got a new computer which needs an external wireless adapter - but internet is slow on it. how do i fix this?

Running an ethernet cable to the router is the best option by far BUT it is a messy solution with wires running about the place. As I have said if you have tried that adapter in another computer and it works okay then there must be a software or hardware problem with the computer you are trying to use. Opening up a computer is not hard but remember that a desktop computer does have mains voltage inside although this is, normally, contained within it's own steel case inside the desktop case. There are sensitive components inside the case main computer so if you get shocks from your carpet or your car door (yes we all get them but I haven't blown a component yet due to static) make sure you ground yourself before delving in. Better still use a grounding strap, available off Ebay or Amazon for cheap.

About your last question assuming your motherboard is newish then it should be able to handle anything up to a gigabyte per second or more. I don't think that is an issue unless that motherboard is faulty. A faulty motherboard could be the problem bearing in mind that you say your adapter works okay in a different computer.
Try moving the dongle to another USB port and seeing if that results in faster speeds. If you have the adapter plugged into a USB hub, remove it and plug it directly into a USB port instead. Aside from this, you should also see if you have the right drivers installed for your dongle.
Quite obviously the OP has either fixed the issue or can't be bothered. It would be nice if posters came back and said they had fixed it and how, that is what this forum is all about. But hey ho.
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