If you're like me, you spend a lot of time downloading files from the Internet. Throughout the course of a day I could download new software to review, security patches and updates, PDF files, MP3 files, Bittorrents or even the latest videos of my favorite TV shows. (Anyone else watch the new Battlestar Galactica?)
I like to multi-task and, as a result, I usually try to download files from various sites simultaneously. Many of these downloads take place using Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, Internet Explorer has a limitation built into it, which allows for only two simultaneous downloads. If you attempt a third, it will just sit there waiting for either of the first two to finish before beginning. Often the files I am downloading are very large and they can sometimes take a considerable amount of time to finish this can really slow my productivity.
Originally, I had thought that the download sites implemented this two-download limitation in an attempt to limit the amount of bandwidth being used. As I researched it, I discovered that this limitation was, in fact, built into Internet Explorer and is part of the browser's normal operation. This was done in order for IE to comply with a mandate issued by the Internet Standards Committee.
However, as connection speeds continue to increase, the two-connection limit may be a bit too restrictive for you. Fortunately, there is an easy way to circumvent this limitation, but Microsoft does not recommended it and doing so constitutes a violation of Internet standards, so you should use this workaround at your own discretion.
All you need to do is make a small change to your system registry. Before making any changes to your system, though, make a backup of your system registry first, because if the registry becomes damaged or corrupted, it could disable your system. I found a detailed description with step-by-step instructions for backing up the registry in multiple Windows operating systems here:
Take a minute to follow these directions before you go any further. Once your registry has been backed up we can begin.
As with most modifications, you should make sure that no other applications are running especially Internet Explorer. Now by following the simple procedure outlined below, you'll be able to increase your number of simultaneous downloads from two to 10.
- Click on the Start button and select Run.
- On the Run line type Regedt32.exe and hit Enter. This will launch the Registry Editor
- Locate the following key in the registry:
- Click on the Internet Settings Key. Now go to the Edit menu, point to NEW click DWORD Value
- Type MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server for the name of this DWORD Value.
- Double-click on the MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server key you just created and enter the following information:
- Value data: 10.
- Base: Decimal.
- When finished press OK.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5. This time name the key MaxConnectionsPerServer and assign it the same values as indicated in Steps 6.
- Close the Registry Editor.
That's all there is to it! If you modified your registry settings correctly, you should now have the capability to download up to 10 files simultaneously.
Universal Plug and Play
We've all heard the term, but how many of us actually know what Universal Plug and Play (UpnP) is, what its benefits are or how to enable it on our systems? My guess is not many. So I thought that a brief explanation of what it is and how to enable it might be helpful. Basically, UPnP is a standard that uses Internet and Web protocols to enable devices such as PCs, peripherals, intelligent appliances and wireless devices to be plugged into a network and automatically know about each other.
With UPnP, when a you plug a device into the network, the device will configure itself, acquire a TCP/IP address, and use a discovery protocol based on the Internet's Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to announce its presence to other devices on the network. For instance, if you had a camera and a printer connected to the network and needed to print out a photograph, you could press a button on the camera and have the camera send a "discover" request asking if there were any printers on the network. The printer would identify itself and send its location in the form of a universal resource locator (URL) to the camera.
The camera and printer would use Extensible Markup Language (XML) to establish a common language, or "protocol negotiation," to talk to each other and determine capabilities. Once a common language was established, the camera would control the printer and print the photograph you selected. Microsoft is one of 29 companies sponsoring UPnP and hopes that it will make plugging a device or appliance into a home or small business data network as easy as it is to plug a lamp into an electrical outlet. Microsoft describes UPnP as "seamless proximity networking" that provides "standardization on the wire rather than in the devices," and is based on existing Internet standards.
Windows XP has built-in support for UPnP and can be easily enabled on your own system. In some cases you might need to have access to the original Windows XP CD to complete the installation. Now follow these steps:
- Click on Start and select the Control Panel.
- Double-click on Add/Remove Programs.
- On the left side of the window select Add/Remove Windows Components scroll down to Networking Services and check UPnP User Interface. Click OK.
Windows will now install the UPnP User Interface software. With that done we now need to activate the service. To do so just do the following:
- Right-click on My Computer and click Manage.
- Double-click on Services and Applications.
- Click on Services.
- In the right pane, scroll down till you locate the service named Universal Plug and Play Device Host. The UPnP Device Host service provides support to host Universal Plug and Play devices.
- Now right-click this service and select Properties.
- Make sure that the Startup type is set to Automatic.
- Click Start and then click on OK once the service has finished starting.
- Now we need to locate the service named SSDP Discovery Service. This service lets the system perform a discovery of UPnP devices on your home network.
- Now right-click this service and select Properties.
- Repeat Steps 5, 6 and 7 for the SSDP Discovery Service.
That's all there is to it. I hope you find these tips helpful.
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