My wife has recently bought a 13,3” Dell Inspiron 5370 laptop with Windows 10. We had some issues with it that turned out to be caused by the preinstalled SmartByte software.
From time to time (sometimes after several hours of working, sometimes right after booting) all applications started reporting that the laptop was disconnected from the Internet. Web pages didn’t load in Chrome, Spotify didn’t play the music. Windows itself reported that it is still connected to the wifi network and didn’t report any issues with it.
I started diagnostics with ping and tracert, both of which indicated that everything was fine. I searched for answers and tried multiple solutions, mostly from this superuser thread. Nothing helped. Sometimes the connection suddenly started working again and I had to wait until the next time it dropped to continue investigation which slowed down the progress.
Finally, I decided to browse manually through active Windows services and see if I can find any strange third party service that may be related to networking. A service with SmartByte in name caught my attention and I found this article. It basically says that SmartByte technology is preinstalled exclusively on Dell Inspiron laptops and it is supposed to optimize network connection by giving different prorities to different kinds of traffic. It seemed like a potential culprit.
I went into Windows settings and uninstalled what I thought was related to that SmartByte service and the issue was fixed.
The laptop was quite noisy because the fan seemed to be constantly running at full speed. I thought it may just be normal as I own a Dell Vostro laptop myself and had multiple issues with it getting hot and being noisy. It was annoying though so I decided to see if I can do anything to stop it.
I was convinced that the issue was that the fan was working too intensively and not that the laptop was overloaded, probably because it was loud even without any application running. I downloaded SpeedFan to see if there is any option to tune the fan speed. There was none, but SpeedFan shown that the CPU temperature was over 50°C and it displayed a little flame next to it, which convinced me that the fan speed may be justified.
Seeing that I opened the task manager (which I should have started with) and saw that the CPU usage is constantly above 30%. What was responsible for it? SmartByte telemetry! I killed it and almost immediately I heard… silence!
I was quite surprised by it as I thought I had already uninstalled everything related to SmartByte. This time I went to the “old-school” Control Panel, Programs and Features and again uninstalled everything with SmartByte in name. Either the Programs and Features can uninstall more than Settings or I missed something when looking there before. I restarted the laptop to confirm that the silence was persistent.
Uninstalling SmartByte applications from the Dell Inspiron laptop fixed the intermittent Internet connection issues and made the laptop much more silent by decreasing the CPU load. Google finds a few results for “smartbyte slow network” and judging by them it seems that my case was not a unique one.