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Timeshifter

Bureaucrat Admin
  • I am just another guy with a PC.

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Teddies in Space
Dance of Death by Michael Wolgemut (1493)

"Throw your hands in the air like you just don't care." (modern phrase). Image from a 1493 book. Image info.

Table of contents

See my Google+ music page (where most music videos are embedded lately). See another user page. And: more music picks. See: YouTube channel (Liked, Favorites, and Playlist). See: Loved tracks on old Last.fm page.

  • 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.

Articles by Timeshifter

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Share link: Timeshifter. See articles written by Timeshifter.
Some of the info in the articles, and in the user page below may be out of date.

Currently visiting Earth

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Currently visiting Earth. sɹnoʎ ǝɹɐ splɹoʍ ǝsǝɥʇ llɐ [1][2]

  • "I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream." - Vincent van Gogh. Wikiquotes.
Westworld maze

The Westworld maze.

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.
Inception Cafe Scene03:01

Inception Cafe Scene

Baked, not fried. I am a volunteer sysop-admin at the Cannabis Wiki. Just another guy with a PC. Have PC, will travel.
See:

Some useful Facebook pages:

Robots of Brixton get baked at 1 minute 43 seconds in. Check out the hookah. Youtube link.

Worthy causes to donate money to

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See also Timeshifter's Main Page, and the section titled something like "Worthy groups millionaires and others can donate to".

Music videos

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Hupao

Dreaming of the Tiger Spring.

Go here and here for more music and videos.

Anti-virus and anti-malware software

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  • Windows Defender (WD) is all that's needed in Windows 8 and 10. 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). WD 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 Windows Defender may find malware placed in a hidden recycle folder by Malwarebytes. Windows 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):
See also:
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?
Windows Defender may still get stuck due to other problems. If so, use another antivirus program. When the other antivirus is installed, Windows 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 Windows Defender via its control panel (start menu, settings, update and security, Windows Defender, 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 Windows 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.
  • Malwarebytes | Free Anti-Malware & Internet Security Software. See the various downloads. Sometimes Windows Defender gets stuck during cleanup, and is unable to remove all the malware it finds. In that case try Malwarebytes. Disable Windows Defender before installing Malwarebytes (see the previous paragraphs). 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. 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. Just don't launch it before you disable Windows Defender. See info on debilitating sluggishness higher up in the Windows Defender section. The program itself can be updated even after the trial is over. And the definitions can be updated too. Use the custom scan options for choosing specific drives, folders, or files to scan. "Threat scan" takes around 5 minutes. Custom scan of the C drive with all options checked can take around an hour. Custom scan is highly recommended. Choose to only be warned about some items such as P.U.P. (potentially unwanted programs). "Warn user about detections". Use the drop-down menu in custom scan. That way you can choose at the end which ones to remove. Make sure the computer can not go to sleep, or the scan may be paused. Go to the power control panel and turn off sleep temporarily. 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.

Keep PC awake

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Caffeine. Keep PC awake

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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. Keep PC locked, awake, on task

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"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.

Shortcut to lock PC

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Add a "Lock PC" shortcut to the desktop, and drag it to the taskbar too. That way you can quickly launch "Don't sleep, and then lock the PC. See:

Rundll32.exe User32.dll,LockWorkStation

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.

Sleep mode for PCs

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Various sleep modes

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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. Put a sleep shortcut on your desktop, and also in the quick launch area of your taskbar. Click either one and walk away. Or 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 only allow the power button to wake up.

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.

Start menu power button:

  • Windows 7 (not sure about other versions): Right-click the start menu button. Click properties. Start menu tab. Power button action. Sleep. OK.

Power button on PC or laptop:

  • Windows: Control panel for power options. Change plan settings. Advanced power settings. Power button action: Sleep. Some Windows versions have this entry point: "Choose what the power button does" in the power options control panel. And then "Power button settings".

Hybrid sleep

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Hybrid sleep keeps your RAM active, and also writes the contents of RAM to the hard drive or SSD. Time to go to hybrid sleep can vary depending on the computer and version of Windows. 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 disable hybrid sleep, and use regular sleep instead. 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.

To disable hybrid sleep:

  • Windows: Control panel for power options. In sleep settings turn hybrid sleep off. Depending on the computer sleep can occur in 5-8 seconds instead of 20-25 seconds.

Difficulty waking or sleeping

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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:

Open Device Manager and go into mouse and keyboard properties:

  • 1. Uncheck "allow the computer to turn off this device to save power".
  • 2. Check "allow this device to wake the computer".

Put the computer to sleep and try waking it up by using the keyboard and mouse. If that does not work, then go through and also do the same thing with every entry in the "Human Interface Devices" section of device manager. Test waking up again. This may fix the problem.

Also, try disabling "USB Selective Suspend" in USB settings in Power Options control panel. See this article and its comments:

Do it also in device manager for all devices listed under "Universal Serial Bus Controllers". Right-click the device and go to properties, and then the power management tab. Uncheck "allow the computer to turn off this device to save power". This option shows up mainly for devices with "hub" in their name.

