if your having a slow computer as in it takes longer to download files then it should because you got all the stuff set in realtime and told by tweaking to speed up the modem or connections. and you were doing good with it until recently.
if you are using zone alarm with antivirus or the firewall only. then you might want to take it out and get another one that is free. i took out zone alarm and now the downloads are faster again and the download manager starts up like it is to do.
before zone alarm was causing the ie downloader to start.
i got the free private firewall and it is just as good as za according to a scan test at grc's shields up site.
and it does not control the downloads or slow up the process'es like zone alarm does.
so in case your having the speed issues i just thought i'd tell you what i did, as it might help you.