US Net PowerSurf powered by Propel

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the PowerSurf Accelerator?
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US Net PowerSurf is a subscription-based service that increases the speed of downloading Web pages 2x to 5x. The service is designed for people who currently access the Internet at speeds less than 200 Kbps.

US Net PowerSurf costs justs $19.95 a month.

What types of Web content does this service accelerate?
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It accelerates Web page text (including plain text, HTML, markup and javascript) and the most common forms of graphics: Gif, animated Gif, and JPEG images and Flash. It does not accelerate other forms of Internet content, including: streaming media, such as video and audio streams; secure pages, such as those used for online banking and credit card forms; file downloads, including MP3 files and executable programs.

Are ad blockers, popup stoppers, personal firewalls and other utilities compatible with the PowerSurf Accelerator?
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The PowerSurf Accelerator is compatible with most ad blockers, popup stoppers, personal firewalls, and other utilities. In some cases, minor configuration either of the PowerSurf accelerator or other products is needed. In other cases, it is not compatible.

How Does it Work?
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US Net PowerSurf speeds up the delivery of Web pages using the latest in compression, caching and persistant connections technology.

I travel. Does the PowerSurf Accelerator work anywhere I use my PC?
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Yes. If you are accessing the Internet through a dial-up connection in the U.S. and Canada and your system conforms to the PowerSurf Accelerator system requirements you should be able to get an accelerated Internet experience, if you are dialing numbers from the same ISP.

How long will it take to download PowerSurf Accelerator?
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Depending on the speed of your modem and the processing speed of your computer, downloading will take between 5-10 minutes. For example, a modem operating at 48kbps (kilobits per second) will download PowerSurf Accelerator in about 5 minutes using a recent-vintage computer. Running the install on your computer takes a minute or less. The optional quick tour takes approximately 2-3 minutes.

How do you quantify the up to 5x faster than dial-up claim
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Web page performance is measured by the amount of time it takes to download an entire Web page into your browser. So, when comparing the performance improvement delivered by the PowerSurf Accelerator with an unaccelerated Internet connection, we configure two identical computers. Both are connected to the Internet at the same dial-up connection speed and both have the same PC and Internet browser configuration.
Using an automated browsing measurement tool (i.e. a surfing "bot"), both computers visit the same Web pages multiple times. In order to eliminate variations in download speed caused by various network factors, we take the average times for downloading the same page with and without the PowerSurf Accelerator and compare the two averages in order to determine the improvement factor for a specific Web page (example: 5X represents the high-end of the frequently measured averaged results.
If you are particularly interested in the topic of timing Web pages, here's a link to a site that provides a stopwatch for timing page loads and many other interesting Internet timing tools:

How does this solution compare to DSL or cable modem?
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The PowerSurf Accelerator is an affordable software-only solution designed to significantly enhance Web access over low-speed (less than 200 kbps/second) connections. By contrast, DSL and cable modems provide high-speed Internet connectivity using hardware solutions that work with special telephone or cable lines.
The price for DSL or cable modem is significantly higher than the PowerSurf Accelerator. In addition to the higher price, many areas simply do not have DSL or cable Internet service available.

What are the system requirements for the PowerSurf Accelerator?
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System Requirements
Below, please find the suggested and minimum system requirements beyond the basics of an analog modem, a telephone line, and an active Internet connection.
The PowerSurf Accelerator cannot be installed if minimum requirements are not met.

  • Internet Explorer 5.0 or later
  • AOL 6.0 or later
  • Netscape 4.7 or later
  • For Netscape 6.0 and above
  • MSN Explorer
  • Intel-based Pentium PC or the equivalent
Look for "X86-based PC" or the equivalent in the System Summary section.

Operating system:
Windows 98, NT 4.0, 2000, ME, XP Home Edition, XP Professional

Disk space:
At least 25 MB of disk space. (135 MB recommended for optimal performance)

System memory (RAM):
At least 32 MB (64 MB recommended for optimal performance)

Internet connection line speed in Kbps (kilobits/second)
Minimum: 14.4 Kbps
Maximum: 200 Kbps

What are the privacy implications of using the PowerSurf Accelerator, powered by Propel?
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This FAQ describes the technical privacy risk implications of using PowerSurf Accelerator, and the special steps that Propel Software Corporation takes to minimize those risks. (Please note: Propel's official Privacy Policy is the definitive representation made by Propel regarding our handling of personally-identifiable information about customers. The information presented in this document is for general informational purposes only.)