Sleep timer not working

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In some computers the mouse can prevent the sleep timer from working. The PC will not go to sleep after the specified number of minutes has passed with the computer idle. In device manager for the mouse try unchecking "allow this device to wake the computer". This sometimes allows the computer to go to sleep on its own.

Sleep shortcut on quick launch and desktop

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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 and if they don't go to true sleep with the fans off, or if they go to hibernation instead, then you will 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. Browse to C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll - Or see linked articles below. More icons: Where to find most of Windows 10's native icons.

The above shortcut may not work on laptops. Unless hibernation is turned off, all it may do is to turn off the laptop completely. It may not be a good idea to turn off hibernation on a leptop. Otherwise even sleep may drain the battery completely over time. Hibernation uses no power. So laptops 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.

Disable hibernation for sleep to work

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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 activates hibernation instead of sleep. 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).
  • To reenable: powercfg -hibernate on

In Windows 10 a fast way to the command prompt is by searching for "command". Then right click it to run as administrator. See: 10 Ways to Open the Command Prompt in Windows 10

More info:

If needed, change from S1 to S3 in BIOS

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  • 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."

Stop mouse or keyboard from waking PC

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  • 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 keyboard to wake the PC in any circumstance, then use an adapter, and uncheck the box.

Mouse, etc. may be stopping timer sleep

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Sleep mode without fans on may work via the power button or a sleep shortcut. But sometimes the PC will not go to sleep via the sleep timer in the power options control panel.

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..

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 couple minutes. If it does, you can check "allow this device to wake the computer" for one device, restart the PC, and wait a couple 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).

The problem is often the USB mouse.

See forum:: Has anyone else noticed that their computer no longer goes to sleep automatically after updating to Windows 10?

In some old PCs sleep does not work

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With some old computers nothing works for getting them to enter sleep mode with the fans off.

Icon for desktop shortcut and quick launch

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Right-click the shortcut, and then "properties", and then "change icon". Browse to here to choose an icon:

  • C:\Windows\System32\shell32.dll

For more info:

Sleep mode and Away mode

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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.

Require password when waking

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Lock and sleep mode with one shortcut

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This is unnecessary if you are able to set the PC to require a password upon waking. So the sleep shortcut is enough in that case.

This works in Vista, and maybe in Windows 7:

@echo off
cd "C:\Windows\System32"
start rundll32.exe User32.dll,LockWorkStation

cd "C:\Windows\System32"
start rundll32.exe Powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState Sleep

exit

Save the above in Notepad as a text file. Name it something like Lock-sleep.txt and then change the ending to .bat instead of .txt

  • Lock-sleep.bat

Double-click it to first lock your PC, and then put it to sleep.

Save this file anywhere. Right-click it and send it to your desktop as a shortcut. Drag it from your desktop to your quick launch bar.

For more info:

Windows 10. Wakes up for updates

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The PC will sometimes wake up on its own in order to finish an update, or restart after an update. See: Start menu, settings, update and security, Windows Update. Change the active hours as necessary.

Shared PC. No login or lock screens

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Windows 7, 8, and 10:

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.

Windows 10:

This article is clearer than the info below.

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.

More info:

Rejuvenating old PCs

Linux Mint

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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.

Windows 7 can be found cheap

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Wikipedia: Windows 7 editions.

Go to ebay.com and search for the Windows version you want. For example; search for "Windows 7 Pro key" or "Windows 7 Ultimate key". Scroll down several pages as needed. Working product keys can be purchased for under $10. Even under $5. Check the rating of the seller, and only buy from sellers with ratings above 99.5%. Know the difference between a product key and an installer disk. Windows can be installed for free, but without an activated product key it will not be updated after a period of time. It may be 30 days. Not sure. You can also buy an installer DVD or USB flash drive installer for under $10 from Ebay. Get an installer that has all versions of Windows 7. That way you can try the 64-bit version out. If your PC can not handle it, then install 32-bit Windows 7. Use the same product key since it is the same PC, and the product keys are usually for both 32 and 64 bit versions.

It is not necessary to buy an installer disk or flash stick. You can create one yourself. Download Windows 7 from a DigitalRiver mirror site such as this one:

That site has the same files and checksums as the original site. Download the file. You can use this easy torrent addon for Firefox:

After downloading verify the file integrity by comparing its actual checksum with the checksum on the site list. Use a free utility such as this one:

Create an installer DVD, or USB flash stick installer:

Google Toolbar and site search

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  • 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.

