Notes: Click images to enlarge them. Feel free to comment or ask questions on my talk page. See User talk:Timeshifter. I put my user pages in the public domain. Copy/edit/transfer any or all parts anywhere.
Welcome to the Village, and the Weirding Way. The videos are better at the source pages sometimes (higher video resolution, larger video sizes, full-screen options, better audio, less video stuttering). Click the Youtube and other links. Playing with the presets in your audio settings while listening to a tune can be fun, too.
Baked, not fried. I am a volunteer sysop-admin at the Cannabis Wiki. Just another guy with a PC. Have PC, will travel. See:
PayPal is a simple and safe way to donate. Organizations would be wise to make it possible to donate by PayPal, because many people are uneasy about revealing their debit and credit card numbers, etc.. And they don't want to have to register and fill out forms first. Just enter the dollar amount and click the pay button. Anything else drives busy people with money away. Also, PayPal only reveals one's name and email address when donating. Donors don't feel like they are being data-mined. It would also be wise to tell donors that their name, email address, and other personal info will not be revealed, or passed on, to others without their permission.
AmazonSmile. Amazon gives a percentage of your purchase cost to the organizations you choose. Such as MPP, NORML, Physicians For A National Health Program, and so on. All you have to do is use smile.amazon.com when ordering. It costs you nothing, and prices are the same to you. You choose who to donate to.
Donate to, or completely fund, ballot initiatives.
Support get out the vote efforts. For example;
In Texas anyone 65 or over can vote by mail. No excuse or reason needed.
Halledamnlujah! December 16, 2017. By: Juanita Jean Herownself. From the article (emphasis added):
"For the first time ever, Texas Democrats are sending ballot by mail applications to every known Democrat over the age of 65. ... The applications are pre-populated and marked for a Democratic primary ballot so Republicans won’t use them in case they get their grubby hands on them. They are also coded, so we will know who sent their’s back and who hasn’t yet. I am leaving the donate button up in case somebody gets extra special nice with a cherry on top and wants to donate to help Hazel Lundy’s phone banking team start calling in late January to remind people to fill out the application and mail it back."
From: "Juanita Jean's, The World's Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc. ... in Richmond, Texas, in the heart of Tom DeLay's old district. It's nuttier than squirrel poop here."
Note: This section is usually up to date. Info on addons farther down is older, and often out of date, and no longer applicable.
The more addons, the more problems there can be at times with browser stuttering, slowdowns, and freezing. Also, less tabs can be opened without problems. So remove non-essential addons if you are having too many problems. Sometimes you can disable some of the addons without removing them. The ones that don't require a browser restart in order to disable them. Turn them on and off as needed.
Adblock Plus (ABP). - It is better for the long-term survival of the web. Because it allows some less-intrusive ads, and so websites can make some money. It needs to allow enough ads for websites to survive long-term.
Bookmark search plus 2. Use for finding folders within their folder trees. Enable and disable as needed via the bookmark sidebar menu. Search for word(s) and then click on one of the results in the top left pane of the sidebar. Below in the bottom pane of the sidebar will be the folder tree. Expand to full screen in a new tab by right-clicking the magnifying glass icon to the left of the sidebar menu.
All Tabs Helper. Click toolbar icon to show popup list of all tabs from all Firefox windows. In the addon options one can change the width and height of that popup window.
OneTab. You can put a window of tabs into one full screen list of clickable links. As a tab in your browser. Full width shows full names of web pages. Easily scannable. Each window in a separate section of the list. You can add as many windows as you want to the list. You can add all your windows at once. It speeds up your PC since the web pages are no longer running in the background. You can prune the list easily by x-ing out items on the list. Run cursor over list to see the x. You can restore stuff to tabs if you want.
Enable and disable as needed:
ClearURLs. Removes all the stuff added to URLs at Google, Amazon, etc.. This can cause problems. Only turn on when needed. On Amazon it can prevent some pages from loading.
See Youtube downloading section farther down for more info on addons for downloading videos.
Use and then uninstall:
Sort Bookmarks. Click the addon icon to get the menu to choose whether to sort or auto-sort. It sorts very fast. I have 21 megabytes of bookmarks (.json file). It sorts them all in 10 seconds (like the old SortPlaces addon). I uninstall this when it is no longer needed. I tend to sort folders individually from then on; via right clicking a folder name, and then clicking "sort by name" from the popup menu. This sorts the contents of that folder only.
Tab Session Manager. Instantly save a list of all windows and tabs. Great for gaming, and/or coming back to a project later. Can reopen some or all of them at once. See also: OneTab.
Remove any other addons that you don't enable anymore. They gum up your browser with bloat, and take up RAM. Additional free RAM solves many problems. Such as allowing more browser tabs and windows to be open without sluggishness.
Put about:config in the address bar, and load that Firefox settings page. Enter the preference names below. They may not work if there is a space at the beginning or end. When done you may need to refresh the cache (ctrl-F5) in Firefox browser, and/or close all Firefox windows, and then open one.
Set browser.tabs.closeWindowWithLastTab to "false". Allows last tab to be closed without closing the browser window.
Set browser.bookmarks.max_backups to 0 to speed up browser closing. See info farther down.
Turn off domain guessing and URL auto-completion in the location bar:
Also, go to: Tools menu > Add-ons. Click "plugins" in the sidebar. Set all to "ask to activate". If "ask to activate" does not exist for some items, set them to "always activate".
Turn Youtube playlist autoplay off or on
If you have done the above settings, then nothing, or very little, will autoplay. If you want to make an exception for Youtube, go to a Youtube page. Right click the page to get to "page info". Once there go to the permissions tab. Uncheck "Use default" under Autoplay. Then check "Allow audio and video". More info:
Right-click on OneDrive icon in Taskbar notification area and select Settings option. It'll open OneDrive Settings window. Now go to "Settings" tab and uncheck "Start OneDrive automatically when I sign in to Windows" option. Click on OK button and restart your computer. Now OneDrive will never automatically start in your Windows 10 computer.
This info may be old. See the above section. It fixes the problem for some people.
This is not currently a problem for me. My PC wakes up fine, and I am using all my Firefox addons.
But here are some ideas below in case it is a problem for you.
The problem occurs when there are Firefox windows and tabs upon waking up the PC. It is impossible to load new pages, or to reload the old pages such as Facebook pages in order to see new stuff or see notification numbers at the top of Facebook tabs. Try loading your home page for example in a new tab. The page will remain blank, and the cycling icon in the tab top will keep cycling forever. Sometimes just looking at Firefox options or addons will cause the tab to load. Or clicking on another tab while the problem tab is cycling.
The problem only (sporadically) occurs when windows and tabs are still open from when the PC was put to sleep. The problem does not seem to happen consistently. The computer sometimes (or even often) wakes up without problems.
Quickly disabling and reenabling "AdBlock Plus" or "IBM Security Rapport" in Firefox addons (tools menu / addons / extensions) is sometimes necessary. One second is enough. It is not necessary to uninstall the addon. Disabling and reenabling various addons work.
This will allow web pages to immediately load or reload right away that were stuck trying to load. New tabs can be opened without problems. The problem seems to be caused by the AdBlock Plus addon being enabled at the same time as "IBM Security Rapport". But AdBlock Plus is a very important addon. It saves a lot of time. So disabling and re-enabling an addon is not a big deal. And IBM fixes the problem if informed of it. It comes and goes.
See another method here:
IBM Knowledge Center - Stopping Rapport. "If the problem disappears when you stop Rapport, Rapport is likely to be at least a partial cause of the problem. IBM recommends not to uninstall Rapport. If you are thinking of uninstalling Rapport, contact IBM Trusteer Support for assistance, see Getting Support."
Send a report to IBM Trusteer Support right away while the log files are most relevant. To do so enable Rapport in Firefox addons, and note the icon used for Rapport there. Click on the Rapport icon in the address bar. It does not matter whether it is gray or green. Then click on settings in the popup. Then click on "Report a problem".
If all else fails, you can close all the Firefox windows, and then start fresh with one new Firefox window. That seems to always work for me. But if you are in private browsing mode, you lose your open tabs, because it does not remember browsing history.
You can remove "IBM Security Rapport" from Firefox addons (tools menu / addons / extensions). It is listed as "Trusteer Endpoint Protection" in programs and features control panel. I don't know if it is removed from there just by removing it from Firefox addons.
From Firefox private browsing tab:
"Firefox clears your search and browsing history when you quit the app or close all Private Browsing tabs and windows. While this doesn’t make you anonymous to websites or your internet service provider, it makes it easier to keep what you do online private from anyone else who uses this computer."
In Firefox options set Tracking Protection to "Only in private windows". Also, in Firefox options send websites a “Do Not Track” signal "Only when using Tracking Protection".
Turn off tracking protection for individual sites. This is the fastest way to browse the web, and be able to pick and choose embedded social-media videos and images to view. You can, on an as needed basis, disable tracking protection for the site in question, just for this session. On other pages the web is much faster to load without the many additional trackers, beacons, conversion pixels, etc..
Uncheck "Always use private browsing mode". Restart browser. Launch browser, and go to page and register. This will cause Firefox to save the password. This is not possible in private browsing. Can then turn private browsing back on, and restart Firefox to enable private browsing. See previous section for updating existing passwords.
Tools > options > privacy and security > forms and passwords:
Ask to save logins and passwords for websites.
Use a master password.
"Saved logins" are not visible without entering the master password.
This way you can still login in to your favorite sites even on shared computers. Just be sure to close all the Firefox browser windows when you leave the PC. The next person will not be able to see your passwords and login names if they don't know the master password for that profile on the Firefox browser.
Clearing history does not erase the saved passwords and logins in the master password file ("saved logins"):
History > Clear recent history > Check all the boxes > Time range to clear > Everything.
Options > History > Use custom settings for history > Clear history when Firefox closes > Settings.
You can check them all if you don't mind signing in again after closing all browser windows. The password manager remembers user names and passwords even when all the boxes are checked for clearing history.
If you put your computer to sleep it does not sign you out of sites no matter what the settings are below. The computer wakes up with things exactly the same as before.
Check: cookies. Concerning passwords it is OK to check the cookies box. The Firefox password manager does not store passwords in cookies.
Active logins. Your choice. It is OK to check this. Can let the Firefox password manager provide user name and password. In order to log in quickly. And it may not be good to have this unchecked when you accidentally forget to sign out of banking sites, etc..
Site preferences. Your choice.
Check: Cache. May help prevent persistent trackers and zombie cookies.
Check: Offline website data. May help prevent trackers and zombie cookies.
Form and search history. Your choice.
On a shared computer do not uncheck anything. Except for maybe site preferences.
Cookie exceptions. If you can figure out a way for Firefox to keep the logins active without having to sign in again after all Firefox windows are closed. None of the following are banking or money related, and so no money is risked by continuously staying logged in. It is not a good idea to stay logged in to email accounts, because hackers could conceivably use them to get passwords for money related sites. "Forgot my password" links on many sites will send temporary password to email accounts.
disqus.com - Comments can be made and edited for years.
wikipedia.org - edit at any time.
wikimedia.org - edit at any time.
facebook.com - see why farther down.
On a shared computer do not allow any cookie exceptions.
For example; to clear out corrupted cookies, certificates, etc.. "Clear all history" from the Firefox history menu is a one-time method that deep cleans and more completely removes cookies, etc..
Removing all cookies found via Firefox options (tools menu > options > privacy and security > cookies and site data > manage data > remove all) may not get rid of all the cookies deleted by "Clear all history" from the history menu. Such as LSOs (see Flash cookies in next section below).
So "Clear all history" now and then. Put a checkmark in all the boxes.
This may be out of date. Flash should no longer be used.
See Wikipedia: Local shared object (LSO). Flash cookies are LSOs. LSOs cross browsers. They are sometimes used to respawn regular cookies that have been deleted. That is why they are sometimes called "zombie cookies".
Go to the Flash control panel. Enable: "Block all sites from storing information on this computer". This will prevent local shared objects from being set in the Flash Player by any site. That control panel says though: "The settings on this page are not applicable to Google Chrome or Chromium based browsers (PPAPI)." In the Flash control panel you can delete all Flash cookies and settings. See the advanced tab.
See this thread: LSO and whitelisted cookies. Firefox can only clear all Flash cookies when you clear all regular cookies via "clear history when Firefox closes" in Firefox options. But that also deletes cookies in your exceptions list.
Some choices are: 1): Prevent all Flash cookies via the Flash control panel. 2): Control which Flash cookies are set, and for how long, via Firefox cookie options.
Opt out of “shared endorsement” in ads and turn off ad personalization (you'll still be shown ads, but they won't be targeted).
Head to Facebook's Settings / Adverts to control whether ads are targeted based on your clicks in and out of Facebook; for Twitter, Settings / Security and Privacy, then uncheck the box for “Tailor ads...”; for LinkedIn, Privacy & Settings / Account / Manage Advertising Preferences.
It seems that the locations for some of these settings changes. Try here for Twitter:
Adblock Plus, by itself, does not block Twitter embeds on web pages. Even when all its options to block additional tracking are enabled. Only when Firefox options are also set to enable tracking protection are Twitter images and videos blocked from showing up on the page.
If you want to see those Twitter images and videos, you will need to disable tracking protection in Firefox options. At least temporarily. More info:
Other videos can be more problematic. On that same Huffington Post page there is a video at the top. To play it you have to do what is described in the previous section. Don't forget to uncheck "Only allow ads without third-party tracking" in AdBlock Plus.
In addition uncheck the option to send a “Do Not Track” signal in Firefox options.
Or use private browsing mode, and "disable tracking protection for this session" for that web page.
You may need to click the video to start it buffering. Then you may or may not need to right-click the video and click "play" in the context menu.