Personally-identifiable Information on Propel Servers
If you have a high level understanding of how PowerSurf Accelerator works you may be concerned that the PowerSurf Accelerator could be used to track your browsing activities in a way that could violate your privacy. US Net and Propel recognizes that your privacy is very important, and therefore we have implemented the PowerSurf Acceleration Service powered by Propel so that personally-identifiable information cannot be easily tracked or easily derived from data within our server infrastructure. When your PowerSurf Accelerator client software connects to our infrastructure, it identifies itself using a unique client ID. Our infrastructure has a database of client IDs that are authorized to receive acceleration, but that database does not contain any personally-identifiable information associated with the IDs, such as your name, address, or email address. Further, we have designed all of our server logging features in such a way that no single log contains a direct record of the Web sites visited by specific clients. Personally-identifiable information regarding browsing activities is subject to the Privacy Policy and can be derived from information logged by Propel only by applying special post-processing.

Personally-identifiable Information on Your Computer
The PowerSurf Accelerator client software that resides on your personal computer introduces the same sort of privacy risk as your browser software does. Your browser stores temporary files on your computer's hard drive. These files are sometimes collectively called your "browser cache". It is possible for someone with sufficient expertise to use the information in your browser cache to determine what Web sites you have visited. For this reason, your browser software includes commands that allow you to delete its temporary files. The PowerSurf Accelerator client software also stores temporary files on your computer's hard drive in the "Propel cache". Those files could also be used to determine what Web pages you have visited, so PowerSurf Accelerator includes a command (on the Propel Accelerator menu's Options dialog) so that you can delete those temporary files at any time.

Propel Client/Server Communication
The PowerSurf Accelerator client software does not transmit any historical record of your browsing activities to our servers other than non-user-identifiable summary timing and compression information, and diagnostic information. Such information is used solely for overall system performance monitoring and quality assurance.

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What's the best way to get technical support?
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The most effective way to obtain technical or customer support is to first review the on-line 5-minute Troubleshooting Guide, which contains numerous suggestions as well as instructions on sending vitally important PowerSurf Accelerator diagnostic information. Click Here to access this guide.
If the Troubleshooting Guide does not answer your questions, the most effective thing to do is to contact your ISP for further information.

How do I uninstall the PowerSurf Accelerator?
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IMPORTANT: If you are using Netscape, Mozilla, or Opera with the PowerSurf Accelerator, you will need to manually reconfigure the proxy settings for the respective browser after uninstalling or stopping the PowerSurf Accelerator in order to continue using the Internet. See below for further details.

Restoring a Browser's Proxy Address and Port Number
If you are using Netscape, Opera, or Mozilla, when you stop or uninstall the PowerSurf Accelerator you will need to reset proxy settings to their original values (or no values). Until you do this, you will likely not be able to access the Internet.
See steps below for instructions on restoring Netscape's original proxy settings after uninstalling the PowerSurf Accelerator.
These instructions generally apply to Opera and Mozilla.

Click on the Netscape Edit menu. S elect Preferences... Click on the mark next to the Advanced category or simply double-click on Advanced. Click on Proxies. If there was a proxy address in use prior to installing PowerSurf, [Netscape 4 .7 only: click View... first] enter that address and port number. Otherwise click "Direct Connection to the Internet".