Software and sites of interest

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  • 7-Zip. Free zip program that works with many formats including RAR files. Combine RAR files.
  • Block IntelliTXT inline popup ads. Bing, etc.. Enter relevant domains and subdomains into the hosts file. See explanation and URLs to add. Copy from this plain-text list starting with # [Vibrant Media] until the next pound # symbol.
  • 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. 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:
  • 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 - CNET Download.com. It is a safe program. To verify this scan it with Windows Defender, etc. before installing it. See also: - GitHub - randyrants/sharpkeys and its download page. "SharpKeys is a utility that manages a Registry key that allows Windows to remap one key to any other key". See: SharpKeys | randyrants.com. "Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, or Windows 7." I can verify that it is working in Windows 10 too. 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 also 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 [6]. 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.
  • Driver Booster Free. It analyzes your PC for out-of-date drivers -- and updates them with a click. Its default setting is to only use WHQL-certified drivers.
  • Driver Easy. [7]. Free version can only do one driver at a time. But it sometimes finds drivers that Driver Booster does not find. They may not be WHQL-certified drivers though. Read the fine print before installing a driver. Its compatibility with your operating system may be questionable. See help. And: Install Drivers.
  • Email Extractor. Good for extracting all the email addresses from detailed city lists.
  • Firefox browser. It has a built-in spellchecker.
  • gBurner Virtual Drive. Free utility designed for creating and managing virtual CD / DVD drives. Easily access your favorite games, music, or software programs.
  • Graboid Video. Graboid Video grabs video online from a variety of intermediary sites.
  • ImgBurn. Free, popular, CD-DVD-Blu-ray burner. For burning an ISO file to a disk for example. See How to Format in ImgBurn | eHow. See Wikipedia: ImgBurn. See other free popular burners. Windows 7, 8, and 10 have the built-in Windows Disc Image Burner.
  • Keep Display On. For watching videos. Prevents the display from going into screensaver mode. Click on, click off.
  • KompoZer. WYSIWYG web page editor. Use the latest beta version. Don't install the English language pack. It comes with the program.
  • 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.
  • Media players. At CNET. For example; VLC is regularly among the top 5 free media players (by downloads in the last week). See its listing there, and above and below here.
  • NoteTab Light. Freeware text editor useful for alphabetizing city lists, counting the cities, and removing bracketed info.
  • Partition Master Free Edition (Easeus). [8]. Format, partition, repartition drives. Merge or extend partitions. Change the partition type. Much more.
  • 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: free bootable edition [9]. Useful for fixing problems.
  • Remove Duplicate Lines. Good for removing duplicate email addresses, etc..
  • SlimDrivers Free. Finds drivers that Windows Update may not provide. It then provides one-click installation for each of those drivers.
  • Speccy. See Wikipedia: Speccy. See: Speccy - CNET Download.com. "Fast, lightweight, advanced system information tool for your PC." Hardware and software info. Including operating system info. "Serial Number" (in the operating system section) is the product key for Windows. Write it down, 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 will fix the PC. Installer disks (without a product key) for any version of Windows can be bought for under $10 on Ebay. Only buy from people with 99% or better ratings. So that the installers are legitimate, and without malware.
  • 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).
  • VLC Media Player. A top 5 player at Cnet. More info: PCWorld. Wikipedia page.
  • Web Photo Gallery Creation and Automation Tools. Many freeware tools listed too.
  • 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..
  • Windows startup programs. What are they? Are they required? How can I disable them? A long list of startup items. Download the free "full-list zip" file.
  • Wisgary.com - Wordcount calculator. Paste in text online. Counts words, lines, characters.
  • Wordpress.com - Popular, free blog hosting with minimal ads. It is not just a blog. It allows pages, too, with blogs as a sub-page.
  • ZoneAlarm Free Firewall. Controls both inbound and outbound traffic. Or use Windows Firewall. Use with above list of startup items to take back control of your computer.

Firefox options, addons, search, home pages

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Automatic login to some sites

It is good when one can edit a site immediately upon going to the site. For example; Wikia, Wikipedia, Commons, etc.. Normally the 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. Fortunately, Firefox usually remembers the usernames and passwords. 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 causing the problem. The problem may come and go.

Cookies

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Here is a recommended set of Firefox cookie settings:

  • Tools, options, privacy tab, history section:
  • Use custom settings for history.
  • Accept cookies from site. And: "Keep until I close Firefox." It only deletes regular cookies on closing. It does not delete Flash cookies (LSOs). See section below on Flash cookies.
    • Exceptions: Add domains of cookies to allow permanently. So you do not have to login again on some sites, and/or to keep site preferences. Any domain added here also immediately shows up in the whitelist of the "Self-Destructing Cookies" addon.
      • You can click "show cookies" at anytime to see what cookies are currently set.
    • Third-party cookies. Notorious for tracking across multiple sites. If they must be allowed then have them automatically deleted when the tab is closed by using the "Self-Destructing Cookies" addon (see farther down).

Clear history when Firefox closes

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  • Settings:
    • Uncheck: cookies. Otherwise even the "exceptions" cookies are deleted. Let the "Self-Destructing Cookies" addon (see below) handle most cookie deletion. See also this thread.
    • Uncheck: active logins. Or you will have to log in again on some sites.
    • Uncheck: site preferences. This is also where the "Self-Destructing Cookies" addon keeps its whitelist.
    • 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.

  • Cookie exceptions:
    • 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.

Clear all history to fix problems

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Sometimes you may need to clear all Firefox history (all boxes checked) to fix some problems. See:

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 tab, show cookies, remove all) does not get rid of all the cookies deleted by "Clear all history" from the history menu. Such as LSOs (Flash cookies).

So "Clear all history" now and then. Put a checkmark in all the boxes.

Flash cookies are Local Shared Objects

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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".