Microsoft Defender (MD) is all that's needed in Windows 8 and 10. It was called Windows Defender. You may need to turn off sleep in the power control panel. Otherwise the scan may stop or pause. Or use "Don't Sleep" (described elsewhere). MD does not normally seem to be a drain on the PC while running in the background (providing real time protection of the C drive). Can pick other drives or partitions for custom scans. Can exclude folders and files from being scanned. After the scan ends a choice is given for each item to be removed, quarantined, or ignored.
Sometimes it gets stuck during cleanup, and is unable to remove the malware it finds. One problem is that Microsoft Defender may find malware placed in a hidden recycle folder by Malwarebytes. Microsoft Defender gets stuck trying to recycle something already recycled. To fix the problem delete those hidden recycle folders. Those folders are empty when they are automatically rebuilt. Method 2 in this article works fine (including in Windows 10):
It would be nice to have a setting to permanently delete files in the recycle bins (all levels) after a period of time. Say, one week?
Microsoft Defender may still get stuck due to other problems. If so, use another antivirus program. When the other antivirus is installed, Microsoft Defender will be disabled automatically for many of the most popular antivirus programs. This is necessary since 2 competing antivirus programs can cause many problems, such as sluggishness to the point of locking up the computer.
You can also disable Microsoft Defender via its control panel (start menu, settings, update and security, Windows security, virus and threat protection, then "virus and threat protection settings", turn off "Real-time protection"). But this is only temporary, and may not be disabled enough. Also, it will turn itself back on in awhile. To truly disable Microsoft Defender, see:
Microsoft Security Essentials. MSE does not run on Windows versions beyond 7. Free anti-malware tool for computer viruses, spyware, rootkits and trojan horses. Highly rated. Real-time protection or on-demand scans. Real-time protection in MSE can be turned off if desired. That way MSE can be used for on-demand scans of whatever one chooses. The following concerns MSE in Vista. Windows Defender should be disabled in Services. Normally, it is disabled automatically when MSE is first installed. But check in Services (in administrative tools). MSE is not found in Services. Microsoft Antimalware Service is found there, but it can not be disabled even when one uses "run as administrator" to access Services. Also, turn off Windows Defender in the startup tab of system configuration (via msconfig), and not just in Services.
Have not found an easy way to turn off automatic definition updates. Even unchecking the relevant items (Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Client) in the startup tab of system configuration (via msconfig) does not stop daily MSE definition updates. Check "view update history" in Windows Update to see the continued MSE definition updates. Malwarebytes (see below) may serve your needs better. Can uninstall MSE, and only use Malwarebytes on demand. That way there are no daily MSE updates. If MSE is uninstalled, be sure to also disable Windows Defender in Services. It is not a good idea to have 2 anti-malware programs enabled. Be sure to hide any definition updates in Windows Update by right-clicking them. That way you will not get further notices in your system tray, and will be less likely to accidentally reinstall MSE, or enable Defender.
Sometimes Microsoft Defender gets stuck during cleanup, and is unable to remove all the malware it finds. Or you want an additional check. In that case try Malwarebytes.
Use the highly-rated free version. It can be set to not start up with Windows. It comes with the option to try the premium version a couple weeks. It then reverts to the free version. Either version can be used on demand.
Click the upper "Scanner" button for custom scans. The lower "Scan" button is for quick threat scans.
The capability for background scanning (real-time protection) is the main thing turned off after the free trial of the premium version has expired.
Even when it says the trial is expired it can still be used for more on-demand scans. At least in my experience months later after I had reinstalled it. I had uninstalled it months before. I installed the latest version months later, and it said "trial expired", but still scanned on demand. There is no need to uninstall it.
The program itself can be updated even after the trial is over. After the free trial is over turn off "Automatically download and install updates" in settings. This will save unnecessary background activity. Instead, update as needed via Settings > General tab > Check for update. You can install it on top of the old version.
"Threat scan" takes around 5 minutes.
Custom scan of the C drive with all options checked can take around an hour for a small C drive. Up to several hours depending on how big it it. Custom scan is highly recommended. For the C drive check the box to scan for rootkits, too. You can continue browsing the web with scanning happening in the background. You can pause and resume the scan.
For a custom scan click on "scanner" (the top button, not the lower one), and then "advanced scanners". Then click on "configure scan". Choose the drives or partitions you want to scan. You can also use the custom scan options to choose specific folders or files to scan. You can choose to only be warned about some items such as P.U.P. (potentially unwanted programs). "Warn user about detections". It will offer you options about what to do about them.
This may or may not be necessary: Make sure the computer can not go to sleep for a few hours, or the scan may be paused. Go to the power control panel and turn off sleep temporarily for a few hours. Sometimes it seems it is unnecessary, sometimes it seems necessary. So to be safe, it is better to turn sleep off for awhile. Leave power control panel open as a reminder when the scan is done to reset the time before sleep.
After the scan is finished there will be a list of any malware found. You can then choose which ones to remove, ignore, or quarantine. If you don't remove or quarantine an item, you will be asked whether to ignore it temporarily or permanently when you go to the next step.
If you want your PC to not go to sleep while you are watching video, listening to audio, etc., then use this. Put the caffeine.exe file anywhere. Create a shortcut to it, and drag it to your desktop, quick launch toolbar, etc.. When you launch it the icon will go to the system tray, and keep your PC awake. Double click it to turn it on and off. It starts off active, and keeps your PC awake. Right click it for options.
"If you have problems with your PC locking or going to sleep, caffeine will keep it awake. It works by simulating a keypress once every 59 seconds, so your machine thinks you're still working at the keyboard, so won't lock the screen or activate the screensaver."
"Don't Sleep" has many options, one of which is to prevent sleep even when the PC is locked. This is useful when you want to be sure that some tasks will finish while you are away from the PC, and don't want anyone or anything to mess with things.
Download the installation file to your desktop, and unzip it to a desktop folder. Create a desktop shortcut to the .exe file. That shortcut can also be dragged and copied to the quick launch taskbar.
If you uncheck "Screensaver / Turn off monitor" in Don't Sleep, then you can also save energy by allowing the monitor to turn off. The setting is remembered in Don't Sleep upon later use.
Make sure "Minimize to tray" is not check-marked in the "Don't Sleep" tab if you close the program via the "x" at the top right. Otherwise, you may not notice for awhile that your PC is on all the time even though the monitor has turned off. When you or someone else moves the mouse or keyboard, then the monitor wakes up. The desktop is visible and unlocked.
When you click the lock shortcut the monitor will show a screensaver, login screen, or something similar depending on your settings and version of Windows. So you can walk away from the PC without others seeing what is going on in the background. The monitor will turn off after awhile depending on how many minutes has been set for that.
PC would not wake up until I got back to a previous video driver via a restore point
When I clicked the PC power button to wake up from sleep the lights and fans came on. But my monitor would not get a signal. I had to do a hard stop on the PC by holding down the power button until the PC completely shut down. Then I clicked the power button again and did a full startup cycle that takes a lot longer than waking up from sleep.
Select the Start button > Settings > System > About.
A true clean install to Windows 10 Pro version 1909 fixed a sleep/wake problem that was not solved by a clean reset to version 1909. I also updated the video drivers, etc. by using Driver Booster Free. It only recommends WHQL-certified drivers, and the drivers have to also pass its tests too. Sleep/wake worked fine before and after those driver updates.
But Driver Easy Lite recommended some non-WHQL-certified video drivers. Even though their website says otherwise. Sleep/wake no longer worked right after uploading the latest video driver.
A rollback of the video driver via device manager did not help. Only going back via a restore point fixed the sleep/wake problem. That restore point had been created just before installation of the latest video driver available.
This is another reason to do occasional C drive backups with Macrium Reflect Free. It is another way you can go back to a working version of your PC with all your apps and preferred settings.
Be careful when going to a major new version such as version 2004. A reset from version 2004 back to version 1909 must be done within a few days of getting the new version 2004. Otherwise, it is not possible to go back with a reset.
In Settings, go to Update and Security > Recovery > Reset this PC.
Sometimes a major update will delete previous restore points. That is another reason to have Macrium backups.
Windows: Control panel for power options. In the left sidebar: "Choose what the power buttons do". And then "Power button settings". If you want you can set them to "sleep" in both PCs and laptops. Or use the start menu to put PC to sleep:
Put sleep in the start menu power button.
Windows 10: Control panel for power options. Then to "choose what the power buttons do". Then "change settings that are currently unavailable". Then for sleep check the box "show in power menu". Save changes.
Windows 7: Right-click the start menu and click properties. In the "Power button action" menu choose sleep. This puts sleep at the top of the start menu power button.
The above methods are especially useful in notebooks since a sleep shortcut on the desktop will not go to sleep in many cases when hibernation is enabled. It hibernates rather than sleeps. In that case label the shortcut "Hibernation" for fast access to hibernation when you will be unplugged for awhile, and want to conserve every little bit of battery power. Hibernation uses zero battery power.
You can set unplugged laptops to automatically go to hibernation only at low battery reserve power levels. Via the power options control panel advanced settings (under "battery").
Hibernation can put wear and tear on some solid-state drives due to the size of the hibernation file, and the repetitive reads and writes. SSD drives are a lot cheaper though nowadays, and are much less effected by hibernation cycles.
Hibernation is much slower to wake up compared to waking up from sleep.
On the other hand hibernation lowers the number of battery power cycles, and extends battery life. Since hibernation uses no power at all.
Quality batteries can be found cheaply on Ebay from highly rated sellers that sell a lot of batteries.
In true sleep mode PCs only use a few watts (typically 2 to 4 watts). This is sleep mode where the fans are off, and the power button is blinking. RAM is kept active, and so all your browser windows and tabs show up on waking up.
PCs wake up in only a few seconds from sleep mode. Make it easy to go to sleep mode. Make the power button on your PC go to sleep mode instead of shutting the PC off completely. Click the power button on your PC. In 5 to 10 seconds (typically) the PC is asleep.
This is true unless it is hibernation which can take much longer to go to sleep and wake up. Hibernation is mainly for notebooks. Hibernation saves the contents of RAM to the hard drive. So no power is used in hibernation mode.
Waking up from sleep takes only a few seconds. Waking up from hibernation can take 20 to 45 seconds.
Sometimes, depending on your settings, just moving the mouse, or clicking a key on the keyboard will wake up the PC. You choose. Or you can set things up so that only clicking the physical power button will wake up the PC.
Set idle time before sleep automatically occurs:
Windows: Control panel for power options. "Change when the computer sleeps." Set the time before the computer automatically goes to sleep when idle.
Hybrid sleep keeps your RAM active, and also writes the contents of RAM to the hard drive or SSD. The only advantage of hybrid sleep is if there is a power outage. For most people though that is a rare event. Regular sleep is the fastest to sleep, and to wake up.
Time to go to hybrid sleep can vary depending on the computer and version of Windows. Depending on the computer sleep can occur in 5-8 seconds instead of 20-25 seconds to hibernate.
If it takes 20 to 30 seconds to go to hybrid sleep you may want to just use regular sleep. For example; if you sometimes change your mind about going to sleep, and want to wake up again quickly.
If you are worried about wearing out your SSD, then don't use hybrid sleep, and use regular sleep instead.
Some good ideas in the article, but do NOT use Driver Easy without precautions. See relevant sections here. In some cases it loads newer drivers than the drivers found by Driver Booster. Driver Booster only installs WHQL-certified drivers. And it has its own driver evaluations that goes beyond WHQL, and gives users the choice of only installing drivers that have also passed Driver Booster standards for problem free drivers.
Theses settings can go either way. Depending on whether you want the PC to sleep on its own, and/or wake up via moving the mouse or keyboard.
Sometimes waking the PC is so difficult that a hard stop (holding down the power button for 10 seconds) is necessary first. Then press the power button again quickly. It starts up from scratch from a cold start.
Change the power button setting to "sleep" in the Power Options control panel. This may fix that problem. A quick press of the power button will either wake up the PC, or put it to sleep.
You may also want the keyboard or mouse to be able to wake up the PC also. See posts 3 and 5 in this thread:
If you are using a desktop PC these power-saving functions serve no purpose except to be flaky at times, and cause all kinds of weird problems. Disable them all.
Open Device Manager. Uncheck "allow the computer to turn off this device to save power".
For all devices listed under "Universal Serial Bus Controllers". Right-click the device and go to properties, and then the power management tab. The option shows up mainly for devices with "hub" in their name.
For all devices listed under Human Interface Devices.
Mice and other input devices.
In device manager. In properties for mice or keyboard check "allow this device to wake the computer" if you want them to wake your PC. Put the computer to sleep and try waking it up by using the keyboard and mouse.
Disable "USB Selective Suspend" in USB settings in Power Options control panel. See this article and its comments:
True sleep mode (without fans on) may work via the power button. But sometimes the PC will not go to sleep via the sleep timer in the power options control panel. The PC will not go to sleep after the specified number of minutes has passed with the computer idle.
In this case the solution for some PCs is to uncheck "allow this device to wake the computer" in the power management tabs of various devices listed in the device manager control panel. Uncheck it for mice, keyboards, network adapters, etc.. This sometimes allows the computer to go to sleep on its own.
After doing the above restart the PC and reset the timer to one minute, and wait to see if the PC goes to sleep on its own in a few minutes. It can take a few minutes longer than the time you set.
If it does go to sleep, you can try to figure out what device is keeping the PC from sleeping. Check "allow this device to wake the computer" for one device, restart the PC, and wait a few minutes. Keep doing that with different devices until you figure out which device is keeping the PC awake. Write down the name and type of plug it uses (PS2 or USB).
Stop the Mouse From Waking Up Your Computer from Sleep Mode. Only seems to work with USB mice and keyboards. Not PS/2. A PS/2 to USB adapter solves the problem. If both the mouse and keyboard are PS/2, they both have to use an adapter (or the same one). For some reason if only the mouse is connected via an adapter, this does not work. Both need the adapter, and both must uncheck the box in the power management tab as described in the article (device manager control panel, properties, power management, "allow this device to wake the computer"). And the PC must be restarted before it works. See this search for this combined adapter. An example here.
