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Can anyone recommend a fast, lightweight Web browser to use with an old Acer Netbook with one GB of RAM and Windows 7 Starter?

 

I'm currently using Firefox, and it's getting slower and slower. Chrome and IE are even worse.

 

P.S. I used Opera once upon a time (pre-Firefox days) on one of my computers, and it was very light and speedy. Not sure how it compares these days.

 

 

 

 

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Have you tried clearing all Firefox's history, cookies and other browser data to see if that might help? 

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41 minutes ago, Phil said:

Have you tried clearing all Firefox's history, cookies and other browser data to see if that might help? 

 

Yes, that helps somewhat. I also use a 5 GB flash drive to boost RAM, which also makes a difference. One of my main problems now is that Firefox is extremely slow to start, and sometimes I have to make several attempts.

 

 

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I'm not sure that this is necessarily your browser as your PC as a whole. Are other applications slow e.g. microsoft applications?

Maybe try defragmenting the hard disk?

Edited by Matt Ashmore

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I might be inclined to launch Task Manager and look at the performance graphs for memory and processor and the list of processes whilst it's launching.

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Thanks for all the helpful tips. I've installed the latest version of Opera since I've had good luck with this browser in the past. So far so good. Opera starts fairly quickly and is definitely more nimble than Firefox. It also has a handy ad-blocking option that could speed things up. I realize that the writing is on the wall for my ageing Netbook. However,  I like this little computer, especially  for travel, and I'd like to get a few more miles out of it. In January 2020, when support for Windows 7 ends, I'll be experimenting with Linux OS alternatives (as discussed in an earlier forum thread). 

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If Opera or Vivaldi don't cut it, try SeaMonkey, and if you have to go to the extreme of lightweight browsers, there's Lynx. You'll probably wind up with SeaMonkey when you switch to linux anyway.

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Sorry if a bit off topic...

 

I use and recommend ccleaner, removes most if not all of the browser data/history/cookies that MAY be slowing you down.

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You could look for some more ram for the the computer.  That's probably its biggest limitation, but I wouldn't hope for too much.  You might just want to let it die with dignity and recycle it.  Circle of life.

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3 hours ago, Johnnie5 said:

You could look for some more ram for the the computer.  That's probably its biggest limitation, but I wouldn't hope for too much.  You might just want to let it die with dignity and recycle it.  Circle of life.

 

For sure. That's inevitable. Nonetheless, part of me enjoys keeping things going as long as possible in this disposable world that we've created. It's a form of revenge, I suppose. You should see how old my cellphone is. 🤓

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1GB probably is a bit stingy for Win7. I spin out the life of old machines with some cheap used RAM off ebay- mine improved when I went from 4 to 6 but frankly FF will gobble up all it can. Chrome I find a lot lighter.. I can't say, but yours may take up to 4GB if you're lucky. If it has two slots, you may be able to try a 2GB card in one of them. It might only be a few bucks.

Edited by spacecadet

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17 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

1GB probably is a bit stingy for Win7. I spin out the life of old machines with some cheap used RAM off ebay- mine improved when I went from 4 to 6 but frankly FF will gobble up all it can. Chrome I find a lot lighter.. I can't say, but yours may take up to 4GB if you're lucky. If it has two slots, you may be able to try a 2GB card in one of them. It might only be a few bucks.

 

The Netbook runs with Windows 7 Starter, a stripped-down version of Windows 7 that I gather was designed for this type of computer, so I guess it gobbles less RAM than the full version. Windows 7 Starter also allows you to boost RAM ("Ready Boost") with a USB flash drive. I use a 5 GB one with my Netbook. It helps quite a bit.

 

Interestingly, my current desktop PC won't allow me to boost RAM. The slots are there, but the machine won't recognize new RAM. I took it to a repair shop after my DIY attempts failed. However, they couldn't figure out the problem either. Never encountered this difficulty before with my PC's. Updating RAM is usually a breeze.

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58 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

keeping things going as long as possible in this disposable world that we've created

Hear, hear. Quite apart from the inconvenience the cessation of support for Windows 7 early next year will be responsible for a huge increase in landfill. Printers seem to be very popular items to throw away as well, the skip at our local centre is full of them. Either they've simply blocked up or because you can't download a driver for them. I struggled to install an old HP laser printer on my Imac El Capitan, it said it wasn't possible. In fact using an old driver worked fine in the end.