The "Flash Player" control panel only exists if Flash is installed. To see if Flash is installed go here.

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)."

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, and via the BetterPrivacy addon. See that section on this page. It is not necessary to install the BetterPrivacy addon if you block all Flash cookies.

In the Flash control panel you can delete all Flash cookies and settings. See the advanced tab.

Zombie cookies, respawning

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There are many invasive cookies, and persistent trackers. See: local shared object, zombie cookie, evercookie, device fingerprint, Panopticlick, and Firefox tracking options. See: Amid NSA Outrage, Big Tech Companies Plan to Track You Even More Aggressively by Ryan Tate, 11 Oct 2013, in Wired. See persistent tracking – Ashkan Soltani.

Google's persistent tracking

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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.

Multiple Google accounts

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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.

If you just close some of the tabs then the Self-Destructing Cookies addon will usually remove all cookies associated with those tabs. But the password manager will keep filling in passwords and user IDs when the relevant sign-in page is opened. So others can still use your passwords. The passwords are visible in Firefox options too, since the password manager has not been closed.

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. This prevents Google from doing yet more data consolidation on you. Not sure though if the following method prevents Google from doing this connecting of multiple Google accounts.

To not use Google's "another account" links, close all Google-related browser tabs. No need to sign out first. Just closing the relevant tabs sometimes removes all the Google cookies if you are using the Self-Destructing Cookies addon. This addon works in Firefox. I don't know about other browsers. It deletes the cookies for a tab as soon as you close the tab. The timing is set in the addon options. 1 second is good.

If this method has not succeeded in removing the Google cookies, then you will have to 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.

Search tools

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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.

Recommended Firefox search addons

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Firefox addons:

  • 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.

The first 2 search addons below are enough in most cases.

  • Context Search. 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. 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 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. 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-on-page addons

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  • 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.

Plain Firefox home page with search

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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:

  • YesScript. It is a JavaScript blacklist that is activated by an on-off icon. Click it off for the Google home page, and that setting and site is remembered. You can click it on later if desired. Unfortunately, it is set for the whole site, and not just a particular page. The icon can be dragged to any toolbar at the top or bottom of Firefox: View menu, toolbars, customize.

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.

Other options:

Custom toolbar buttons

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Ended up not using these addons:

  • Toolbar Buttons.
  • 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".

New tab button location

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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. 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.

It is not intuitive to get it to remain just right of the rightmost tab. In the customize window drag it to the right side of the tab bar. But to the left of the other stuff there. Once you exit the customize window it will snap to just right of the rightmost tab.

Close last tab without closing window

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Instead of this using addon go to about:config and then to browser.tabs.closeWindowWithLastTab - Change it to "false".

  • Last Tab Close Button. Allows last tab in Firefox to be closed without closing the browser window. Leaves a new tab in place of it. Also shows the "Close" button (the X) on the last tab if one is not there already.

Translation addons

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Translate This! is all I really need since it does both full-page and partial-page translation.

  • Translation addons. Search shortcut to see list of Firefox translation addons. You can click on "most users" to find the most popular translation addons. But that will not necessarily indicate the best ones currently.
  • Translate This! By default, the translation is in a new tab. This is great. It can be changed to the same tab in options. Right-click page, or selected text, to translate. Translation link shows up in the context menu when text has been selected for translation. Right-click a link to translate the linked page. After installing the addon you will have to restart Firefox to get the translate icon to work. It only translates the whole page. Can place the icon in any toolbar. To do so right-click a toolbar and click "customize". Then drag the icon from current location to new location. It is not necessary to place the icon on a toolbar. You can use the context menu instead. Right-clicking a page, link, or selected text works fine. This addon uses Google translation.
  • Translate Now. 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. This addon does not do full page translations. So I may also install Translate This! I sometimes like having both these 2 translation addons installed since sometimes one will stop working right.

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.

Safe troubleshooting

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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.

Fix tab jumping problem in Firefox

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This is no longer a problem for me. I returned the mms.cfg file to its default state. For other Flash problems see:

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.

From the Ghacks article (emphasis added):

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.

See also:

Lists of Firefox privacy and security settings

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Power your modem off and on monthly

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Your Browser Extensions Are Spying On You

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More Firefox addons

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Firefox addons:
  • 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.
  • Firebug. View, edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.
  • Fluschipranie. Facebook album saver.
  • Google Redirects Fixer & Tracking Remover. Shows actual URLs in search results. And when you right-click and copy a result link you get the actual URL. For Google, Google News, etc..
  • 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.

Alphabetizing bookmarks

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It is a good thing if you found a browser or browser addon that alphabetizes all your bookmarks at once. In all folders and subfolders.

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 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.

The Firefox SortPlaces addon below no longer works.

  • SortPlaces. Firefox addon for quick, one-click, alphabetization of all bookmarks at once in all folders and subfolders. Can still be found here. There is a modified version linked from the page that works with Firefox 22+. Click the latest version to install it. You can also download the .xpi file to safeguard it. Click "addons" from the Firefox tools menu. Then click the gear wheel to get its dropdown menu. Then click "install add-on from file". Browse to the .xpi file on your PC. Install. You may need to disable signature checks. To disable signature checks, you will need to set the xpinstall.signatures.required preference to "false".
      • type about:config into the URL bar in Firefox.
      • in the Search box type xpinstall.signatures.required
      • double-click the preference, or right-click and selected "Toggle", to set it to false.
      • This workaround no longer works. More info here.