If the keyboard is PS/2 and the mouse is USB, it is OK to connect them both without adapters. Only the keyboard will wake up the computer if "allow this device to wake the computer" is unchecked in the power management tab of the mouse.
Bumping the keyboard or the surface it is on will not wake the PC. Only clicking a key will wake the PC. If you don't want the PS/2 keyboard to wake the PC in any circumstance, then use a PS/2 to USB adapter, and uncheck the box for "allow this device to wake the computer".
I no longer use sleep shortcuts (on taskbar or desktop) due to many recurring problems. Instead I put the PC or laptop to sleep via start menu > power menu > sleep.
But here is some info below if you want to try to get sleep shortcuts to work for you. But be warned, there are many reasons why a sleep shortcut will not work right.
Sleep from the start menu can be different from sleep via a sleep shortcut on the desktop or taskbar. Try out the sleep shortcuts below. If they don't go to true sleep with the fans off, or if they go to hibernation instead, then you may have to disable hibernation, and you may also have to change a BIOS setting from S1 to S3. The BIOS change is not possible or necessary on many computers.
Right click desktop, New, Shortcut, Location:
rundll32.exe powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState 0,1,0
Name it "Sleep".
Choose icon by right-clicking shortcut, then to properties, and choose icon. For icons browse to:
C:\Windows\System32\shell32.dll - has yield sign with bolder exclamation point.
The above shortcut may not work unless hibernation is turned off. All it may do is to turn off the PC completely. It may not be a good idea to turn off hibernation on a laptop. Otherwise even sleep may drain the battery completely over time. Hibernation uses no power. So laptops (when unplugged) can be set to go to sleep first, and then into hibernation mode later in order to conserve battery power.
So the simplest laptop solution may be to keep hibernation enabled, and to set the laptop to go to sleep upon closing the lid, or upon clicking the power button. Or via the start menu > power menu > sleep.
On laptops you may be able to see if it is truly asleep by the slow blinking of the power button, and/or an LED light on the side of the laptop. The laptop may wake up almost instantly upon opening the lid, and you may think it never went to sleep.
But you can tell by the slow blinking LED on the side before you open the lid. And you can usually tell if you open the lid fast and see the screen light up. If you open the lid slowly the screen may be lit up by the time you open it enough to see the screen. Peek under the lid while you open it.
No longer good to disable hibernation for sleep to work
As stated in the previous section disabling hibernation is probably not a good idea for laptops.
And it is no longer a good idea for PCs. It seems that Windows updates often re-enable hibernation. This often re-enables fast bootups too. Fast bootups can cause all kinds of problems. So it is now better to disable fast bootups directly, instead of via disabling hibernation.
You can go to sleep from the start menu > power menu > sleep. This is better than taskbar or desktop sleep shortcuts. They are often problematic.
The following info in this section is old, and no longer works consistently.
In some computers this is the only thing that needs to be changed for sleep (without fans) to work. Sometimes the PC has to be restarted for this to work.
This is especially necessary for getting sleep shortcuts to work correctly. Otherwise the shortcut may activate hibernation or shutdown, instead of sleep. Or the PC may wake up, but not send a signal to the monitor.
Sleep shortcuts are more trouble than they are worth. Better to click sleep via the start menu, power button options. It works much more consistently. Especially as video drivers are updated.
Hibernation uses absolutely no power, but can take a full 45 seconds or more to wake up in some PCs.
Windows: Right-click Command Prompt (in Accessories or Windows System) and select Run as administrator. At the resulting command prompt, type powercfg -hibernate off and then press ENTER. This removes both hybrid sleep and hibernate from the sleep setting in the power options control panel (if they are listed there to begin with).
Tweak Your Windows PC's Sleep Mode. PCWorld. "S3 is typically the default Standby/Sleep mode, while S4 is usually the default Hibernate mode. To access S3 or S4, simply click Start and then click the triangle next to the Shut Down button. ... S1 sleep mode uses about 112 watts to S3's 5 watts, so it isn't as easy on your electric bill (or for laptop users, your battery) as S3 is."
See the multimedia settings ("when sharing media") of the advanced power settings. There are 3 choices. One is "allow the computer to sleep." This may be necessary for the power button to put the PC completely to sleep. Not sure.
"Turn on fast startup" is in the power control panel if hibernation has not been disabled. After clicking "Choose what the power buttons do". Then click "change settings that are currently unavailable" if you need to check or uncheck a box.
I no longer disable hibernation since this can cause problems. See other sections.
These are 3 different functions. Fast start, fast boot, quick boot. All of these can cause problems, and are unnecessary if you use sleep most of the time.
When you do a full restart or cold start, it may not be a good idea to skip any tests or procedures. So disable fast start and fast boot.
Recheck this now and then because sometimes Windows Updates can reset things.
Also, in BIOS make sure all quick boot functions are disabled.
Disabling hibernate (see elsewhere on this page) also disables fast start. It even removes the fast start option from the power control panel.
In windows 10 you may or may not want to turn off the fast reboot option during Windows Updates. Select the Start button, select Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced options > Sign-in options, and then deselect the check box next to "Use my sign in info to automatically finish setting up my device after an update."
See also: "Choose what the power button does" in the power options control panel. Then "Change settings that are currently unavailable." Then: "Don't require a password." This gets rid of the login screen and the opening image upon waking up the PC. It wakes up straight to the desktop.
Enter netplwiz in "Run". Run is under Windows System in all apps. Uncheck the box next to "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer." Click Apply. This is key. A new window labeled "Automatically sign in" will pop up. Type your password twice and then click OK. A blank password does not work. One easy password is to use the same word as your user name. That way if you mess up and somehow require a password later on, then it is more likely you will remember it, even if you forget where you stored it for safekeeping.
Your computer will now bypass the log-in page when you turn on your PC. You can also change your sign-in options so that Windows will never require you to sign in after your PC wakes from sleep by going to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options. Also, on the right is "Lock screen". Click it. There you can turn the lock screen background image on or off. And adjust screen timeout, and screen saver settings.
Convert computers that are using unsupported versions of Windows (Windows XP and before) to Linux Mint. See: Wikipedia: Linux Mint. It is free. Updates are free. Linux Mint is the most popular version of Linux for individual users. Installation is very fast. Under one hour total (including updates).
Browsers are installed with it. The PCs work fine for web browsing, Youtube, etc..
There are 4 desktops to choose from for Linux Mint. Xfce is best for the oldest computers and laptops. Cinnamon has more features.
12 Jan 2020: Ahead of Windows 7’s death, you can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free – here’s how to get it. This worked for me. The key part is this: "As CokeRobot explains, you need to choose the upgrade where you keep your files and information. If you choose to do a fresh install, you lose the ability to upgrade to Windows 10 for free". Once you finish the upgrade and successfully create a Microsoft account on the PC, then the Windows 10 upgrade is permanent. Then one can do a fresh, clean install of Windows 10 if one wants to. That is what I did. Use the Windows Media Creation Tool to put the installer on a USB stick:
But you do need a product key, a free upgrade, or a paid upgrade.
Go to ebay.com and search for "Windows 10 key", "Windows 10 Pro key", etc.. Scroll down several pages as needed. Working product keys for any of the above can sometimes be purchased for under $10. Even under $5. Try sorting by "price + shipping: lowest first".
Check the rating of the seller, and only buy from sellers with ratings above 99%, or even 99.5%. Only buy from sellers who have been around at least 6 months. Then you will know that the key will last for awhile at least. Ebay ratings can not be changed by users once the user leaves a rating. Most do this within the first month after purchasing something. So users who get a product key that lasts only a few months will not be able to change their initial rating. So seller ratings may not be an accurate representation of longterm use of the product keys they sell.
Know the difference between a product key and an installer disk. Windows can be installed for free, but without an activated product key Windows Update will stop working after a period of time. Possibly around 30 days. It depends. So install a product key before that to avoid catching some malware due to the lack of security updates.
Product keys may work for a few months and then you might get a message on your screen saying it is not genuine. Something like "Windows 10. ... This copy of Windows is not genuine". That is why it is good not to spend more than $5 for a product key on Ebay. It looks like it is possible to replace one product key with another. So you don't have to reinstall the operating system. So it may be possible to use another cheap product key for another few months. I do not know.
Some of the product keys that last temporarily as described above may be MSDN product keys. See:
Write down your product key, and file it. Also, put it on a label on the PC so you have it when the computer crashes and only a clean install of the operating system will fix the PC. There are installer disks for any version of Windows that can be bought for under $10 on Ebay. For example; search for "windows 10 install disk". Only buy from people with 99% or better ratings who have been around at least 6 months. Read their bad ratings to see what kind of problems they have had. So that the installer disks are legitimate, and without malware. The installer disks do not include product keys. You may already have one. If not, you can sometimes buy a legitimate product key for under $10 on Ebay. See previous section.
If you gave up on Windows 10 awhile back and returned to Windows 7 or 8, you might want to try Windows 10 again now. It works on more PCs than in the past. More working drivers have been built in to its installer. More drivers are installed automatically via Windows Update. It is easy to create Windows 10 installation media. See:
The same media creation tool includes more and more Windows updates as time progresses. This is true even though the small setup program has the same name for long periods of time.
Of course you need to have a Windows 10 product key, or you need to have created a Microsoft account when you first installed Windows 10 on that PC. If you did, then you can install Windows 10 now and still be legal with an activated Windows 10 just by signing in to Microsoft from that PC. It is usually done with your email address and a password. If you forgot your password you can have a temporary one sent to that email address.
Windows 7 and above works better with at least 4 full gigabytes of RAM. Anything less will cause web browsing to be much slower. Less tabs can be opened. Going back and forth between tabs is slower. Browser will lock up more often.
So be sure to use a 64 bit version of Windows (see above section) since it can use a full 4 gigabytes of RAM and more. 32 bit versions of Windows can only use around 3.3 GB maximum of RAM. See this Google search for more info.
Find cheap RAM on Ebay. The cheapest comes directly from China. Around 11 days shipping. Shipping is usually free. As usual only buy from sellers with 99%+ ratings. For example; you can get 4 gigabytes (2 times 2 GB) of DDR2 RAM for under $10 total. Be sure to check the maximum amount of RAM your motherboard will allow, and what kind of RAM it uses (DDR versus DDR2 versus DDR3).
Some old PCs can only use a maximum of 4 GB. So you might fill those 4 slots with 1 GB each of RAM. If the PC only has 2 slots total, then fill them with 2 GB each of RAM.
Many old PCs max out at 8 GB total, and have 4 memory slots. Don't buy 1 gigabyte RAM for those PCs. That limits your future options. A 6 GB PC can be much faster and more functional than a 4 GB PC (4 slots at 1 GB each).
If the PC currently has 2 gigabytes total of RAM, then there are usually at least 2 slots open. Fill them with 4 gigabytes (2 times 2 GB). You end up with a total of 6 GB.
If the PC can accept up to 16 GB total of RAM, then fill those 2 open slots with 4 GB each. The more RAM, the more tabs you can leave open, and the more things you can run at the same time. Only do this if it is cheaper to get this PC functional at a total cost cheaper than buying a used PC on Ebay.
Used PCs on Ebay can be incredibly cheap. Get a "Buy it now" PC rather than bidding. Bidding is time-consuming, and unnecessary since many people sell used PCs with a fair (or dirt cheap) "Buy it now" price. Many businesses sell or give away many old PCs to refurbishers who sell them cheap on Ebay. As usual only buy from sellers with 99%+ ratings.
Google Toolbar. Search the whole web, or a single web site (the one currently being viewed in the browser tab). This site search is what makes Google Toolbar very useful, especially in Internet Explorer since it may not have the site search addons that Firefox has. If the text is too small in the search form, just click the relevant search button with nothing in the form. This takes you fast to the relevant Google search page where the search form does not have small text. For example; click the Search Site button, the Google News button, the Google Maps button, etc.. Ctrl-click to open in a new tab. You can choose multiple buttons to add to the toolbar. Click toolbar options to choose.
Blogger.com - Google's popular, free blog hosting. See Features. Enable the new editor in settings to get a larger, adjustable edit window.
CCleaner (also known as Crap Cleaner). This is very useful for cleaning out the C drive/partition before doing a full image backup of it with Macrium Reflect Free (see below) or other backup software. CCleaner can also do full wipes, or free-space-only wipes, of drives and partitions. 1 to 35 passes. It may not see external drives unless you turn them on AFTER starting CCleaner. For a good summary of options when using it see here. The article suggests not using the Registry Cleaner. Let it remove all cookies now and then. It finds many cookies not easily found. If you don't want it running in the background, then turn off all monitoring, and all startup activities (such as the registry cleaner). Updating CCleaner is easy. New versions can be installed on top of the old version. When installing CCcleaner uncheck the box to install Google Toolbar at the same time. Install Google Toolbar separately if you want it. It does not seem to be the latest version when it is installed by CCleaner. Important options can be missing.
ChartGo.com - create charts and graphs online for free. Can paste in lists of chart data without special formatting. See also:
CPU-Z. See Wikipedia: CPU-Z. CPU-Z is a freeware that gathers information on some of the main devices of your system.
