BT – “Your current operating system is not supported” message

make BT your homepage
make BT your homepage

Just had a customer call me with this odd message. She is using a fresh clean install of Windows 7 with all the updates. It happened when she visited and clicked the “make my homepage” button.

Given that Windows 7 is by far the most popular operating system on desktop and laptop computers, it was somewhat surprising that BT don’t support the majority of their customers who use proper computers. When I searched the web, it appears to be a problem with Internet Explorer 11. You can click the compatibility button in IE11 to get round the issue, or you can make it your homepage (the usual way) by clicking the gear icon at the top right, and clicking Internet Options at the bottom of the menu.

But why, oh why do BT have to use a misleading, and incorrect term, when they should say “unsupported browser.”

your current operating system is not supported
your current operating system is not supported

Moral of the story, don’t use BT…. use gmail, livemail, or something independent of your broadband provider. There is no law that says you have to use BT mail just because they provide your broadband.

Which Broadband Provider?

When people ask me to recommend a broadband provider (usually after a terrible experience with BT, TalkTalk or my most hated XLN Telecom, I refer them to the one I use now, Zen Internet. Many people won’t have heard of them, but they are PC Pro magazine and Which’s award winners of 2014.

They have a UK call centre, they give a fixed IP as standard, useful if you need remote access to say, a CCTV system. They also don’t block ports or do “traffic shaping” – which is where certain traffic is “deprioritised” in favour of another type of traffic. For example, they could give video downloads a slower speed than say, Skype, which can be annoying if you are trying to watch BBC iPlayer. I found ANY type of online video was impossible with XLN Telecom. They told me it wasn’t needed for a “business service”, ignoring the fact that businesses use video, or that small businesses like mine are home-based.

Zen Internet also offer one month contracts, so you can easily get out if you want to.

I get no commission from Zen, I’m just happy to recommend them. Their website is

Fibre Optic Broadband / BT Infinity myths debunked

With BT Openreach digging up roads all over Pembrokeshire (and the UK), let’s examine some of the “sales speak” of the misleading adverts.

Fibre Optic broadband is faster than copper

False, at least in all practical purposes.
Firstly, the fibre optic cables only go as far as the street cabinets, and from the street cabinets to homes is using copper cables.
Secondly, copper is capable of speeds of at least 10 gigabit, i.e 10,000 Meg. BT Infinity is currently running at 80 Meg.
Thirdly, the maximum speed of both copper and fibre optic cables is far quicker than computer hard drives (even solid state) can operate, so any extra speed is irrelevant.

So what IS special about fibre optic?

The key advantage of fibre optic over copper is the preservation of data. Signal to noise ratio of copper degrades over distance, so for traditional broadband, the maximum practical range is around 5.5km from the exchange. With fibre optic, the range is, in practical terms, unlimited.

So, it’s better for people who live a long way from the exchange, who struggle with slow speeds.

Should I get fibre optic broadband?

If you watch a lot of TV online, eg BBC iPlayer, on a single computer/internet enabled TV, and you get good regular broadband speeds, then you don’t need fibre optic. BBC iPlayer HD is streamed at 2800kbps (or 2.73Mbps) so any speed comfortably in excess of this should suffice.

You can check your speed at the BT Wholesale page