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5 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

Hear, hear. Quite apart from the inconvenience the cessation of support for Windows 7 early next year will be responsible for a huge increase in landfill.

I was using XP on a desktop until 2014 and on a laptop until a few weeks ago when it expired. For that matter I used 98 on a dual-boot until 2008.

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40 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

Interestingly, my current desktop PC won't allow me to boost RAM. The slots are there, but the machine won't recognize new RAM. I took it to a repair shop after my DIY attempts failed. However, they couldn't figure out the problem either. Never encountered this difficulty before with my PC's. Updating RAM is usually a breeze.

 

John, have you tried upgrading the bios? There might be some conflict that's been solved that way.

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1 hour ago, spacecadet said:

1GB probably is a bit stingy for Win7. I spin out the life of old machines with some cheap used RAM off ebay- mine improved when I went from 4 to 6 but frankly FF will gobble up all it can. Chrome I find a lot lighter.. I can't say, but yours may take up to 4GB if you're lucky. If it has two slots, you may be able to try a 2GB card in one of them. It might only be a few bucks.

 

If not already installed might consider the new FF version - Firefox Quantum.  Supposed to be a completely rebuilt.  Claims 2x faster than old FF and less memory hungry than Chrome.

 

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/?gclsrc=aw.ds

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Brian Yarvin said:

 

John, have you tried upgrading the bios? There might be some conflict that's been solved that way.

 

No, I haven't. I assume my repair guy tried updating the BIOS when I took the computer in, but who knows.

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9 minutes ago, Phil said:

 

If not already installed might consider the new FF version - Firefox Quantum.  Supposed to be a completely rebuilt.  Claims 2x faster than old FF and less memory hungry than Chrome.

 

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/?gclsrc=aw.ds

 

 

 

Thanks. I'll try this.

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6 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Thanks. I'll try this.

If you've kept FF updated, you probably already have it. I checked and I have. ("About FF" on the help dropdown on the menu bar. It's v69.0.1 now.)

Edited by spacecadet

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1 hour ago, spacecadet said:

If you've kept FF updated, you probably already have it. I checked and I have. ("About FF" on the help dropdown on the menu bar. It's v69.0.1 now.)

 

Yes, just checked, and Quantum is already running on all my ancient machines.

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7 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

The Netbook runs with Windows 7 Starter, a stripped-down version of Windows 7 that I gather was designed for this type of computer, so I guess it gobbles less RAM than the full version. Windows 7 Starter also allows you to boost RAM ("Ready Boost") with a USB flash drive. I use a 5 GB one with my Netbook. It helps quite a bit.

 

Interestingly, my current desktop PC won't allow me to boost RAM. The slots are there, but the machine won't recognize new RAM. I took it to a repair shop after my DIY attempts failed. However, they couldn't figure out the problem either. Never encountered this difficulty before with my PC's. Updating RAM is usually a breeze.

I ran into a Toshiba laptop a few years ago that would only take a specific brand and part number when it came to upgrading RAM if you can find out from the manufacturers website what they recommend you may be able to upgrade your desktop.  One reason to build your own computer or have one built is so you avoid proprietary hardware and you can keep upgrading components to improve performance or just keep up.

 

I just rebuilt a computer for my nephew that is pretty mild mannered performance wise but with some easy upgrades could be a real fast computer.  His use mostly involves browsing on the internet so he doesn't need a screamer.  The goal was to keep as much of the old computer as possible, parts that were removed will be recycled.

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12 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

No, I haven't. I assume my repair guy tried updating the BIOS when I took the computer in, but who knows.

 

Then take a look at the bios configuration menu and see if it's been done. You should be able to access it the same way you  access the boot configuration menu.

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10 hours ago, Brian Yarvin said:

 

Then take a look at the bios configuration menu and see if it's been done. You should be able to access it the same way you  access the boot configuration menu.

 

Thanks for the suggestion. Bios configuration is not exactly my area of expertise, but I'll have a look-see. My computer repair guys have been in business since the 1970's, so I'd be surprised if they didn't do everything necessary. Upgrading RAM is a fairly routine job. I'm going to be switching to a more powerful Windows 10 machine in Jan. 2020 when the support for Windows 7 ends. My current desktop PC is almost ten years old now. I've had it for over five years and have gotten plenty of problem-free use out of it, so can't complain.

Edited by John Mitchell

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