Disable caps lock and Windows keys. "Works with all modern Windows variants: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8/8.1. It will not work with Windows 95/98/Me." - Reboot the PC after applying the fix. Stops the annoyance of wayward key presses. Make the caps lock key act as another shift key. Disable the left Windows key. This can be useful in some games to avoid wayward key presses pulling you out of the game. If you disable both the left and right-side Windows keys then you will not be able to use many keyboard shortcuts such as Win or "Win+D" to get to the desktop. In that case to minimize a game window click ctrl-alt-delete to pop up the task manager. Then go to the Windows tab and click "minimize". In some games this only works when the video option for "windowed" or "borderless" is being used within the game settings. A better tool may be SharpKeys:
SharpKeys | randyrants.com. MSI version is the installer. Check for the latest version on the GitHub download page (releases tab). Get the .msi installer. It is a safe program. To verify this scan it with Microsoft Defender, etc. before installing it. Donate | randyrants.com. See: - GitHub - randyrants/sharpkeys. "SharpKeys is a utility that manages a Registry key that allows Windows to remap one key to any other key". See: SharpKeys | randyrants.com. "As it relies on internal support within Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 you must be running one of these OS’s for this Registry hack to work." Download and install. Easy way to remap keys, turn them off, reset them all, etc.. Besides remapping the caps lock key, on some PCs I sometimes turn off the left Windows key, and leave the right one on. That way the left Windows key does not interfere with game play. I can use the right Windows key for Windows key shortcuts. Launch SharpKeys and click on "add". Then click "type key" on the left. Then click the caps lock key on your keyboard. Click OK. Then click "type key" on the right side. Then click the left shift key on your keyboard. Or click "turn key off" in the menu. Then click OK and then "Write to registry". Restart PC to enable the change.
Email Extractor. Good for extracting all the email addresses from detailed city lists.
Windows Disc Image Burner. Built in to Windows. Burn ISO images in Windows 7,8, and 10. Mount them in Windows 8 and 10. For Vista and earlier Windows operating systems see ImgBurn info listed higher up.
Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack. A set of software codecs for viewing and listening to many forms of media in Windows Media Player. Useful for viewing movie and other video DVDs, etc..
Driver Easy Lite. Not all of its drivers are WHQL-certified. It has caused sleep problems on one of my desktop PCs. So do a Macrium backup of the C drive before letting it install drivers.
I have them both installed. I have them on automatic scans on a weekly schedule. One can choose how often to automatically scan for driver updates. Sometimes one finds a new driver before the other one does. Use Driver Booster Free first since it will update all the drivers it finds with one click.
Do a scan to pull up a list of drivers to update. Then create a restore point before installing each driver. Name the restore point "Driver Easy", and add the name of the driver. Fill in today's date, too. Then install the drivers one by one. Do a restore point before each driver installation. You have to buy the paid version to have them all installed with one click. Here are instructions on installing a driver:
Test sleeping and waking after each driver install. That way you will know what driver is causing a problem. This allows you to do a system restore to solve the problem.
One tip. After your scan you can click on any driver name that comes up to get more info in a popup box. Important info such as the dates and version numbers of the old and new drivers. Plus the names of the old and new drivers which may be different. You have to find the old driver name in device manager.
If you can't find the driver name after opening all the dropdown menus, then do this:
Device manager > view menu > show hidden devices.
This will show the driver.
Sometimes there are more than one driver with the same name in device manager.
You can be certain you have the right driver in device manager by right-clicking the device, clicking properties in the first popup, and then in the larger popup click on the driver tab to get the current driver date and version number. Also, you can check the hardware IDs.
A quick way to get to the device manager in Windows 10 is to right-click "This PC" on your desktop (if you put it there) and click properties. From the screen that pops up you can find device manager linked from the left sidebar.
Some download speeds can be very slow. So calculate how long it will take, and set sleep time accordingly in the power control panel. In case you leave. Set the sleep time significantly longer than needed in case the download speed slows later.
Driver Booster tool for system info and BIOS version
This tool is less and less necessary. When you launch a program most programs tell you if you need to update them. Or you can easily check it from a menu. This is easier than getting every update. Just get updates when you are using the program. Updates are usually downloaded and installed fast for most programs. And they install over the old program. Rarely a need to uninstall the old program first.
IObit Software Updater – It's free. It automatically updates software on your PC. From the same company that produces Driver Booster (see previous section).
It produces a list of software that needs updating. You choose which ones to let the program update.
In Windows 10, one can right-click "This PC" and then click "manage" in the popup context menu. Then click "Disk management". Right click any partition and then click "shrink volume" or "extend volume" to change the size of a partition. Shrinking a partition will also create unallocated space. That can be converted to another partition. Do a Google search for more info.
Partition Wizard Home Edition. Higher rated at CNET than the above partitioning tool. Free tool for creating, resizing, or wiping hard drive partitions. Create a data partition. Make an active O.S. partition smaller or larger. From within this program. Use with Macrium Reflect to create more versatile O.S. backups. See also: bootable edition. Useful for fixing problems, finding, and repairing lost partitions, etc.. It is no longer free, but older free versions still work in many cases.
The Windows Media Creation Tool (USB flash stick for example) has a repair option. It will diagnose problems and fix some of them. Also, when installing Windows 10 via the tool there is a preliminary step it does that shows you the existing partitions, and provides some options to change their sizes, to format them, to delete them, etc.. You can do this and not install Windows.
2 of the top rated free backup programs (EaseUS Todo Backup Free and Aomei Backupper Standard) do not create folder backups viewable in Windows File Explorer. They are not uncompressed copies. They only make compressed copies that require the program to look inside, or to decompress.
SyncBack Free (see link farther down) creates uncompressed copies. It is what I use. I like the incremental backups. Takes only around 5 minutes every week, or couple weeks.
Macrium Reflect Free Edition. Quickly create a disk image backup (compressed to only a few gigabytes) of an O.S. partition or an entire hard drive. Do it soon after a clean install of the operating system (O.S.). Reinstall the backup in a few minutes after erasing and wiping a buggy O.S. partition or drive. This saves hours compared to a clean install of the O.S.. Tutorials:1.2. Use CCleaner (see above) to clean out things before doing a backup.
Use Disk Cleanup too (in Windows Administrative Tools). Right click it to run as administrator. Then you can delete the RetailDemo Offline Content, and Delivery Optimization Files too. Disk Cleanup can take around 15 minutes to delete everything that you allow it to delete. It gives you a menu of stuff you can choose to delete. Along with tooltips explaining each category.
SyncBack Free. See downloads page. Incremental backup or syncing of data partitions or folders to other hard drives (internal, external, network, etc.). The beauty of SyncBack Free is that the copy it makes to an external hard drive is an exact copy. So even if your computers completely crash, you can immediately access your data by connecting the drive to any computer available. You don't necessarily need a separate data partition on your computer. You can use your operating system drive or partition. Just put all your documents, files, audio files, video files, etc. in one folder. Call it "Data" or something short. Then just regularly do incremental backups every few weeks of just that folder. Only takes me around 5 minutes, and my data folder is around 100 gigabytes. The backup is fast because SyncBack only has to update the changes since the last backup. I only turn on the external drive when doing the incremental backup, so it can not be easily hacked. Don't forget to check "disable hibernate/standby" in the preferences menu. Otherwise your computer may go to sleep in the middle of a SyncBack backup. Then later when you notice it you will have to continue with the backup from where is paused. Usually this does not break the backup. If so, you can start the backup from the beginning. So nothing is lost except time. Depending on the PC it may be necessary to turn off sleep temporarily in the power control panel. Or use "Don't Sleep" (described elsewhere).
Old info: Use freeware Folder Size to get accurate folder and file sizes when "Properties" is not working correctly (a longtime Microsoft bug that may have been fixed by the time you read this). Also to get the number of files in a folder.
It is good when one can edit a site immediately upon going to the site. For example; Wikia, Wikipedia, Commons, etc.. Normally the Firefox settings described in the following sections allow that to happen. But sometimes one has to click the login button upon returning after closing and reopening Firefox. Deleting the possibly corrupted cookie folders from the profile folder does not help. Reinstalling Firefox may not help either. It can be baffling as to what is preventing auto-login from working. The problem may come and go. Fortunately, Firefox usually remembers the usernames and passwords, and fills them in for you, so that you can easily log in again. See the next section.
First, go to Firefox options, general tab, "When Firefox starts". Pick "Show a blank page". On that same general tab keep the Firefox home page set for Google search. Put the home page icon in one of your Firefox toolbars for easy access. This way you have easy access to Google search, but only on your terms and timing. Do not allow google.com and youtube.com in your Firefox cookie exceptions.
Google respawns its cookies. Google is technically able to cross-reference cookies across its information-rich product line to make dossiers on individuals. Google owns Youtube, DoubleClick, AdMob, etc..
Delete tabs for Google search, profile, Google Plus, Gmail, etc. when you are done. When no Google pages are showing then there is some hope that the "Self-Destructing Cookies" addon will be able to delete all the Google cookies and LSOs. Let it delete LocalStorage too.
Google tracking is hard to kill. It is amazing how one's Gmail or Google profile name or icon shows up at the top of the Google home page even after deleting Google's regular cookies. See local shared object, zombie cookie, evercookie.
After signing out of your Google and Youtube profiles (by deleting all Google-related tabs) you can use Google search a little more anonymously. Google will add more cookies, but not necessarily tied to your Google profile and dossier. But you never know.
If all else fails go to Firefox tools, options, privacy, show cookies. Remove all the Google cookies.
Click on the personalized Google ID icon at the top, and sign out from the dropdown menu. Then you can choose another of your Google or Google Mail accounts to sign into. You might need to delete the tab first.
If your PC can be accessed by others, then when you leave, you must close all the Firefox windows.
It is the only way I know of to sign out of the Firefox password manager. I need to study logging in and out of Windows as another option. I need to study Firefox profiles too.
Google zombie cookies are not deleted in many cases until all Firefox windows are closed. This depends on having your Firefox options set up as described elsewhere on this page. For example; the options involved with clearing history upon closing all Firefox windows.
If you have more than one Google account (for example; for your real name, and various alias names) then it may be a good idea to not let Google know of the other accounts. I don't think it is possible though to prevent this consolidation of info by Google. You can try the following.
You can go to tools, options, privacy, show cookies. Remove the accounts.google.com cookie. That is the Google cookie in question.
Then open a new tab. Go to the Google Mail or Google Account sign in page. You can then choose what accounts to sign into from the dropdown menu. Instead of using the "another account" link. This assumes you have enabled Firefox to remember logins: tools, options, security, remember logins for sites. Be sure to use a master password too. So that when you close all Firefox windows no one can access your password list.
If you just want to remove that annoying personalized Google ID icon that shows up at the top of any Google search page, but without closing all browser windows, then log out by clicking that icon, and signing out from the dropdown menu. Or remove the plain "google.com" cookie: tools, options, privacy, show cookies.
Posting Youtube comments directly
Note: This info may be out of date.
Set to never accept third-party cookies. Instead allow apis.google.com in exceptions . Only need to "allow for session". This works by itself. Top-level comments show up fine. Nothing else is necessary to post top-level comments directly in Youtube comments after logging in. Click "newest first" in the dropdown tab to see your latest top-level comment. For more info see this thread, and this.
Unfortunately though, comments in reply to other comments do not always show up in the logical location, and may not show up at all. And what you see may be different depending on whether you are logged in or not. The brainless idiots at Youtube often (not always) only show your reply as just another top-level comment, and not in a logical threaded format. The truly exasperating part is that sometimes replies do show up in a logical threaded format. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, you can do about it. See here, and here, about these longterm problems. Some of your comment replies may show up if you click "newest first" in the dropdown tab just above the comments. But not always. It seems that the person you are replying to will get notified of your reply if they allow notifications. But whether anybody else sees the comment reply in the logical order (or at all) depends on whether it is considered "a top comment", and even that may take awhile. Reloading the page sometimes helps. Waiting awhile sometimes helps. But nothing works consistently.
URLs in comments cause many of these baffling problems. One sees the comment after one posts it. But log out and reload the page and the comment is gone. This seems to be Youtube's way of dealing with spam. URLs are not allowed in comments. Youtube uses deception and confusion to fight spam. Comments with URLs are hidden from everybody but the original poster of the comment. So that person has less incentive to copy and paste messages with URLs to multiple comments. They quit sooner thinking they have successfully posted their comment. See here and here.
The search bar at the top right of the Firefox browser opens the result list in the same tab by default. Use ctrl-click to open in a new tab. This ability to open results in a new tab only works for the default search engine. Otherwise searches open in the same tab. You can see the default search engine by looking above the list of suggestions.
You can add more search engines. See here. You can do searches without having to go to the search home page first.
The URL address bar (location bar) at the top can also be used for searches. For more info go here and here. Those pages also explain how to turn off domain guessing and URL auto-completion in the location bar. At about:config:
browser.fixup.alternate.enabled - set its value to false.
browser.urlbar.autofill - set its value to false.
browser.urlbar.autofill.typed - set its value to false.
Be sure there is no space at the end of the above entries, or they will not show up in about:config.
Add search engines to the searchbar. If you want more choices than what Firefox provides you can add other search engines easily to the searchbar. Go to the page with the search engine. Click the icon on the left side of the searchbar. From the popup menu click on the search engine to be added. It will now be on the list of search engines you can choose from.
Context Search.Currently not compatible with Firefox 57 or later, as of this writing. Very popular. Select any text, right click, and search from your installed search engines (same as the ones at the top right of browser). You choose from a submenu. Search opens in a new tab by default.
Search Site.Currently not compatible with Firefox 57 or later, as of this writing. It uses the current Firefox default search engine you have selected in tools > options > search. A good reason to make Google your default search engine. The addon has an option to "Show 'Search Site' icon". It is a good idea to always show the green icon in the search bar. In the addon options check the box for "show 'search site' menu". This menu allows you to choose in the context menu whether to search within the subdomain or within the entire domain. There is also an option to specify which one is the default site search. To initiate a site search using the search bar, type the search terms into the search bar, and then left-click the green icon. The results show up in the current tab by default. Use ctrl-click to open results in a new tab. You can right-click the green icon, and then in the popup menu select either Within subdomain or Within entire domain. You can also select text on a page, and then right click the selection to do a site search from the popup context menu. Choose "search site for selection". Use ctrl-click to open results in a new tab.
