Slow Web Browsing in All Browsers Compared to Windows 7 - Windows 8 Flaw or Bug?

A couple of weeks ago I installed Windows 8 (fresh install from scratch, not an update) on my computer.  I do a lot of web browsing and over the last couple of weeks I've been using Windows 8, I could swear the web browsing wasn't as fast at it used to be on Windows 7.

I then noticed I was having major issues bringing up my router's control panel (ASUS RT-N56U) so thinking it was my router I upgraded the firmware.  Turned out, the Avast Anti-Virus I was running has issues with Windows 8.  I removed AVAST and turned on Windows Defender (which in Windows 8 is also an anti-virus program now referred to MSE - Miscrosoft Security Essentials).  MSE has gotten fairly good reviews so I decided to use it, for maximum compatibility with Windows 8.

However, although the router control panel would now come up okay, browsing still seemed to not be quite as fast as it used to be.  I sat down at the old 5-year old Dell Desktop next to me that is running Windows 7, both computers were connected to the router via Gigabit Ethernet.  I tested network speeds with Speedtest.net to make sure they were both getting the same Internet speeds (which they were.)  I found a couple 'heavy' web pages to test:

www.epicurious.com (home page)
sports.yahoo.com (home page)

The browsing was MUCH faster on the Windows 7 machine!!  So I decided to do more of a controlled test.

The Samsung Notebook is a Series 6 Core i5 with 6GB RAM and 64GB SSD running Win 8 Pro 64-bit.  Windows Experience score of 5.9.  Windows Defender (MSE) Anti-Virus. Windows Firewall Turned OFF!

The Dell Desktop is Intel Q8200 with 6GB RAM and a 5400RPM HD running Win 7 32-bit (not sure why 64-bit didn't install, sort of strange but oh well).  It had a Windows Experience score of 3.6. Avast Anti-Virus. Windows Firewall turned OFF. Windows Defender turned OFF.

I went into Windows Task Manager on both computers and ended most if not all tasks that were not critical to the system and no other programs except the browsers were running.

I removed all plug-ins and add-ons from Chrome except the Page Load Time extension plug-in which can be downloaded here:

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/page-load-time/fploionmjgeclbkemipmkogoaohcdbig

I also tested on FireFox using this add-on:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/apptelemetry/?src=search

On the Windows 8 Machine I also tested with Internet Explorer 10 - unfortunately I couldn't find a page load speed monitor for it that would work so I could only do an informal visual+verbal count, stopping when I saw the page stop X in the URL bar change to the reload symbol indicating the page had completed loading.

On both test pages I refreshed the pages at least 10 times and averaged the scores.  I looked at the page load speed monitor result but I also did a visual+verbal count out loud until I saw the page stopped loading objects. 

The results were astounding (and very frustrating/disappointing because otherwise I really like Windows 8 as the OS in general seems better/faster than Windows 7 for multitasking)

Here's the results:

Windows 8 + Fast Machine + Chrome 23.0.1271.95 m on epicurious.com: ~ 3.5 sec load counter / ~ 5.5 sec visual/verbal count

Windows 7 + Slow Machine + Chrome 23.0.1271.95 m on epicurious.com: ~ 2 sec avg / ~ 3.5 sec avg visual/verbal count

Windows 8 Fast machine + Chrome on sports.yahoo.com: 5 sec avg / 5 sec avg

Windows 7 Slow machine + Chrome on sports.yahoo.com: 2.5 sec / 3 sec

Windows 8 Fast machine + FireFox on epicurious com: 4.5 sec / 4.5 sec

Windows 7 Slow machine + Firefox on epicurious.com: 2.5 sec / 3 sec

Windows 8 Fast machine + FireFox on sports.yahoo com: 5.25 sec / 5 sec

Windows 7 Slow machine + Firefox on sports.yahoo.com: 2.5 sec / 3 sec

Windows 8 Fast machine + Internet Explorer 10 on epicurious.com: ~ 5 sec visual/verbal count

Windows 8 Fast machine + Internet Explorer 10 on sports.yahoo.com: ~ 6 sec visual/verbal count

(I didn't bother testing IE 10 on the Win 7 machine)

It is clear, that something in Windows 8 is causing the browsers to load web pages 30-50% slower.  If you have a very fast Internet connection (like me - 35 mbit/s download and 6 mbit/s upload) in regular use, the difference may not be that noticeable to the "casual user" as the difference between as a 3 sec and a 5 sec page load speed are both fairly fast for these two sites.  

But it you have many sites open at once and are multi-tasking and clicking lots of links hours at a time, it IS noticeable. Downright depressing when you compare it to a Windows 7 machine especially considering the specs on the Win 8 machine are much better hardware wise!  If anything the Windows 8 machines should be faster.

Now I know a some people are going to be skeptical about my findings or give suggestions as to something that may be wrong with my particular PC.  Obviously every PC is different, having different configurations, apps loaded, processes running, etc.  But in my 25+ years in the Tech Industry my gut is telling me there's something not right with Windows 8 and it is just a matter of time until enough people complain to Microsoft about it to get their attention to find the cause of the issue and fix it.  

HERE'S A COUPLE IMPORTANT POINTS WHY MY GUT IS TELLING ME IT IS A WINDOWS 8 ISSUE:

* I tried the tests on Windows 8 with Windows Defender (MSE) turned OFF, Firewall turned OFF. No anti-virus programs running.  IT MADE NO DIFFERENCE.