PowerSurf Accelerator 5 Minute Troubleshooting Guide
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It should take you less than 5 minutes to "troubleshoot" the PowerSurf Accelerator. That is, to find out if you are getting acceleration and if not, why not. Verification occurs in the following order:
  • Is the PowerSurf Accelerator active?
  • Are you getting good acceleration?
  • Do diagnostic tests pass?
How do I tell if the PowerSurf Accelerator is installed, active, and enabled on my computer?
If the PowerSurf Accelerator, powered by Propel, is installed and active on your computer a small Propel icon will appear in the Windows taskbar area (near the system clock). If the PowerSurf Accelerator is active while you are surfing the Internet, the Propel icon will appear as opposing white arrows flashing over the Propel. Try accessing a Web site. You should see the arrows flashing as Web pages load. If you are able to surf the Internet but do not see the arrows, there are several possibilities:
  • You subscribed, but the PowerSurf Accelerator software is not enabled on your computer. A quick way to check this is to click on the blue Propel icon. In the pop-up menu see if the second-from-the-top menu item is "Subscription Info..." If so, your subscription is active on this machine. If the menu item is "Subscribe..." it means that your subscription is either not activated or is not active on the machine you are using.

    When you first subscribe, there is a special final step that allows you to enable the PowerSurf Accelerator on any computer you are using. These instructions apply to you if 1) you never completed the subscription process, or 2) you want to enable your subscription on a new machine.

  • You are past the free trial period and have not yet subscribed to the PowerSurf Accelerator. In such a case most Web sites will not be accelerated and no acceleration arrows will appear when you surf.

  • You are accessing a Web site or other content that the PowerSurf Accelerator does not speed up. If you are not sure what content can be accelerated, Click Here for details on what the PowerSurf Accelerator does and does not accelerate.

  • The PowerSurf Accelerator is currently disabled on your computer. If you see red lines around and over the blue Propel icon, it means that the PowerSurf Accelerator is disabled. For instructions on how to enable and disable the PowerSurf Accelerator Click Here.

  • The PowerSurf Accelerator or other software on your system may require special configuration. To review the list of currently incompatible software or software that may require special handling, Click Here.
Why can't I open the PowerSurf Accelerator installation file after I download it?
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It is possible that the file extension ".exe" was somehow lost from the PowerSurf Accelerator installation file. You can easily check and, if necessary, remedy this situation. Here's how:
  • First, find the installation file you downloaded. Unless you changed the name during the installation process, search for "Propelsetup". Use the Window's Start menu: Start -> Search -> For Files and Folders...
  • When you find the file, select it. The full name of the file should be visible.
  • If the ".exe" extension (without quotation marks) is missing, add it. Click on the filename and use your mouse to add the extension ".exe"
  • You should be able to double-click on the file right in the Search Results window to start the install.
If the problem persists, please Click Here for technical support information.

Why am I seeing partial or incomplete page loads with the PowerSurf Accelerator?
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We have recently become aware of a problem with incomplete page loads when simultaneously using the PowerSurf Accelerator and Zone Alarm Pro, a product from Zone Labs. This will result in pages only partially loading and then stopping ("timing out").
Propel is currently working with Zone Labs to resolve this problem. In the meantime, if you want to use Zone Alarm Pro and the PowerSurf Accelerator at the same time, the workaround is to go into the Zone Alarm Pro control panel and turn off the ad blocking and cookie control features. Note that this problem does not apply to the basic Zone Alarm version.

At first I received faster page loads, now they seem slower. Why is this?
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Click Here for Troubleshooting tips.

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How do I see the original graphic quality of specific image or Web page?
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If you are using Internet Explorer, simply move your mouse over an image on a Web page and click the right mouse button. You'll see that two new options are available:

Refresh Page with Full Quality.
Refresh Picture with Full Quality. When your mouse is over a graphic.

If you select one of these options, PowerSurf Accelerator will replace the compressed graphic image with an original quality version. When the Propel icon arrows stop moving, the new image is in place.
Note: When you first install PowerSurf Accelerator, it is necessary to close and then restart IE in order to have the Refresh Page and Refresh Picture right-click menu options available. These options are not available in Outlook.

These menu options are not available in Netscape, Opera or Mozilla. Please follow these steps.
1. Click on the small blue Propeller icon located near your system clock. Go to Options and adjust the Graphics Acceleration Level to 1 (original quality) and click OK.

2. Hold down the Ctrl key and select R OR Select Reload from the View menu. The compressed graphic image will be replaced with an original quality version.

3. Repeat step one and adjust the Graphics Acceleration Level back to its setting.