Site Searcher. Adds a "Search this site" button. It can be moved around. It allows you to search the subdomain of the website you are on. When clicked, Google will be opened in a new tab. This is true no matter what the default search engine is in the search bar on the right.
Searchbar Autosizer.Currently not compatible with Firefox 57 or later, as of this writing. Increases search bar width once you start typing into it, or pasting into it. Adjustable widths in addon options. Search bar width shrinks when done to whatever size you set in options.
Do not use the following. The addons were buggy. See reviews to see if they have been fixed.
Site Search. Replaces the site search function of Google Toolbar. Select text and right click to search from context menu. Search can be set to open in a new tab. There is also an optional toolbar to enter search terms in.
QuickWiki. Quick lookup in Wiktionary and Wikipedia. Select word or phrase and right click. Context menu gives choice to open up a quick definition popup from Wiktionary, or a quick popup of the intro from a Wikipedia article. Other options are to open up the Wiktionary or Wikipedia articles in a new tab.
Find Button. Adds a button to open and close the FindBar. Can drag button to other locations. No longer needed. It now comes with Firefox.
Find All. Searches for a word or phrase on a web page, and displays the results in an easy to view list. Can click on a line in the list to go to that location on the page.
FindBar Tweak. Find all uses of a word or phrase on a page, or on all tabs. Many options. It is also good for counting the number of entries in a wikitext list. Count the number of asterisks or hash tags. Works best if there is a space after them before the list item. This distinguishes asterisks before links (no space), and asterisks before list items.
If annoying, click-away popups cover needed parts of the Google home page, or they distract you, or if some days you find the doodles annoying or slow-loading, there are things you can do. You can get rid of the popups and clickouts by using this Firefox addon:
You can also try other pages as your home page in your browser. Such as search.yahoo.com
It seems that the various Google home pages (Search, News, etc.) have gone to hell at times, especially since Marissa Mayer left Google in July 2012. Wikipedia: "She also oversaw the layout of Google's famous, unadorned search homepage."
Google News is worse at times. Titles can be too short. Advanced news search, and archive search of news, can be difficult or impossible to find, or to use. Enter some search terms and do a news search. Then click on "search tools" to sort by time, date, etc..
For an alternative at times try Yahoo News. It can be sorted by time after the initial news search.
Toolbar Buttons. Customized selection. From Codefisher.org. For example; here is a possible selection of buttons from many choices: "A customized version of Toolbar Buttons including the buttons: Bookmark Manager, Bottom, Decrease Searchbar Size, Favourite Page, Find, Gmail, Increase Searchbar Size, Page Info, Page Media, PopUp Blocker, Resize Search Size, Search Go, Stop, Stop All, Tab List, Top, Twitter, Up Directory".
The plus (+) button for a new tab can seem to disappear. It is movable. So it may sometimes be found anywhere on the toolbars, or in the customize window. It is not intuitive to get it to remain just right of the rightmost tab when done with the customize window.
In the customize window the correct location is on the far right of the tab bar. That is correct as long as nothing else is in front of it. If so, move those items to the right of it. Then click "done". The plus (+) button for a new tab will now show up just to the right of the tabs.
If not seen, or not recognized, "restore defaults" in the customize window. Look for it again. It is not easy to see in some locations since it is just a small plus sign without a border in some locations.
Translate Now.For Firefox 57 or later. By default, the translation is in a new tab. It is possible to overuse this at times, and Google will stop translating for awhile, or make you get past CAPTCHA screens. Google Translation of text will usually again work fine after closing all browser windows, and restarting. I have my settings and addons configured so that restarting gets rid of all unwanted cookies and super-cookies, and so Google does not remember my past use of the day. And even though I use Google Mail I do not allow automatic login to Google. So all Google cookies are temporary.
Here is another translation addon below, and its benefits and problems (at the time of writing).
Google Translator for Firefox. Clicking icon translates the whole page in a new tab. Translating selected text is not working for me. Can place the icon in any toolbar. To do so right-click toolbar and click "customize". Then drag icon from current location to new preferred location.
Use safe-mode restart (help menu, restart with addons disabled). Addons are turned off temporarily. The addons come back on (enabled) when the browser is restarted again.
"Restore defaults" in customize. The customize window shows up by right-clicking the toolbars at the top of the browser and then clicking on "customize". Or click the 3-bar Firefox menu on the right side, and then click customize. Or view menu, toolbars, customize.
Both of the above methods may need to be done to fix some problems. Both are completely reversible and safe.
The "reset Firefox" option removes all your addons, and resets all to default settings on everything. So don't use it unless all else fails. You might as well uninstall Firefox completely, and do a clean install of Firefox direct from Firefox download.
Sometimes Firefox can not seem to stay on the correct browser tab or window, and jumps away to another tab or window. This annoying loss of focus can sometimes be fixed by disabling protected mode in Flash. See:
You may need to copy your mms.cfg file to your desktop in order to edit it. Change its name to mms.txt and edit it in Notepad or any text editor. Then change its name back to mms.cfg and copy it back to where it needs to be.
To disable Protected Mode you need to edit the mms.cfg file located in one of the two directories:
Windows 32bit: C:\windows\system32\macromed\flash
Windows 64bit: C:\windows\syswow64\macromed\flash
Just open the file with a text editor and add the following line to the mms.cfg file:
ProtectedMode = 0
If the file does not exist, create it first.
ProtectedMode=0 (no spaces) also works. Both of the above directories can exist on 64bit Windows operating systems. If necessary, try changing the file in both directories. Restart your PC to be sure it is implemented.
mms.cfg file normally does not have that line, and so to go back to default, just remove that line.
Disable detach and tear off tab. Disable this: Clicking a tab once and then moving your mouse in a downward motion to the right causes a new window to open. Worth disabling it if it is interfering with saving bookmarks. Or just remember to go left when saving a bookmark via the bookmarks sidebar.
Facebook Select All. Select all your friends on Facebook to send an invite. Click the select all button again if you scroll further down the list.
YesScript. Use YesScript on sites that annoy you or hog your system resources. One click to the icon turns scripts on or off for the current site. Great, for example, for news sites that frequently refresh the page. YesScript remembers the setting. No more refreshing unless you reload the page.
See the addons list higher up to find a good bookmark sorting addon.
You can make bookmarks sort by date by putting the date in the front of the file name or folder name.
2017-07-28 - Year-month-day. YYYY-MM-DD or YY-MM-DD - 17-07-28
Works for files in your documents folder too. For example; bank statements, etc..
If you want something to be at the top of your bookmarks, put an _ underscore in the front of the bookmark name. Or bookmark folder name if you want a subfolder to be at the top of the folder. The underscore is alphabetized above all letters and numbers.
You can add spaces after the underscore. The more spaces, the higher up it is. Spaces are alphabetized above all letters and numbers.
You may not want to use the Google Chrome browser. As of this writing it automatically deletes duplicate bookmarks. I have many duplicate bookmarks. The same bookmark can be filed under various topics.
Firefox (without an addon) only alphabetizes one folder at a time. You have to open the folder. Then right-click the folder name. Click "sort by name". It sorts the files and folders in that folder.
You can bookmark a group of tabs by right-clicking a tab, and then clicking "select all tabs". Then click "bookmark tabs". A popup will allow you to choose a folder name, and to place it wherever you want.
Autoclose Bookmark & History Folders. Currently not compatible with Firefox 57 or later, as of this writing. Firefox addon with option to auto-close all other bookmark folders when one opens a folder. It also has a button to close all folders. This addon is not needed if you have installed All-in-One Sidebar.
The following addon is no longer supported by its creator:
All-in-One Sidebar. Many options. The main one is that it allows one to open and close the bookmarks on the left side by clicking on a thin left sidebar switch that goes from the top to the bottom of the tab window. It can be tricky to figure out all of this addon's options.
I like using it just for bookmarks. First, reset its settings to defaults. 2 paths:
Click "restore defaults". Then click the panels tab. Then the addons tab below. Then uncheck "open in sidebar". Click OK. Restart the browser. Now you can more easily access the All-in-one Sidebar options via the normal methods: Tools menu > addons. Or: Menu button > addons.
Open the sidebar by clicking the narrow sidebar strip on the left. Then click the top left drop down menu. Click "bookmarks". Now you can open and close your bookmarks instantly by clicking the narrow sidebar strip. Open the sidebar, and click the right side drop down menu. Put a checkmark next to "Automatically close other folders". This function means you do not need to install this addon: Autoclose Bookmark & History Folders
I like eliminating unused clutter in this addon since I only use its bookmarks sidebar. Right click the top of the browser, and then click "customize". At the bottom of the customize window click "show/hide toolbars". Uncheck "All-in-one sidebar toolbar" and "sidebar header toolbar". Exit customize.
Back in the file manager window that opened earlier, delete the favicons.sqlite file. If found, also delete favicons.sqlite-wal and favicons.sqlite-shm (those two normally only exist while Firefox is running).
To prevent new favicons go to about:config and change the three parameters below to the following values. More info here.
If you want to be able to pass on a computer along with an up-to-date operating system, you will probably want to remove your bookmarks, passwords, session restores, etc..
You will also probably want to create a clean Macrium Reflect Free backup that you can put on a CD, drive partition, backup drive, Flash stick, etc..
Deleting a zillion bookmarks via the bookmarks library (bookmarks menu / show all bookmarks / organize menu / delete) is very fast nowadays. Takes less than a minute even for huge numbers of bookmarks.
In the past it was faster to delete them from the profile folder (help menu / troubleshooting Information / profile folder). Close all browser windows, and then delete the places.sqlite file.
Also delete everything in the bookmarkbackups and sessionstore-backups folders.
Using places.sqlite is no longer necessary in most cases. Importing and exporting via json and HTML files is much faster nowadays with most computers. Importing a huge json file like mine takes less than a minute nowadays.
For places.sqlite go to the help menu, then troubleshooting information. Click on the link to show the profile folder. Copy places.sqlite and paste it in a folder in your backup folder or drive. If you have a lot of bookmarks this method (depending on your computer) can be much faster than the standard method of backing up or restoring bookmarks.
Importing bookmarks is instant by pasting places.sqlite in the profile folder. All browser windows must be closed beforehand for this to work. All variations of places.sqlite in the profile folder must be deleted first.
If this is a new install of Firefox it is OK that it replaces the places.sqlite file that is there. It only has a few bookmarks that comes with Firefox.
First, export all your bookmarks as an HTML file. Then create another Firefox profile. Import that HTML bookmark file into that profile.
Then in that profile delete all the bookmarks except the ones you want to export. Export them as an HTML file. That HTML file can then be imported into any Firefox profile on any computer. And they will not overwrite the existing bookmarks. See the next section.
Importing via a .json file will overwrite existing bookmarks in Firefox.
But importing an HTML bookmark file will not overwrite existing bookmarks in Firefox. So if you want to import some bookmark folders from other computers, etc. you can do so safely.
Be sure to turn off any auto-alphabetization add-ons first. When importing via HTML files, the bookmark folders and files are added to the bottom of the existing bookmarks.
If you have any top-level folders with the same name you may not want the existing and imported folders next to each other. That can be confusing. Instead put all the imported folders and files into a new "Imported bookmarks" folder. Or some other distinctive folder name.
Then you can add what you want to the existing bookmarks at your leisure.
Here is some old Internet Explorer info since it would export via HTML bookmark files:
You may want to export bookmarks from Internet Explorer (IE), and then import them into Firefox, etc..
That can be problematic. Sometimes IE will not successfully export its bookmarks (favorites). It will only export part of your bookmarks into a bookmarks.html file. Click on it to see where it cuts off. It usually happens at the point where there is a file name that is too long.
To fix the problem, copy the favorites folder from the users folder. Then paste it into another folder. A dated backup folder for example. During this pasting process the MS Windows software will ask to skip files that have long filenames. This fixes the problem.
Copy that favorites folder back into users. Delete the old favorites folder in users first.
Now you will be able to successfully export all the IE bookmarks into the bookmarks.html file. That file can be imported into Firefox, etc..
If you have a lot of bookmarks, then you should know that Firefox automatically creates a bookmark backup file when the last Firefox window is closed. This can take many seconds, and during that time Firefox can not be restarted. To stop automatic bookmark backups go here, and then to about:config:
browser.bookmarks.max_backups - set it to 0.
You will have to backup bookmarks manually: Bookmarks menu, show all bookmarks, import and backup, backup. The instant way to backup or restore huge amounts of bookmarks is by copying places.sqlite from the Firefox profile folder. See the relevant section on this page.
The places.sqlite file contains bookmarks, history, and other details about the bookmarks. I am only interested in the bookmarks. I am not interested in how many times the pages were visited, etc.. All that just makes for easier corruption, and more browser bloat.
My .json bookmark backup file is around 20 megabytes. My .html bookmark backup file is around 15 megabytes because it does not contain history (visit counts, etc.).
I have a theory that Firefox started having serious problems when it combined the history and bookmarks files, and put them in a database file, places.sqlite. I think it is too much to try to run a database inside a browser. Especially if there are a lot of bookmarks.
To solve the problem of corrupted bookmarks slowing down Firefox, etc. I backup bookmarks to an html file. That is quick and takes less than 15 seconds even for tens of thousands of bookmarks. Then I close all Firefox windows. Then I delete all the places.sqlite file variations in the profile folder. Including in the bookmarkbackups folder. Then I launch Firefox. Now there are no bookmarks or history. Note how snappy Firefox may be.
Then import the bookmarks.html file only. It may take a few minutes to a few hours if you have a lot of bookmarks. It depends on the operating system, current version of Firefox, etc.. It only took 5 minutes last time I tried it with a ton of bookmarks, and a good computer with an SSD drive.