Firefox bookmark addons, options, tools

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  • You can bookmark a group of tabs by right-clicking a tab, and then clicking "bookmark all tabs". A popup will allow you to choose a folder name, and to place it wherever you want.

Firefox bookmark sidebar

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Firefox. Delete bookmark icons

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  • Delete Bookmark Icons. [11]. Favicons can really bloat up the size of your bookmark backups. This Firefox addon can delete all bookmark icons (favicons), or just one. Click "Show all bookmarks" from the Bookmarks menu. Then "Delete all site icons" from the "Organize" menu. It works almost instantly. Can uninstall addon after using it. In the addon's options uncheck "Hide the default favicons on the bookmarks toolbar." Otherwise it will be difficult to separate the bookmarks there.
To prevent new favicons go to about:config and change the three parameters below to the following values. More info here.
browser.chrome.favicons - False
browser.chrome.image_icons.max_size - 0
browser.chrome.site_icons - False
There is no setting that I know of that will turn off favicons in the bookmarks menu, but allow them in tab titles.

Export or restore Firefox bookmarks instantly

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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 is 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.

Export and import bookmarks from Internet Explorer

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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..

Bookmarks. Fix slow Firefox closing and restart

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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.

Clean up places.sqlite bookmarks

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The places.sqlite file contains bookmarks, history, favicons, and other details about the bookmarks. I am only interested in the bookmarks. And I am not interested in when they were created, how many times they were launched, etc.. All that just makes for easier corruption.

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. So to make things easier on my PC I turn off browsing history altogether.

I clear all history now and then since that does a deeper cleaning then just clearing history when the browser window closes. Go to the history menu, "clear recent history", and click "everything" in the "time range to clear" menu. Check all the boxes. Click "clear now". Saved passwords are kept.

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. The database is being created from an html file. In the first minute you will 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 will 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. 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. Not sure whether it saves history or not. See articles below for more info:

Show parent folder when searching bookmarks

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As of this writing it is not possible to search for folder names in Firefox. Many people have asked for this function. Even seeing the folder locations of bookmark search results is not possible.

As of this writing the following addons no longer exist.

  • Show Parent Folder. Adds a folder column to search results for bookmarks in the library. Go to the bookmarks library: Bookmarks menu > Show All Bookmarks > Views > Show Columns > Parent Folder. In the addon options check "show folder hierarchy". This is very helpful in showing bookmark placement in nested folders.

The following 2 addons are problematic if you have a lot of bookmarks. Test them to see. Otherwise they are very useful.

  • Go Parent Folder. This addon locks up the Firefox browser on my PC when I try to go to the parent folder from the context menu. I have to restart the browser in many cases in order to free it up.
  • Sidebar Bookmarks Search Plus. This also locks up the browser, but only for 5 to 15 seconds. Clicking on the leftmost side of a bookmark found in a sidebar search result list will show its folder location below in nested hierarchy form. It does nothing in the bookmarks library.

The above 3 addons are from one developer. They show the parent folders of the search results from searching bookmarks from the sidebar or the bookmarks library.

Firefox freezing, slowdowns, crashes

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Sometimes clicking the "continue" or "stop" buttons do not seem to help. The problem may be deeper than just the scripts on web pages. It may be a number of things.

Change the number to 0 in both. You will no longer get the warning messages.

Restart Firefox and keep tabs and logins

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  • Restart :: Add-ons for Firefox. 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.

Ad blockers help a lot

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  • uBlock vs. ABP: efficiency compared.
  • uBlock Origin. Need a uBlock Plus addon.
  • 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. Flashstopper may be all that is needed at times. When things get weird and sluggish, or many popup windows somehow start showing up, it can be very helpful. Or when your CPU usage gets too high in task manager. 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. To enable the task manager right click the bottom taskbar.

More RAM often helps

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The more RAM, the more tabs you can open without problems.

Turn off indexing

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Search works fine without indexing. And without indexing your computer will be less likely to be bogged down. And your SSD drive will last longer. Simplest method is to disable indexing completely in services. Then it doesn't even show up in task manager in the memory tab. That shows it is disabled, and not bogging down the PC at all.

"If you really don’t use Windows Search at all, you can disable indexing completely by turning off the Windows Search service. This will stop the indexing of all files. You’ll still have access to search, of course. It will just take longer since it has to search through your files every time."

  • Hit Start, type “services,” and then click the result. On the right-hand side of the “Services” window, find the “Windows Search” entry and double-click it. In the “Startup type” drop-down menu, select the “Disabled” option.

Optional further steps below to take. No need if you disable Windows Search as described above.

To disable indexing in Windows, right click on your SSD or hard drive and 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 going to still index everything on the drive! Click OK and you’ll have to sit and wait for a few minutes as the settings are applied to all the files on your computer. 3 or 4 minutes for each 30 GB on an SSD or a hard drive. Unfortunately, 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 updated for all files. 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 in your PC, and each external drive.

There is also an "indexing options" control panel. Uncheck everything there too (via the "modify" button).

Stop Firefox prefetching

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Stop Internet Explorer prefetching

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Go to the tools menu, internet options, advanced. Uncheck "Load sites and content in the background to optimize performance". More info:

Stop Google Toolbar prefetching

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Manage > Privacy > Uncheck prefetching.

Refresh Blocker

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  • Refresh Blocker. This Firefox addon stops many pages from auto-refreshing or auto-reloading all or parts of the page. Also need FlashStopper and an adblocker to stop page freezes, script problems, and other slowdowns. May also need to Uncheck “Show Tabs on Flash and Java” in Adblock Plus options. Or use uBlock Origin.

This addon is unnecessary if already using heavy artillery like uBlock Origin and Disconnect.

Completely uninstall Firefox before reinstallaion

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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.

For a complete uninstall and reinstall see this link:

  • Uninstall Firefox from your computer. The most important part for a thorough uninstall is the section called "Remove user data and settings". Delete both the Firefox and the Extensions folders.

It seems that even a complete uninstall and reinstall 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..

Problematic addons

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See:

2 things from the above-linked pages that seem to help me:

  • Uncheck “Show Tabs on Flash and Java” in Adblock Plus options. It is unnecessary anyway since I use FlashStopper.
  • 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.

Tracking addons

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  • 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). See also the section Allow embedded Twitter videos and images to work.
  • Self-Destructing Cookies. 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.

Disable geolocation

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This will stop those annoying location requests.

Internet Explorer

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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.

   HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Geolocation

The value of BlockAllWebsites as 1, will mean Do not allow, whereas 0 would mean Allow websites to request your location.

This will block all websites from using Microsoft Location Services to find your computer’s approximate physical location.

Firefox

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In the URL bar, type about:config
Type geo.enabled
Double click on the geo.enabled preference and toggle it to "false".

The above works by itself. Or you can do the below by itself. See the next section (Viewing embedded Twitter and Youtube) for a reason to prefer the above choice.

Mozilla Firefox Web Browser — Geolocation in Firefox — Mozilla.

Open Firefox. Click on settings or options. Press the Privacy tab. Here under Tracking, check the "Tell websites I do not want to be tracked" check-box. Or: "manage your Do Not Track settings".

Disable notification requests

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This will disable some or all of those annoying popup notification requests.

Firefox

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Tools menu > options > content > notifications > do not disturb me.

Unfortunately, in the increasing infinite stupidity and corporate corruption of Firefox bosses, that setting is not remembered when the browser windows are all closed. Here are a couple pages that describe an about:config setting that works:

The above change does a lot by itself. See also:

This thread linked just below says to also switch dom.webnotifications.enabled to false.

See also these threads in the Firefox support forum:

Viewing embedded Twitter and Youtube

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Various things can prevent this. Disable tracking protection on problem pages. Disable Disconnect addon on problem pages. Then if neither of those work, disable uBlock Origin addon on the problem page.

Tracking protection sometimes blocks the viewing of embedded Twitter images, posts, and videos. Turn tracking protection off in Firefox options: Firefox > Tools menu > Options > Privacy > Manage your do not track settings > "Always apply do not track". Uncheck this.

Let Disconnect and an ad blocker (uBlock Origin or Adblock Plus) handle tracking protection. Those addons are often essential to preventing page freezes, and slow page loads. Firefox tracking protection uses Disconnect info, and so if you have the Disconnect addon installed there is no need to use Firefox's less sophisticated tracking protection.

    • about:config - privacy.trackingprotection.enabled - Keep this set at false. Let Disconnect and uBlock Origin handle this.
    • services.sync.prefs.sync.privacy.trackingprotection.enabled - If set at true this sends the same Firefox protection setting to other devices that are synchronized.

More info:

The right kind of tracking protection is helpful:

If Twitter embeds are blocked on a page see if there is a clickable tracking protection shield on the left side of the address bar. Click it. Then click "Disable protection for this site." Reload page. This method often works even when Disconnect and an ad blocker are installed.

May need to disable Disconnect for the most problematic pages and sites. Click on the Disconnect icon (wherever you put it). Then click on "whitelist site". Reload the page.

After reloading the page the Twitter images should be viewable now. The Twitter videos and gifs should now play too. You may need to click them twice, waiting up to around 5 seconds between clicks. Or wait and right-click, and click "play" from the context menu. And then, right-click and "pause". See example pages linked below from Huffington Post with Twitter post embedding. Also with Huffington Post videos, and embedded Youtube videos.

If these steps are not enough, then there may be other addons or preferences causing the problem. 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 methods are not enough, then see the section on completely uninstalling and reinstalling Firefox.

Stop video autoplay

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Once you follow these instructions, Youtube is click to play. Huffington Post videos are click to play or right-click to play.

