IDE” options are usually selected when you are using a Legacy Operating System that does not have native AHCI and/or SATA support.  The trade off with these modes is that the operating system is unlikely to be able to take full advantage of all the features of your SATA Hard Disk to improve system performance.

If you find that your system is set to “Compatible” or “IDE” mode then don’t change anything just yet.  First we need to make sure that your Windows Operating System has AHCI support installed and active so lets exit the BIOS without making any changes and boot back into Windows.

Once you are back in Windows click on the “Start Menu” and then in the “Run” or “Search” box you need to type “regedit.exe”

You will need to locate the following two registry keys


Under both of the listed registry keys above you will find multiple values, amongst these you will find a “REG_DWORD” value called “Start” and these both need to be changed from “0” to “1” to tell Windows that we want these additional AHCI controller drivers to be loaded at startup.

You may ask yourself why these are not enabled by default, Windows actually disables any unused drivers to speed up the Windows Startup process.  In this instance we just need to turn these two back on to accomplish our ultimate goal.

Now that we have AHCI support enabled within Windows lets reboot the computer once for these Registry changes to take full effect and to give Windows a chance to initialise the AHCI drivers.

The final set of this process is to restart the computer one last time and enter the BIOS screen again by using the process above.  Once in the BIOS locate the SATA Controller options and change the SATA mode to “AHCI”.  Remember to select “Save Changes and Exit” so that everything takes effect.

You should now find that the system boots back into Windows, the first boot may be a little slower than usual while the operating system re-detects your Hard Disk Drive.  Subsequent startups should be significantly faster.

If you have any issues booting back into Windows after making the switch to “AHCI” then simply go back to the BIOS and revert your SATA mode to its previous state and you will find Windows boots as before.