The database is being created from an html file. In the first minute you may or may not get a script dialog box. Let the script continue working, and tell it not to ask permission again. Go do something else because the computer may not be able to do anything else. If you click in the browser window you will see "not responding" at the top of the browser. Maybe along with a circling icon in place of the mouse cursor in the browser window. Be patient.
When it is done the new database is clean, and not corrupted, since it is fresh. It still contains your bookmarks. It no longer contains a visit count for each bookmark. You can check this via "Show all bookmarks" in the bookmarks menu. Then to: views menu > show columns > visit count.
During restart one can quickly close a window or two before they completely launch, and before Firefox locks up. Thus stopping the freeze.
Restart.Currently not compatible with Firefox 57 or later, as of this writing. Restart from file menu command, or from button you place anywhere. Turn off shortcut keys in options. Otherwise they will be hit accidentally while typing or gaming.
Adblock Plus (ABP). Get latest version from AdblockPlus.org site. Go there with the browser you need it on (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, etc.). An effective ad blocker. Enable or disable it by clicking the ABP icon. For all sites, or just on a particular site or page. For example; for sites important to you such as free web-based email providers, etc. that depend on ads, and you want to allow more ads than normal. The ABP icon can be placed anywhere in Firefox. On Internet Explorer it is on the status bar after restart. Check for updates. As with Firefox it can greatly lower CPU usage as indicated in the task manager.
"Windows 7/8/10 therefore by default will automatically disable SuperFetch and Prefetch, once it detects an SSD on your system."
But see this from a comment:
the files are created in C:\Windows\Prefetch
if thats on an SSD then disable prefetch, if not then you can leave it enabled
That folder was found on my SSD drive after a clean install of Windows 10 Pro. So I had to disable it manually. From the article:
Should one for some reason need to manually disable them, this is how one can disable SuperFetch. Run services.msc to open the Services Manager. Scroll down to Superfetch service, which is responsible for maintaining and improving the system performance over time.
Double-click on it to open its Properties box. Click on Stop to stop the process. Make the startup type Disabled and click on Apply.
Search works fine without indexing turned on. And without indexing your computer will be less likely to be bogged down by indexing going on in the background. And your SSD drive will last longer. And you close a quick path (the search index) for hackers to quickly find anything on your computer.
To disable or limit indexing go to the indexing control panel:
Start menu > Scroll down to Windows System > Control Panel > View by: Small icons > Indexing Options.
Before doing that be sure Windows Search in services is not disabled.
Remove as many locations as possible in the indexing list. Leave nothing (or as little as possible) to be indexed. Select an item. Then click "modify" below. Select the item in the popup box too. Click "show all locations" in the popup box. Then uncheck everything. Repeat for each item. Including the items in the lower box: "summary of selected locations". Everything, or almost everything, can be removed from the indexing list. Even the start menu, users folder, and favorites can be removed from indexing. The start menu can be a problem. Don't know why. Sometimes it can be removed, sometimes not.
Then go to the advanced setting and click "delete and rebuild index". Even with only the start menu remaining, it can take a few minutes before it says it is completed. This will also remove the previous index so that there is no easy index path left over for hackers.
Another option is to disable indexing in services (via disabling Windows Search). Run services.msc to open the Services Manager. Or search for “services” in the search form in or near the start menu in Windows. Then click the result called "services" (local).
In the Services window, find the “Windows Search” entry and double-click it. Or right click it. First stop it, and click OK. Open it again, and then in the “Startup type” drop-down menu, select the “Disabled” option so that it does not turn on at all. Click Apply, and then OK.
Unfortunately, Windows updates sometimes reverts these settings.
The following is unnecessary, but adds an additional level of security in case Windows "forgets" some of the above settings.
You can disable deep content indexing in Windows drives and partitions. Titles and properties can still be indexed. Right click on an SSD, hard drive, or partition. Then select “Properties” from the list of options. Here under the “General” tab, uncheck the check box for “Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties.” Now click on the “Ok” button to save changes.
You’ll get a popup dialog box asking whether you want to apply these settings to all files and subfolders or just to the root of the drive. Choose all files and subfolders, otherwise it’s still going to index everything on the drive.
Click OK and you’ll have to sit and wait 3 to 20 minutes for each 30 GB on an SSD or a hard drive. It depends on the overall speed of all the relevant parts on your PC. Every file in the file system has an attribute that tells Windows whether or not it should be indexed, so this has to to be changed for all files. It will not have to be repeated for this drive or partition.
If you get any Access Denied errors along the way, just go ahead and click Ignore All because it’s probably just system files that are currently in use. Repeat this for each drive or partition in your PC, and each external drive.
For a complete uninstall and clean install see these links:
Uninstall Firefox from your computer. The most important part for a thorough uninstall is the section called "Remove user data and settings". Delete the whole Mozilla folder from inside the Roaming folder.
Before doing the above first try this: Try restarting Firefox with addons disabled. This can be done from the help menu. It also resets some preferences temporarily. All the changes are reversed when you close all Firefox windows, and then launch Firefox again.
If the above method is not enough, then reset all preferences using solution 2 in this article:
This is a last resort though before completely uninstalling and reinstalling all parts of Firefox.
Sometimes it gets so bad with "not responding" at the top of tabs, and script messages, that the only thing that may work is to uninstall Firefox, and remove all addons and settings. Uninstalling Firefox without also removing the addons and settings may not work. Because the addons may be back upon a new Firefox installation.
Firefox may be losing some market share due to the lack of a "complete uninstall" box when uninstalling Firefox. Uninstalling and reinstalling a program is a common way to fix problems. Many uninstallers ask how much you want to uninstall in the way of settings, etc.. Many people know to try a complete uninstall when necessary.
A basic Firefox uninstall and reinstall remembers bookmarks, saved cookies, and saved passwords. That may be appreciated. But it may come along with the same problematic addons and settings. See the "user set" settings in about:config. Resetting or refreshing may not be enough to solve the problems.
It seems that even a complete uninstall and reinstall sometimes ends up with some "user set" settings in about:config. Maybe those happen due to installation interaction with other programs, the Windows O.S., networking settings elsewhere, etc..
After installation check a few things in options. Maybe uncheck "Use hardware acceleration when available" (in "advanced" section). See more info farther down in "Problematic addons".
Immediately go to the problematic sites and open a bunch of tabs at once. Huffington Post, Facebook, and Amazon for example. Do that before installing addons, or allowing time for Firefox to get corrupted.
Install addons one at a time, and then after installing and enabling each one check how groups of pages load from the problem sites. Watch for page freezes, "not responding", script problems, etc..
One thing from the above-linked pages that seems to help me:
Disable all video downloader addons. Only enable them when necessary to use them. Via tools menu, addons, extensions.
Huffington Post home page and other HuffPost pages can be slow. The YesScript addon does not seem to help with this in Firefox. But the previous recommendations seem to help. Another possibility is going to Firefox options, advanced, general tab. Then check "Warn me when websites try to redirect or reload the page." But that can rapidly become annoying since many links on many websites are redirects.
See essential addons section higher up near the top of the page. "Disconnect" addon causes problems with Twitter images showing up on web pages.
Disconnect. Firefox addon. Blocks the invisible websites that track your search and browsing history. Loads pages faster. Stops tracking by 2,000+ third-party sites. It can also disable some ads. Click the icon for the option to disable it on a particular site or page. "Whitelist" the site. For example; for sites important to you such as free web-based email providers, etc. that depend on ads. After installing it, remove and reinstall other filtering addons such as AdBlock Plus. This will allow you to see what Disconnect is blocking. For more info see "More" in the Add-ons Manager (tool menu, add-ons).
Self-Destructing Cookies.Currently not compatible with Firefox 57 or later, as of this writing. Firefox addon. "A realistic chance of beating zombie-/evercookies without sacrificing usability." Read its option pages carefully. It gets rid of a site's cookies and LocalStorage as soon as you close its tabs. It can even be set to clean your cache every time you are not actively using the browser. Trustworthy cookies can be whitelisted by adding their domain names to the whitelist in the addon's options. Domain names are automatically added immediately if they are first added to "exceptions" in Firefox: Tools menus, options, privacy tab, exceptions. See info higher up. Only allow exceptions for sites you trust not to track you. Or who you don't mind being tracked by. Unfortunately, Facebook may start saying it does not recognize your device if you remove its cookies. It may require you to fill in CAPTCHAs and may request that you allow tracking in your browser for Facebook. Consider using a separate browser for Facebook where the Facebook cookies are not deleted. For example; Google Chrome. As with Firefox you might want Chrome new tabs to be blank pages in order to stop Google cookies from tracking you. See this Chrome addon.
Blur (formerly "DoNotTrackMe"). Firefox addon. It blocks hundreds of online trackers. CNET page says: "Using DoNotTrackMe for Firefox seemed to slow down our browser considerably, even with all other add-ons disabled. The application accomplished its goals, but we are unsure why our browsing experience was hampered by the sluggishness of this program."
BetterPrivacy. Firefox addon. Remove or manage local shared objects (Flash cookies) set by Google, YouTube, Ebay and others. This addon does its deletion of Flash cookies when all Firefox browser windows are closed. See also the following sections. It is not necessary to install BetterPrivacy if all Flash cookies are blocked via the Flash control panel.
Open Internet Explorer > Internet Options > Privacy tab. Under Location check "Never allow websites to request your physical location". Also press the "Clear Sites" button to remove old sites which have access to your physical location.
If it is greyed out you can edit the registry. Enter "regedit" into Run or your PC search.
Playing a downloaded video is advantageous in that one can more easily skip around, adjust the video size, loop it, use equalizer settings, etc.. It is easy with a free popular media player such as VLC, and others.
Video downloading addons can usually be enabled as needed (Firefox, tools menu, add-ons, extensions). The download links, buttons, and/or icons then show up.
You may need to reload the video tab in a new browser window though to get video downloading to work after enabling the download addon.
Disable the addon when done downloading. Some video addons can tax the CPU, etc. in the background. So disabling when they are not needed solves the problem usually. It is a good preventive action too, since video addons can become buggy.
There are various Firefox addons for downloading videos from Youtube and many other sites. Downloading 720p and 1080p videos on Youtube is usually impossible, or requires a paid addon. Here is a search for "youtube downloader" at Firefox addons:
Many tunes have download links. For those that don't here is a Firefox addon that currently works for me at the time of this writing:
Mp3 Downloader for SoundCloud By morni colhkher. I used this to download a tune that did not have a download link. It worked fine. I like that there is an option to always ask me where to download it. I also like the option to not immediately start downloading after preparation.
It is probably a good idea to sign out of SoundCloud before using this addon.
You can create playlists on SoundCloud. But the name of a new playlist can take a few hours to show up in the list of playlists. So be patient. Once the playlist shows up you can add tunes to it right away.
If you are using a desktop monitor you can adjust the brightness directly on the monitor. Or put the brightness to the max, and then use the following tools to adjust things much faster:
Youtube: How to Enable Blue Light Filter on Windows 10. Right click the desktop. Open display settings. Click night light settings. Adjust color temperature. Turn on or off. Leave the settings window open as a tab on your Windows task bar. So you can quickly turn it on or off. Right click it to pin it to the taskbar. Or click the action center button on the bottom right of your screen. Then click the night light on or off. Right click the button to go to display settings.
day_mode – Sets temperature to 5000 and brightness to 100.
night_mode – Sets temperature to 3900 and brightness to 80.
reset – Resets color changes.
Click or double-click on them to activate that display setting. Uncheck the intermediate box. Or "run anyway". Then you can instantly change the display setting anytime you desire. I find Iris Micro to be better than Iris Mini. Because the manual mode of the Mini version does not seem to stay where one sets it.
You can use both Iris Micro and CareUEyes Lite. Both are free. That way you can adjust down the blue light with Iris Micro by clicking the day or night mode. And then adjust the brightness with CareUEyes Lite.
Or combine CareUEyes Lite brightness control with the precise color temperature control of Windows 10 display settings. This is my current preference since both controls quickly adjustable via the taskbar and the system tray.
If you set IrfanView to be the default image editor and viewer for images, then sometimes the Microsoft Photos app will try to take some of those default settings back.
In Windows 10 go to the start menu, settings (gear on left sidebar), Apps, Default Apps. Click on Photo viewer. Choose IrfanView. It will be an option if IrfanView is open at the same time.
Also, set IrfanView as the default image editor/viewer by launching Irfanview. Go to options menu / properties / extensions. I set it on "Images Only". You can do this during installation too, but it may not stick for all the image extensions. Do it again after installation. Then restart the PC. This seems to help keep IrfanView as the editor of image files.
If there are problems that remain with individual file extensions go to start menu, settings (gear on left sidebar), Apps, Default Apps. Then click on "Choose default apps by file type."
The image file extensions that MS Photos tries to steal on my PCs are .jpg .jpeg and .png.
If that doesn't work, then the only solution may be to uninstall the Microsoft Photos app. Sometimes then Paint 3D tries to take over, and you may need to uninstall it too if the other solutions do not stick.
In Windows 10 the uninstall button for either Microsoft Photos and Paint 3D is grayed out in the advanced options found this way: Click on the start menu, and then the settings wheel on the leftmost sidebar. Then click Apps. Then Apps and features. Then click on Microsoft Photos or Paint 3D, and then the advanced options. The reset button there works.
These articles explain how to uninstall and reinstall built-in apps:
In Windows 10 go to "Windows PowerShell". It is in the "W" section of the start menu. Scroll down and expand open the Windows PowerShell folder, right click or press and hold on Windows PowerShell, click/tap on More, and click/tap on Run as administrator.