  • Flashblock [12]. It does not work consistently. Use FlashStopper:
  • FlashStopper. Make video players (flash & html5) show video thumbnail instead of autoplaying. After installing the addon (and setting the flash extension to "always activate" as described below) Youtube videos are click to play. You will not be asked to "allow now" or to "allow and remember". There will be a play button in the middle of the Youtube video window, and it is on top of a still image of the video.

Go to: about:config in the address bar.

Set plugins.click_to_play to "true".
Set media.autoplay.enabled to "false". More info on the FlashStopper page.

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".

Set the Flash plugin to "always activate". Doing this prevents an annoying dialog box from popping up at the top of the screen on pages with Flash videos. It says something like this:
"Allow this site to run Adobe Flash." Choices are: "Continue blocking" and "Allow".

That dialog box will no longer show up on pages with Flash videos. But many videos will autoplay until you install a video blocker addon. Use FlashStopper.

The same is true for many sites, at least on the main pages. Sometimes more is needed. FlashStopper has a proactive setting that is needed for some sites to not autoplay videos. To fix this in some instances (not all) go to: Tools menu > Add-ons. Click "extensions" in the sidebar. Click on FlashStopper options. It has explanatory info.

Once you understand what you are doing use the FlashStopper toolbar button to get there fast. Go to "proactive blocking". If you are on the page you will see the domain. If not, go there, and then try again. FlashStopper and websites evolve over time, and so the need changes.

To remember those settings uncheck "Sites Preferences" when clearing history in Firefox. Site preferences are stored in cookies. See:

Open a new Firefox browser window to test new settings. Go to the site in question. Reload the page, and see if videos are now click-to-play instead of autoplay.

To see current settings for the tab go to: tools menu > page info > permissions tab. Or go there fast by clicking the padlock in the address bar (if it is there). Or click "Manage sites permissions" after clicking the FlashStopper icon.

For more info see this page. It shows how to set permissions back to default for that domain. It also has info on removing the domain from the "Allow and Remember" settings for various plugins.

Allow Youtube playlist to continue playing

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This no longer seems necessary:

CLick the "Allow autoplay for Youtube.com" setting in FlashStopper if you want Youtube playlists to continue playing after you start them. To do so click the FlashStopper icon while on a Youtube page.

See above section for info on FlashStopper.

Choose between Flash and HTML5

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You might also want to install this addon:

  • YouTube Flash Video Player. Lets you choose Flash or HTML5 as default YouTube video player. Toolbar button allows changing to Flash player which can solve many problems.

It may no longer be necessary to install this addon. HTML5 videos on Youtube are playing better than before.

Video downloading

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Playing a downloaded video is advantageous in that one can loop it easily with a free popular media player such as VLC, and others. Let it loop in the background.

  • Easy Youtube Video Downloader Express. It is currently (as I write this) the only Firefox addon of the 3 below that works for me with Youtube with my set of addons. It can be enabled as needed (tools menu, add-ons, extensions). Reload the tab after enabling. The download menu will then show up below the video window. The addon will download up to 720p resolution videos (if available).

There are several Firefox addons for downloading videos from Youtube and many other sites. For example;

It may be better to disable all video downloader addons when not using them, if necessary to avoid browser problems. You can enable them when necessary to use them. Via: tools menu > addons > extensions. See the section on this page about problematic addons.

Downloading 1080p videos on Youtube requires a paid addon.

Image and text tools

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Image editing and resizing. IrfanView, etc.

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Many image editors can resize, resample, crop, and edit images. A popular, free, image editor is IrfanView. See the home page. See Cnet: 64 bit and 32 bit. Don't forget to install the free plugins pack. It installs almost instantly. See other image editors here: Image Editor - Free downloads and reviews - CNET Download.com

If you install IrfanView, you may need to uninstall the Photos app that comes with Windows. If you set IrfanView to be the default image editor and viewer for images, then sometimes the Photos app will try to take some of those default settings back. The only solution may be to uninstall the Photos app. This article explains 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. Right-click the PowerShell shortcut, and select “Run as administrator.” Copy and paste the following line into the PowerShell prompt:

Get-AppxPackage *photos* | Remove-AppxPackage

Click enter. Reset IrfanView to be the default viewer/editor for all images. Launch Irfanview. Options menu > properties/settings > extensions > images only.

Add text to images with IrfanView

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See the section titled something like "Add text to chart images" in this article:

Text sizing in Firefox

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Tools menu, options, content tab, fonts and colors. Adjust the default size there.

Minimum font size setting

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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.

Menu text sizing in Firefox

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  • 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..

Toggle animated GIFs

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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.

IrfanView and GIFs

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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.

Screenshots. Partial and scrolled down

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A good page for trying out the various functions of the addons 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. 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.

Text sizing and zooming in Firefox

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Various options in the following sections.

Zooming via view menu or zoom buttons

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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 section higher up).

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.

Best addons for default zoom level

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  • Default FullZoom Level. This addon will set a default zoom level for all pages. It also remembers custom zoom levels for sites. It works very well.

The following addons are no longer needed. The zoom buttons built into Firefox now are better, and are very easy to use. They can be dragged anywhere. Use the customize window of Firefox. Right-click the top toolbar in Firefox and then click "Customize".

  • No Small Text. "Set a minimum text size for all web content. Use the toolbar button to switch it on and off. ... Three preset sizes. NEW: Use mouse scroll on the toolbar button." The Default FullZoom Level addon is better.
  • Zoom Toolbar. No longer needed since it exists by default in the customize window of Firefox, and can be dragged anywhere. This addon can add zoom buttons to the toolbar of your choice. Especially like the reset button.
  • Page Zoom Button. Can zoom in and out via the scroll wheel. Or left and right clicking. This addon is easy to forget how to use. The zoom buttons built into Firefox now are better, and are very easy to use.

Ctrl-scroll to zoom a page

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Another option is to hold the ctrl key down, and then use the scroll wheel on your mouse to change the size of the text. Use the reset button in the zoom buttons to go back.

Fix image sizing problem

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This info may be old.

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.

Text size for desktop icons, Explorer menus, etc

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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.

See also: How to Change Desktop Icon Size in Windows 7 & Vista.

Not sure about the following info, especially after restarting your PC. In Windows 10 it remembers your choices of text sizes. This is great for experimenting with the different themes.

ClearType font smoothing can help a lot

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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.

Performance versus appearance

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  • System control panel. Advanced system settings. Advanced tab. Performance settings. Adjust for best performance.

This can also lessen the load on your PC:

  • Start menu > right-click any tile > more > turn live tile off.

Smooth font edges

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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.

Turn off Aero

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Aero can be a resource hog.

Note that selecting a non-Aero theme also may change some of the performance versus appearance settings in the previous section. You may want to go back there to reset any changed preferences.

Remove transparency in Windows 10

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Start menu, settings, personalization, colors, turn off transparency.

Turn off Delivery Optimization (Windows 10 peer-to-peer)

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Turn off Cortana features in Windows 10

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The methods described in the above articles may be the only way currently to set Cortana to do local searches only. The top article is easier if you have Windows 10 Pro.

Click the Cortana button on the taskbar. Then the settings button. In some older builds of Windows 10 web search can be turned off here. So Cortana only searches this PC.

You can also use DoNotSpy10 to turn off Cortana features.

Using the above methods still leaves the internal search form active via the Cortana icon on the taskbar.

Right click the taskbar to get the popup menu. Click on search in that menu. Choose whether to hide or show the Cortana search box on the taskbar. Or just the Cortana icon.

In any case you can also use the search form at the top right of all File Explorer windows.

Other privacy settings in Windows 10

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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.

Windows 10 privacy tools

Turn off OneDrive

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DoNotSpy10 can disable it. May also need to stop it from starting up at all.

One way is to right click the taskbar to get to task manager. Disable it in the startup tab. It can still be started from the start menu. But at your own choosing.

Stop Skype from starting up automatically

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Enter "msconfig" in Run. Then disable it in the startup tab by unchecking it.

Blocking remote access by nefarious entities. :)

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Go to system control panel. In the remote settings uncheck "Allow remote assistance connections to this computer". Also, "don't allow connections to this computer". Most people do not need these functions. If you do ever need it you can turn it on temporarily.

See also:

Using Google Public DNS fixes many problems

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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. See:

  • SearchReset. Firefox addon. Resets your search preferences and home page to their default values. Handy when cleaning up after browser hijackings.

Turn off network discovery if not needed

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Network and sharing center control panel. Change advanced sharing settings. Turn off network discovery if not sharing something. Such as a printer. Or some folders.

PC and cell phone mic/camera turned on remotely

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Chrome browser deletes bookmarks without permission

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This 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.

The Chrome browser deletes duplicate bookmarks as you add bookmarks. Test this by clicking the bookmark star at the end of the location bar. Save a bookmark in one folder. Then save it in another folder. Go back to the first folder. The bookmark is gone. People have complained. To no avail it seems. Have not found an addon to fix it.

Chrome browser addons and settings

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  • 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.

  • AdBlock Plus.
  • 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.

Disable taskbar preview thumbnails in Windows 10

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VoIP. Very cheap broadband phone service

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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.

Keep an old cell phone charging and lying around for 911 access if necessary. Cell phones do not need an active service plan to dial 911. And they work if the power goes down unlike an internet phone. Keep one in your car too, along with a cheap $10-$20 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 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".

JS and CSS customization

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Video and sound quality

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See: Category:Videos

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.

In rotation. Some video fun

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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.

Palm Pre CM (Traumatizing Edition)00:42

Palm Pre CM (Traumatizing Edition)



YouTube link. Palm Pre CM (Traumatizing Edition).

Chillin'

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Guanyin

Guanyin chillin' in China....

Some favorite television shows

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To find any of the movies, documentaries, and television shows:

Year for series is the beginning year.

Some favorite movies and documentaries

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Some useful links:

Movies and documentaries:

WWDD. What Would Dude Do

Some interesting talk radio on demand

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See here too. This info may be out of date:

Features of an ideal wiki farm

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See Category:Free MediaWiki wiki farms at WikiIndex.

This info may be old.

See: Site problems, and features of an ideal wiki farm.

To do

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Doing nothing

Categories

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