** I made sure the drivers for both my Ethernet and Wi-Fi Networking were the latest drivers.  They are the on-board Intel 82579M Gigabit Ethernet and Centrino 6230 Wireless.

*** Running the tests on Wifi instead of Ethernet ALSO MADE NO DIFFERENCE.

The facts seem to point to something in the Windows 8 Operating System is slowing things down.  I wish I knew what it was as I feel so frustrated that this new powerful Samsung Core i5 notebook running Windows 8 has slower web browsing than than 5-year old Windows 7 Dell Desktop sitting across from me.

I have seen many other posts about Chrome running slowly on Windows 8.  It isn't just Chrome!

*** I would encourage others to run these tests as I would at least like to be 99% confident that I don't have some hardware or driver issue. ***


I've done more troubleshooting.  Have not determined the cause but have more interesting information.

** If I boot into Safe Mode, the problem is not there.  sports.yahoo.com loads in about 2 second - did about 20 refreshes.

** Whatever is causing it, it is one of the last things to load into memory.  If I login right away, load the browser and go to sports.yahoo.com (or any site for that matter) the load speed is fast like my Wini 7 machine, ~ 2 seconds for that Yahoo site.  But after 30-60 seconds it all the sudden goes from 2 sec load times to 4 sec.  Refreshing dozens and dozens of times.  If after boot, I wait a few minutes to login, it is slow right away.

In Safe Mode, I logged every process and service that was running.  So then I booted normally and manually ended any process or service that was not running in Safe Mode.  This did NOT fix the problem, the load time was still slow.  There were 4 services that weren't running in Safe Mode that I couldn't stop:

wudfsvc Windows - User mode Driver Framework Service
Task Scheduler Servioce
SamSS
AppInfo

I also tried disabling a few devices in device manager like the Acronis (backup) device and the wifi device.  Made no difference.  

I also of course in Task Manager > Startup disabled ALL startup programs. No change.

So the question remains, what is Safe Mode NOT loading that normal mode IS loading that is causing the noticeable slow down in web browsing?

I need to find a utility that will log everything that is loaded in the order it was loaded and ideally how many seconds into the boot it is loaded.  Then I might be able to figure it out.

Oh and yes, once again, I did disable Windows Defender but it makes no difference.  Even Safe Mode loads Windows Defender.

Help!

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10 hours of wasted time later starting and stopping, enabling and disabling services, drivers, etc. 

It was the Power Management!  Power Plan was set to Power Saver mode!  Why it takes about 3 minutes after boot for it to effect the browsing is beyond me.  Sure threw me a curve ball and I've been around the block a few times on PC issues over the past 15-20 years!

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Having same issue.  And as a non-techie, all the threads are just even more frustrating.  It's like a foreign language.  Judging from all the hits on this on the web, this appears to be a general issue that I'm hoping Windows will resolve with their next update.  Note: My "Power Saver" wasn't on.  I'm still having the issue.  So I'm not sure it's automatically as simple as resetting the "Power Plan".  I am so frustrated at this point, that I'm likely going to spend the money dumping 8 and switching back! Totally regret the switch and I'm telling everyone not to do it. Horrible experience. Anyway... If anyone has any ideas on how I can improve my browsing speed (and is able tell me in very plain language), I welcome the suggestions! Thanks everyone and good luck to us all.

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I am having the same problem. I bought a Samsung laptop and the download speed over wifi was extremely slow (dial-up speed). So I returned it thinking it was the wifi card in the laptop and purchased a Toshiba laptop instead. Same problem, extremely slow download speed over wifi.

All the other computers in the house are downloading at normal speed for my cable modem (25 Mbps). I can even get that speed on my Windows 8 laptop if I plug into the router with an Ethernet cable, but the wifi download speed is still slow. The weird thing is that the upload speed is normal, it is just the download speed. This is obviously a bug with Windows 8 because I am experiencing it on two different laptops and I have searched online and found tons of people with the same issue. Microsoft needs to fix this.

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I read your tests with interest, I have exactly the same Samsung laptop with Core i5 and I had thought it was probably the machine, but reading the reviews - it looks like it doesn't make any difference as to the laptop and the fault probably lies with Windows 8.   The Windows Experience on my machine is 3.5, pretty poor.  I've turned off live tiles, disabled files in task manager, changed the performance, etc, etc and still the problem remains.  Wish I had read these reviews before changing to Windows 8 - am considering downgrading to Windows 7 as I have a lot more confidence in the old operating system.  At this point in time, I am reluctant to recommend Windows 8 to my friends. 

 

Come on Windows Team - sort this problem out - there are more disgruntled people using Windows 8 than you realise.             

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Hey, not very technical here...but I am working on a Pentium D PC which went from XP, to Windows 7, to Windows 8. I pay extra for broadband bandwidth. Browsing did absolutely stink on all major 3 browsers when I went from 7 to 8.

 

Following these posts here, I went to Control Panel, System, Power Options....then I checked the High Performance power scheme option. VOILA!!!! FAST BROWSING at last.

 

Hope this is an easy fix for someone else.

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Last updated March 24, 2018 Views 4,852 Applies to: