By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 1997, The Syracuse Newspapers
One of the hottest secrets among Windows 95 power users is the so-called MTU fix—a way to get faster and more reliable connections on the Internet just by changing a few settings on your PC.
MTU stands for Maximum Transmission Unit. It's just one of many acronyms for the settings built into the Windows 95 tcp stack. (That's the "transmission control protocol" software in Windows. It's always lower case, and it's usually seen as part of the acronym "tcp/ip." That part means "Internet protocol.")
You can find free how-to pages on the Web that show you how to change the tcp settings for faster operation. The best single site is one operated by a man who identifies himself only as "George G." at http://users.aol.com/axcel216/index.html. Besides the tcp advice and help, you'll find enough general tips and tricks for a month of experimenting in a downloadable file at the site. The file is W95-11D.ZIP.
The advice from "George G." is most helpful if you already know how to change Registry settings. If you're like most users and wouldn't know a Registry from a Registrar, go to a site in Holland (http://members.tripod.com/~EasyMTU/program.html) where you can get a free program that will make all the settings for you. (This is an updated address.)
The program is EasyMTU. You'll have to read the documentation carefully, because the author has a hard time explaining what is actually a simple process—largely because he is not writing in his native language.
The beauty of EasyMTU is the way it changes just the settings that are associated with your dialup software. In other words, EasyMTU leaves the main settings alone and alters only the tcp parameters for the connection icon you use in your Dialup Networking folder. This also means you can be really clever and create more than one connection icon for the same Internet provider—naming each one differently, of course—and then tweak each one differently.
Speaking of tweaks, Brian Rossignol wrote to me to tell me of a program he developed to fix a bug in Internet Explorer 3 (both version 3 and the newer one, version 4). It's called TweakIE.
TweakIE fixes a problem that Microsoft has so far refused to confirm—even though I agree with Rossignol that it does, indeed exist—in which the cache fails to clean up its pointer files. TweakIE has other features, including a quick-click method of changing the MTU settings.
Does it work? It sure does. Get TweakIE if you want to get the best performance out of Internet Explorer. TweakIE is $5 and can be downloaded from http://www.wizsys.com/tweakie.htm.