Copy and paste the following line into the PowerShell prompt:
There is a "Minimum font size" setting in Firefox options. Click on the Firefox tools menu, then options, then the content tab, and then the "Fonts & Colors" advanced button. "Minimum font size" is on the middle right. This increases text size only, and does not necessarily increase sidebar width. Many zoom options and addons can not increase text only. Even if they have a text-only option, it may not always work. They may also increase image sizes at times. This can also increase sidebar width if it is tied to the width of images in the sidebar. Or if the sidebar width is set to em units.
Theme Font & Size Changer. Firefox addon that allows instant changing of font style and size in Firefox bookmarks, menus, tabs, etc.. Option to do the same in context menus (from right-clicking things).
The next section describes another way to change the text size of Firefox menus, etc..
Firefox addon: Toggle animated GIFs. You can stop and start GIF animations by clicking them. You can also restart animations from the beginning. You can analyze animations frame by frame, or let them go a few frames at a time. It is completely up to you and your clicking. Press Ctrl+M to enable/disable animation of GIFs in the current tab, and press Shift+M to restart all animations from the first frame.
In options you can disable all animations by default, so that they do not automatically start.
There are also options in the addon for toggling GIF animations that are files on your computer, and not just ones on the web.
Or open the GIF file in IrfanView, the popular freeware image editor and viewer. See the options menu, and "Stop/Resume Animation". It currently uses "G" on the keyboard to stop and resume animation. There is also an option to "Extract all frames". This saves all the individual frames to a folder of your choice.
Click the 3 periods ... in the address bar. Right-click "Take a screenshot" and then "add to address bar". This makes the screenshot icon visible at all times at the end of the address bar. The Firefox developers should make this the default.
Click the icon, and then choose whether to copy the visible page, the full page, or the part of the page you select. Click on the icon to escape.
A good page for trying out various screenshot functions is the Google News page.
The "print screen" button on most keyboards used with Windows only takes a screenshot of the visible part of a web page currently showing in your browser tab.
The addons below are not necessary if the built-in Firefox Screenshot works well enough for you.
There are Firefox addons that can also take a screenshot of the full web page (including the part only visible by scrolling). They can also take screenshots of the part you select. These addons may not work on all pages. Here are some Firefox addons:
Full Web Page Screenshots. Free for 30 days, and then it seems to lose all functionality. It can save in multiple formats including in PDFs.
Easy Screenshot. Click the button on the right top of the page. Choose from the context menu that pops up. When you choose the whole page, it scrolls down the page, and then an editing toolbar shows up at the top. It allows you to further markup, crop, and annotate the page if you want. Or you can just click the save button right away. It saves the image as an PNG file.
This is the basic version of Easy Screenshot: Web Clipper: Easy Screenshot. To make a screenshot right-click the page and choose options from the context menu. In the addon options (Tools > addons > Web Clipper: Easy Screenshot > options) you can choose the default folder to drop the screenshots in.
You can install all 3 addons if you want. They don't seem to interfere with each other. If you install the 2 Easy Screenshot addons it can be confusing when you right click a page and see "Easy Screenshot" in the context menu. It is actually the basic version: Web Clipper: Easy Screenshot. The full version is only accessible by clicking the button on the top right of the page. You can move that button elsewhere.
There are zoom buttons in the right side of the Customize window in Firefox. Right-click the top toolbar in Firefox and then click "Customize". Drag the zoom buttons to a convenient location. The middle button has the current zoom setting as a percentage. It acts as a reset button too. Click it to see.
The Firefox minimum font size setting can help too (see relevant section elsewhere).
There are also zoom options in the view menu of Firefox. The "zoom text only" option in the view menu helps, but does not work in all situations. For example; in some sidebars with width set to em units.
Compare the width of an image on the same page viewed in Firefox and Internet Explorer. Use a ruler. Make sure zoom is turned off (reset) in both browsers (Firefox: View menu, zoom, reset). If the same image has a different width then see this support thread.
This problem sometimes occurs when the DPI setting is changed in the display control panel of Windows. In Windows one can easily go to the display control panel by right-clicking a blank spot on the desktop, and then clicking properties to go to the control panel. Then go to the settings tab, advanced, general tab, to see or adjust the DPI setting.
To fix the problem see the linked thread, and then enter about:config in the address bar. Enter this:
layout.css.devPixelsPerPx - change it to 1.0
See also the info in the sections on zoom functions and resets.
For larger text everywhere including system fonts you could go the easy way and change to 125% or 150% scaling. See display settings. But that can sometimes make some images and text blurry.
There is another way described in the box below, but it does not make all text larger. For example; some system fonts in control panels.
Both methods can be used. For example; set scaling to 125%, and also change the text size.
In Windows 10 go directly to the display control panel by right-clicking the start menu, and then control panel, and then display. At the top level of the display control panel is "Change only the text size". The submenu allows adjusting various items.
In other versions of Windows go to the personalization control panel (right-click desktop, then click properties or personalize). Go to the Windows color and appearance settings, and then advanced.
Choose from the dropdown choices, and change the text size for various things such as icons, title bars, menus, menu captions, message boxes, etc.. Some of those items can be accessed more quickly by clicking on the graphics for the items (if shown).
In earlier versions of Windows one could reset the text sizes to default by choosing a different color scheme or theme: Windows standard, Windows Classic, High Contrast, etc..
Some of the High Contrast themes are great if you don't like being blinded by white backgrounds. They make the background black everywhere, including Windows File Explorer, and all the various browsers. But it messes up some web pages, causing some things not to be visible.
To change the text size of desktop icons choose "icon" from the item dropdown list. Change the text size.
But larger text may mean less characters show up under small desktop icons. You can increase the size of the desktop icons by right-clicking the desktop, then view, and then large icons.
For even larger desktop icons hold down the ctrl key and middle click (press mouse wheel down) over any desktop icon. Then turn the mouse wheel up or down to adjust the icon size of all the desktop icons. Experiment until you find what works with your version of Windows. The bigger the icon the more space there is in the icon caption for more text.
Some people like it, and some don't. It can help greatly with eliminating blurry text. For example; on sites like this one with dark backgrounds and light text. Especially in the image captions where the text is smaller.
Try ClearType. To enable it, right-click the desktop, then click properties or personalize. Go to the appearance settings, and then effects. How you get there depends on your operating system. Check the box to turn it on.
On some versions of Windows you can tune it right there. On others you may need to go here to tune it:
When done, on the last step, there are some fonts shown that are preferred for legibility. Verdana or Arial are some good fonts to set as the preferred font in Firefox. In Firefox you can set your preferred fonts via the tools menu, options, content, advanced. Choose sans-serif fonts for your default font, and for your proportional font. See Wikipedia: Sans-serif.
All the checkboxes are empty in the above choice for performance. But it may be useful to put a checkmark in the box for "smooth edges of screen fonts." It can be noticeable in file menus and in tab headings in the browser.
Other appearance options that might be worth keeping checked:
Show shadows under mouse pointer. Or do without this, and choose "Magnified" system scheme under the pointers tab in the mouse control panel
Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop.
You may not want to enable the above choices if they don't help. They may slow down performance. So see which ones actually make a difference to you.
Also, if the Cortana button is enabled, click the Cortana button on the taskbar. Then the settings button. And then "other privacy settings" for more privacy settings beyond Cortana. For example; you can turn your camera or microphone on or off for use by apps. Many more settings are there.
As Neowin notes, Microsoft says there are two settings you should look into if you want to keep your PC from uploading your activity data:
“One is to go to Settings -> Privacy -> Activity history, and make sure that ‘Let Windows sync my activities from this PC to the cloud’ is unchecked. Also, you can go to Settings -> Privacy -> Diagnostics & feedback, and make sure that it’s set to basic.”
Windows 10 privacy tools
See this feature list of DoNotSpy10 to understand the problem. If you patiently go through all the settings (start menu / settings) then you do not need DoNotSpy10 or other aids.
DoNotSpy10. Easy-to-use privacy tool for stopping all the Microsoft spying built-in to Windows 10. Do not worry about its installer being detected by malware scans as potentially unwanted program, etc.. During installation the installer uses OpenCandy, FusionCore, InstallerCore, etc. to offer up other programs for installation. Just pay attention during installation (as with installation of any program) for checkboxes offering to install other programs. Uncheck them if you don't want them installed. OpenCandy, FusionCore, InstallerCore, etc. are safe, and are deleted after installation of DoNotSpy10. So, they are not a problem.
Go to system control panel, and advanced system settings. In the remote settings uncheck "Allow remote assistance connections to this computer". Also, uncheck "Allow remote connections to this computer". Most people do not need these functions. If you do ever need it you can turn it on temporarily.
The following info is old, and probably no longer necessary since Windows has had many updates since then.
Stop some weird site blocking and search hijacking. Sometimes some web pages will not show up. Sometimes searching with the location bar in Firefox and other browsers ends up in unexpected places. Sometimes pages do not open in new tabs, but only in the same tab. All kinds of disruptions due to dependence on your ISP's DNS servers.
This can happen when DNS is broken or hijacked. Many people use Google Public DNS to solve some of these problems.
The Google Public DNS IP addresses (IPv4) are as follows:
Set these also: The Google Public DNS IPv6 addresses are as follows:
FBI taps cell phone mic as eavesdropping tool. By Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache. December 1, 2006. CNET News. "functioned whether the phone was powered on or off. ... Security-conscious corporate executives routinely remove the batteries from their cell phones, he added. ... Trojan horse that secretly activated a computer's video camera and forwarded him the recordings."
Chrome browser deletes bookmarks without permission
Firefox, Safari, and Edge browsers do not delete duplicate bookmarks. This is a good thing since I often use the same bookmark in multiple bookmark folders and topics.
But the Chrome browser deletes bookmarks without permission. So be sure to create and save your bookmark backups before importing bookmarks to Chrome. Or before enabling bookmark syncing which is another problem area.
Deletion of desired bookmark duplicates is a deal-breaker for some people. If you have a many bookmarks, and you have many categories and subcategories, then you don't want the browser to mess with your bookmarks. It is common and desired to have a bookmark in more than one bookmark folder. For example; when a web page covers more than one topic.
The Chrome browser deletes duplicate bookmarks (if the URL is exactly the same) as you add bookmarks. Test this by clicking the bookmark star at the end of the location bar. Save a bookmark in one folder. For example; Save Google.com in a folder named Google. Then save it in another folder: Google 2. Go back to the first Google folder. The bookmark is gone. People have complained. To no avail it seems. Have not found an addon to fix it.
The tricky part is that Chrome will not delete the duplicates when you first import a bunch of bookmarks. But it immediately starts deleting duplicate bookmarks as you add them. As of a test at this writing it will delete all duplicate Google.com bookmarks when you add it again to bookmarks. As a test I imported multiple Google 2, 3, 4, etc bookmark folders from an Internet Explorer export. Change the bookmark.htm folder to bookmark.html in order to import it into Chrome.
Empty New Tab Page. New tab pages are blank. This also gets rid of the annoying "Import bookmarks now" message.
On startup: "Open the new tab page". Via: Settings > On startup.
Activate the home page button in settings. Via: Settings > Appearance > Show home button. Enter this URL for example; https://www.google.com/
The above addon and settings opens blank Chrome windows and tabs. You launch Google by clicking the home page button. And it opens without the history thumbnails, and without the "Import bookmarks now" nag message.
Chromarks - Chrome Bookmarks Menu. Popup a bookmarks menu with the click of a button. Manage your bookmarks right from the bookmarks menu. Unfortunately, it shows bookmarks without duplicated spaces. It doesn't delete the spaces, though. So it is a safe addon. The bookmarks look the same in the main bookmark menus.
Open Bookmark Manager. Adds a button to quickly open the Bookmark Manager.
Paste It. Paste text from a toolbar button, context menu, etc..
Recursive Bookmark Sorter. Very fast sorting. 2 or 3 seconds for tens of thousands of bookmarks.
Search the current site.
Zoom Text Only. Zoom text without distorting the images.
This works in some Windows 10 PCs, but not in others.
Same instructions as in Windows 7 section below. Except I don't know what the maximum number is that one can enter in Windows 10. I am up to 500000 without problems as of this writing. 500000 represents the delay time in milliseconds. So 500000 equals 500 seconds.
You can search for regedit from the search icon on the taskbar. Go to the registry editor. Use line 3 below (from the next section) to navigate to the correct section of the registry editor.
Then go to edit menu > new. Then create a new DWORD (32-bit) value.
Don't forget to restart your PC in order for this to take effect.
You can disable the taskbar thumbnail feature (sort of) in Windows 7 using a registry edit. This can be done by setting the taskbar thumbnail preview hover delay to a large value (say 10000 milliseconds or more), so that the preview is not immediately generated when you hover over a taskbar icon.
It is not really feasible to use your phone, or hotspot tethering, if you are into streaming high quality video. See the above article.
So the cheapest way to go is to get a roommate! :)
Then you can split an internet bill, and watch all the HD streaming video you want. It also allows you to use VOIP for your home phone. For your cell phone get a cheap cell plan. See some ideas in the sections that follow.
Internet fast enough for HD video can be had for less than $50 a month total almost anywhere if you take advantage of first year pricing, and then negotiating with your internet provider the next year. Tell them you will go to the competition if it exists in your location. This almost always works. Or you can just drop your internet access altogether for a month. Then sign up for introductory first-year pricing again from the same internet provider. This is allowed by some companies. They know some people are poorer than others, and want as much money as possible without losing customers.
Don't sign up for cable TV at all. I hardly miss it at all. I am happy with Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, etc.. I sign out of Netflix, HBO Now, and Hulu for many months at a time when I lose interest, or when they need to restock what they are showing. I sign up again when I again have the desire to watch video other than the free stuff such as on Youtube. I have Amazon Prime all the time since I do a lot of buying on Amazon. I sometimes have to wait for it to restock also.
