Problem with Computer or Modem

I have a 7 year old computer running XP and I can only get dial up where I live, (Landes 40), as the computer came from the UK I had to buy an external modem.

Recently when on the internet it takes ages for pages to load and sometimes they freeze for a while, I’m wondering whether I now need to get a new computer or could it be the modem that is causing the problem, computer is also noisy sometimes,it sort of gurgles.

Thanks for any help

Hi Ann

Some thoughts which may be stating the obvious so bear with me. I too live in an area without broadband so I have some experience of the issues that you face

a) I do not find the lack of broadband an issue, though obviously it is slower than using that service. If the need arises for software updates, for example, I go to Crescendo and use their WiFi facilities (up to 150 Mbps compared to a 44 Kbps that I have typing this stuff up) . Never of course for anything that remotely requires security, such as personal financial stuff. Having said that my wife who looks at "shopping" web sites finds the download speeds acceptable.

b) As you have been advised, you need to upgrade your PC. Obviously I do not know your budget but go for a PC with the largest amount of memory , with the fastest internal clock speed and the largest amount of disk space that you can afford. Do not sacrifice any one of these for the other as they are all equally important. Also bear in mind that in all probability future software products and services will EXPECT you to have the fastest, biggest PC available, so investing for the future might be a factor worth thinking about.

c) You might care to have your house connections checked. When I moved to where I now live,I discovered, by chance that the "telephone box" inside the house, thus not the responsibility of France telecom was very old and the internal phone lines were of poor (i.e. old) quality. Getting all that improved (i.e replaced) made a big difference for me.

d) Unless you are a knowledgeable PC user, I suggest you find a local PC support shop and get them to tune up your PC as almost certainly you will have a lot of "clutter" that will take up space and slow things down. My counsel is find an expat who offers this service on a professional basis, not that French ones are incompetent, but unless you are a fluent French speaker, explaining technical problems may be an added complication. Mine is about 40 minutes away in Eymet and has proved an invaluable source of guidance and help.

I hope this helps

Peter S

Thanks for your helpful replies, I have a program that checks for nasties on the pc and nothing comes up and I’m afraid I don’t have a friend nearby that I can check it on, there aren’t many people around here, which is one of the reason why we can’t get broadband. The only option I have is to go with Nordnet satellite broadband.

Think I will have to copy everything on to discs and get a new computer and have the dish installed

My first guess would be that most web-pages are not designed for low speed connections these days and so it is the dial-up that is causing the problem. Easy way to check is to take your PC to a friend's house that hasa a broadband connection and try it there. If the problem goes away, then then it is the dial-up . If it doesn't then it's the PC and you need to check whether you have a virus problem or unwanted software that has installed itself. An online anti-virus prog such as Housecall from or the online scanner from are worth trying but preferably whilst you are borrowing someone else's broadband as they will both try to update themeslves. If you can't do that you could also get a copy of Microsoft's Offline Defender and burn that to a CD or USB Key and boot the PC from that and let it check your PC. XP will no longer be supported after April so it might be time to change the PC.


Well Ann, seven years is a good time for any machine , so if you can afford it, then a new one with Windows 7 installed might be a good step. It's worth knowing that Windows XP is now not getting any support as from April, so another good reason to upgrade. If money is tight and you would rather not spend any money you could look at installing Ubuntu Linux as an alternative - depending on what you use the machine for. It will give you increased security as well. It's more efficient than windows and can run on older machines.

What browser do you use? It might help a little to use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox if you don't already use them , but with XP and a modem - it's never going to fly along.

Do you use good anti-virus , are they up to date and you machine is virus free?

Have you recently done a de-freg on your hard drive, as that can help, also removing applications you don't use and freeing up space.

Does the machine take a long time to start up when switched on?

More questions than answers at the moment I'm afraid, but the more information you can give the better the response can be.