Whether you are a poor activist or not, the money saved can be used for more activism:
Ooma. See Ooma Telo on Amazon (pronounced like "Jell-O"). Unlimited free calling nationwide. Ooma will port over your phone number if you want. For the basic service it costs around $4 a month for state taxes. No other fees. Premier service is $10 a month. Many people are quite happy with the basic service. Ooma is highly rated, and almost plug and play. 911 works with it too. The phones plug into the Ooma box. Or if your residence is wired for telephones, plug the Ooma into any telephone jack. That assumes you have already disconnected the wiring from your previous phone service. If you don't want to use that wiring for Ooma you can plug in a cordless phone system into the Ooma box with as many cordless handsets as you want spread around the residence.
This is a good use for old smart phones, or smart phones without a cell plan. GPS works without a cell plan. So if your car breaks down you can find your location, and call a towing company from a simple phone, a passerby's phone, etc.. If you have a Visa credit card for example, they have a number for calling them to put you in contact with pre-approved towing companies that agree to certain price limitations.
Use home WiFi or other WiFi to install an offline Google map of your metropolitan area and beyond. It only uses around 90MB for a huge area. Pinch the screen to change the area before downloading it. You will need a Google Account to download the offline map. But once downloaded it works without any cell connection at all.
People use their cell phones for camping and trail finding because of this ability to work in the most remote areas without cell coverage.
Use a secondary Google Account on old Android phones. For example; to download offline maps. Many people have multiple Google Accounts. Google has no problem with this.
Android phones do not get security updates 3 years beyond the model's launch date. Even on Android One phones. So don't use a Google Account (and its Gmail) for both your banking needs, and your old cell phones.
Otherwise your phone may get compromised, and hackers may get access to your gmail. They can then acquire your banking passwords via password resets sent to your gmail.
Frequent security updates are important for banking, and to protect your passwords. It seems that Android phones only get around 3 years of security updates after their launch date. Iphones lately are getting at least 4 years. Even 5+ years at times.
Be sure to read reviews on sites such as Amazon before buying. And nail down the model number and frequency bands. Some frequencies are missing depending on the model number and the countries where the phone was mainly intended to be used.
Wikipedia: Android One. See section on OS (operating system) and security updates. Google only supports OS and security updates for a limited time. Android One phones have more frequent security updates.
Apple's iOS 11 update ends support for iPhone 5 and 5C. June 2017 article by BBC. "It means those with the older devices will no longer receive software or security updates. ... The news is the result of Apple's decision to end support for devices and apps using 32-bit processors. Apps that only run in 32-bit will not show up in search results in the new version of the App Store, or be available from the Purchased tab if they have been downloaded previously."
Security risks. Banking, passwords, data, full remote access.
Be sure to check various customer review services before buying a used cell phone. It may not be much help though, since there are many scam customer reviews according to the first article linked below. Read the bad reviews first to learn how to avoid some mistakes.
Neither of the following customer review compilations for Amazon are specific to used cell phones. And Trustpilot is probably relatively rarely used for Amazon except by very angry people since individual Amazon products have reviews.
Cell phones do not need a SIM or an active service plan to dial 911. Keep an old cell phone charging and lying around for 911 access if necessary. And they work if the power goes down unlike an internet phone. You can call out to 911, but since there is no phone number attached to the phone, no one can call in to the phone. So if you get cut off from 911, call 911 back.
Keep one in your car too, along with a cheap $5-$15 car charger. The cell phone will usually work for emergency calls even while it is charging. So don't plug it into the car charger until necessary for 911 access, in order to avoid car battery problems.
You may have forgotten how to start up the old cell phone. Plug the cell phone into the charger. Then (on some phones) hold down the red key on cell phones with mechanical buttons. The phone will eventually start up and say something like "emergency calls only".
Reviews of Freedompop.com. Many very bad user reviews. From Sitejabber. See Wikipedia: Sitejabber. It seems a big problem is with signing up for the free preview of the paid service, and the difficulty of meeting the tricky deadlines to convert it to the free service. And the free service requires a nonrefundable $20 for the topup account. And once they have your credit card number, many people report being scammed, and charged fraudulently. This is true also for some people using Paypal to pay them.
How to Disable Automatic Top-up. "You will incur a Top Up charge of $20.00 when you have used all of the data included in your data plan. This puts $20 in credit on your account, to be used towards data that exceeds your limit. Credit can be used to cover data usage that goes beyond your data plan limit, but it cannot be used towards your monthly plan charge, or any service charges."
sending and receiving texts will eat up your data. ...
Once you get to the final 100 MB of data usage in a given month, FreedomPop automatically charges you $10 [$20] to “top up” your plan. Users do receive an email notifying them of the imminent automatic charge, giving them the opportunity to opt out of it before the charge hits their account. You can also opt out of the auto-charge entirely on the FreedomPop website: Set Billing > Billing Settings > Automatic Top Up > Enabled to No.
It’s also important to note that this service is free for one year. After that you will typically pay $10.99 per month for the same service, but still without a commitment or contract. ...
You can pay $0.02 per additional MB of data that you use. This option is potentially pricey, as you will automatically be charged this amount if you go over your data usage once you have turned off the top-up option. You can receive email alerts that you are about to overspend your data, but those alerts cost an additional fee per month.
Tello and Twigby have very cheap cell phone plans. They work with both Android phones and iPhones. They both have unlimited 2G data, after you've used your high-speed LTE data. 2G is exceedingly slow. Like old dialup speeds.
They both have free tethering using their high-speed data only. But if you have household internet access then you don't need the tethering at home since all your devices can use WiFi. Including your cell phones. Without using any cellular data.
They both use Sprint. Twigby also roams for free to Verizon when out of Sprint areas. That may be why Twigby costs a little more than Tello. See the customizable plans they offer:
Do my phone plan minutes/data roll over from one month to another?
Any unused minutes or data will be lost after 30 days, when your prepaid plan is automatically renewed. However, they roll over ONLY if you manually renew or change your plan before the end of your current billing cycle and ONLY if the new plan contains the services that you previously had.
For example, the minutes & data of your current plan will roll over if the new plan has minutes & data. However, if you decide to buy data only, the minutes will not roll over.
What happens to my plan balance if I change my phone plan?
If you decide to change your phone plan (downgrade or upgrade) any unused minutes or data from your previous plan will roll over for the next 30 days. If you decide you no longer need one product (calls or data) and your new configured cell plan no longer includes that product, then the end date for that precise product will remain the original one and the balance won't roll over to the next month.
Here are actual Tello costs as of December 2019. I got these prices by going through the whole signup process, but didn't click the final OK. That is how I got the bottom-line total prices for each option. All plans come with unlimited texts. There are more options as minutes are added, and more data is added.
Custom Plan $5 for 100 minutes. Taxes and Surcharges $1.78. Total $6.78.
Custom Plan $6 for 300 minutes. Taxes and Surcharges $1.94. Total $7.94.
Plus 500MB high-speed data. Unlimited 2G (slow-speed data) after that runs out.
Custom Plan $6. ($5 for 100 minutes. $1 more for 500MB). Taxes and Surcharges $1.13. Total $7.13.
Custom Plan $7. ($6 for 300 minutes. $1 more for 500MB). Taxes and Surcharges $1.15. Total $8.15.
Android Authority. Great search engine for cheap cell plans. Scroll down past the ads to get to the actual results showing cheap cell plans. The ads can be hidden. The search parameters can be changed.
Even if your phone will work with a particular carrier it doesn't necessarily mean you have an adequate signal where you live. You have to figure out what networks cover your home well enough. Ask your neighbors. Try free trials. Only get one month plans at first.
Starter kit with 2 SIMs. To see which network works the best. $3.99 or free if coupon code pops up. From this review article: "the Starter Kit you're sent includes two separate SIM cards — one for its GSM LTE Network (T-Mobile) and the Super LTE Network (Verizon). Since T-Mobile and Verizon each have their own SIM, this means you can't just hop back and forth between the two the way you can with something like Google Fi."
Top Ups. They roll over once to the next billing cycle. Top Ups can be done from anywhere. Via 611 or 1-888-878-1488 or text: 44352. See: How it works (scroll down).
Pay As You Go Cell Phone Plans - BestMVNO. Choose network to narrow results. There are several cards that cost $10 and last 90 days. That comes to $3.33 a month. Compare cost-per-minute rates. Read comments to learn of actual experiences and problems. For example:
Pix Wireless PG Starter. Has some cards that last 365 days. But there is a big problem. A comment says "You have to pay an additional $3.99 per month to keep your line active on all pay go plans , that is not a good deal."
Tello is no longer doing this. Even though (as of this writing) the FAQ info remains. They expired my telephone number, and took my PAYG balance of $8. I was warned by email, and told to make a monthly order, or lose my number. I tried contacting them ahead of the expiration date several times via email, phone, and contact form. But there was no reply until after the number was expired. Their reply did not address the FAQ info. Bottom line is that your number is expired after a certain amount of time without monthly service.
Tello has made this more expensive. A phone call or text every 3 months was all that was needed in the past to keep one's PAYG balance from expiring. In reply to an inquiry about PAYG a Tello rep said this:
"Please be advised that our new policy is applied for all of our customers either new or existing and it's taken effect since September this year . Also, please note that now you will need to have an order in the last 3 months instead of having an activity on the account."
That comes to around $15 to $20 a year depending on timing and taxes.
If you only use your cell phone irregularly for cellular calls, cellular texts, and cellular data, then the Tello pay-as-you-go plan is relatively cheap. Use your balance for US calls, texts and data, as well as for international calls & texts.
Good for an emergency car phone. At home you can use WiFi for free. Carry it with you when you are out and about. Great for calling a towing service if your car breaks down. And if it is a smart phone you can pinpoint where you are via Google Maps or map apps. Without using data if you previously downloaded offline Google Maps, etc.. See section higher up on offline Google Maps.
If you want the cheapest data, you can buy some instantly from the phone at Tello.com. After that is used up you get unlimited 2G data. Or you can buy more high-speed 4G data instantly from the phone. So Google Maps is covered by PAYG, 2G, or 4G. At relatively low cost:
https://tello.com/buy/custom_plans - Click on "no minutes" and then choose data amount.
That way you are still using PAYG for calls and text.
What happens if I have no active plan or Pay As You Go balance?
In this case you won’t be able to receive calls or texts. To avoid this situation you can activate Auto Recharge, a feature that will never allow your Pay As You Go balance to drop below $2. If you have any questions or you need more details please contact our Customer Support team.
The minimum recharge amount is now $20, and it also lasts almost forever if the phone is rarely used via the cellular network.
You can use the phone for free via WiFi at home and elsewhere. For apps, web browsing, etc.. You can load some offline Google Maps via WiFi. See section higher up on offline Google Maps.
There is no charge for calls you do not answer. There is a charge for texts whether you respond to them or not. You can disable or enable texts at Tello.com. You can do this yourself without contacting customer service. The change is made in seconds or minutes.
There is a charge for voice mails received whether or not you listen to them. You can disable voicemail. Then callers will only hear the phone ringing. It will never go to voicemail. Voicemail can be disabled or enabled by dialing 611 on your phone to get to customer service.
You can play more than one video at the same time. Mash it up. Move the timing sliders around. Vary the volume levels. :) ~~
You may need to click the arrow twice in the middle of any video window to start that video. Or go to the source page for the video. The video is usually larger there. Sometimes there are higher definition options (360, 480, 720), and the higher resolution versions usually produce better sound quality too.
Start the video, and click the "HQ" button right away at the bottom of the video for higher quality video, and especially sound. The words are clearer, too. Drag the cursor back some, or reload the source page if problems with the HQ button.
Bigger headphones help too. The extra bass volume and dynamic range. Often, bigger headphones produce a louder sound from the same input level. Part of the reason may be that less sound escapes from full-cup headphones that completely surround the ear.
Your PC sound card, or integrated audio chip, usually has additional volume and equalization controls that can increase the volume. Plugging your headphones into the jack on most amplified speakers that come with most PCs nowadays can increase the sound volume too. Versus the sound volume from plugging headphones directly into the PC. Plugging an equalizer between the PC and the headphones can help too. Of course, plugging the PC sound output into a tuner-amp gives the most options.
Getting a set of small, inexpensive (under $10 to $20) amplified speakers is cheaper, and they produce a lot less heat than most tuner-amps. Get 2 sets of amplified speakers. Plug the headphones into one as an inexpensive, low-wattage, low-heat amplifier. Use the other set of amplified speakers when room sound is needed. Put your PC sound output through a cheap audio switcher (less than $10). Switch between room sound and headphone sound.
Morpheus: "It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth." Neo: "What truth?" Morpheus: "That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Born into a prison that you can not smell or taste or touch. A prison - for your mind. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends. You wake up in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember! All I am offering is the truth. Nothing more." -- From the 1999 movie, The Matrix.
The Vietnam War (2017 series). On Netflix: . Written by Geoffrey C. Ward and directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. A great series that cost $30 million. First episode explores and interweaves the long history of the French, Japanese, British, and American occupations.
Return to top. A few I have liked, learned from, been intrigued by, etc..
Some of the movies need the fast forward button through some sections. Or drag the timeline button forward. Some of the links below may no longer be applicable. Search for titles and actors on JustWatch. Youtube movies (free with ads) are not included in results. See Youtube Movies and Shows. Then click the "View all" link in the "Free to watch" section. I don't see any ads when watching via Firefox browser and its addons. Not sure which addons are resposible.
Dune (1984). Here is a good version (137 minutes) on Amazon Prime. See also clips, and sometimes some full versions of various resolutions and lengths, on Youtube. See: Dune (1984) - Alternate Versions - IMDb. To be truly appreciated Dune (1984) must be seen in high def of at least 1080p on at least a 40 inch screen closer than 5 feet away. It helps if you have seen other versions, and already understand the plot and players. If only David Lynch had been allowed to film a 2 or 3-movie version as with Frank Herbert's Dune, the 2000 television miniseries.