The big thread where we share ways to improve our PCs and browsing

It’d be awfully nice to have a thread where we share tricks, websites, programs and such that can improve our use of our PCs and our browsing.

I’ll start first by relaying a great program Crazyhorse brought to my attention which cuts down on tracker-related browsing slowdowns:

CCleaner, AdBlocker Plus and NoScript.

Recently, I upgrade several drivers on a friend’s computer. I browsed a bit to test them out. Then, I ran CCleaner. OMG, the amount of crap. I had more stuff from five sites than I did from 2 hours of browsing multiple sites with ABP and NoScript.

Thank you! I just installed all three, and have already seen a few differences.

(One site politely requests that I turn off adblock, because they get revenue from ads. I might feel a little guilty, except that none of their ads is attractive to me in the first place; I’m not their targeted demographic by a couple of country miles!)

Thanks for the pointers!

(Uh oh: something weird just happened. Since installing NoScript, “Ctrl-B” doesn’t insert “bold” brackets, but opens my bookmarks. How do I change this back?)

(Ctrl-U no longer opens “underline” brackets, but opens a code window. Wah?)

ETA: never mind. Problem fixed by “Allow Straightdope.” Life is good.

I like uBlock better than AdBlock.

Smaller footprint, pretty peppy.

Driver Booster - Nice little program, available in free and paid versions. Not sure what else the paid version does, but the free version works just fine to check and update drivers regularly (you can set the schedule).

I had to go back and remove NoScript. It was too restrictive. It said it offered exceptions – you could check an option that said “Allow” – but that didn’t work. I was still getting complete exclusion – “Javascript must be activated on this browser” – or getting code-editing windows rather than actual executing apps.

CCleaner is good…but I should have been more careful in choosing what not to remove. You know how in MS Word and Excel, there’s a handy “recent files” listing, where you can “thumbtack” files you use often? Oops! CCleaner removed that list. But that’s my fault, as there is a way to exclude app history files. Just a warning to those who might make the same mistake I did.

Noscript requires some whitelisting before it works right, but the best tip I have for it is to click options, then on the general tab, check “temporarily allow top level sites by default” and pick the least restrictive “base 2nd level domains”. That makes most sites work just fine right out of the box, while restricting say, facebook, analytics, ad networks, etc from running random javascript.
Most sites that don’t work under that configuration are of the form “” with content pulling from “” or similar, and you have to whitelist “” to get it to work.

“I had to go back and remove NoScript. It was too restrictive.”

How about YesScript?

NoScript is a highly acclaimed Firefox security add-on that protects its user from scripts that are executed on websites. The approach is to block all scripts on a website unless the website gets whitelisted by the user. These whitelists can be temporary for the browsing session or permanently.

While that is certainly the best security approach it does require lots of work especially in the beginning as you will encounter sites that won’t work without at least some whitelisting.

Most users on the other hand prefer simplicity and no user interaction and that’s where YesScript comes into play. Its approach is the complete opposite of NoScript: YesScript allows all scripts on all websites unless they are blacklisted by the user.

The advantage of this method is that less user interaction is required. It does however undermine the security aspect because scripts will be executed normally as long as the website is not on the blacklist.

We use a Toshiba laptop, about four-years-old as our main computer. It’s gradually gotten slower and slower. We mostly use it for the web, and the performance gets painfully slow. We’re using firefox, the current version.

I’ve done the refresh Firefox feature and just downloaded and run CCleaner.

I ran a test on Cnet where it measured the internet speed at 6.4 Mbps.

After the above steps, it “seems” to be a little faster.

What would be good next steps for restoring speed?

Oops, I missed this post when it first appeared. Thank you for the advice! I’ll give it a whirl!

I just installed AdBlockPlus and the difference was immediate. Sites such as CNN which had been painfully slow now are bearable. Things were so bad over there that I had given up watching the video. Now it goes quicker.

I rechecked my speed and it says 10.4 Mbps. Could these actions have made that much of a difference?

Also, how often should CClearner be run? Are there other programs which will help?

Sorry to keep posting.

My wife sees a slow down when inputing Chinese, especially in gmail.

I’ve found a couple of sites which claim that they help firefox performance.

The 12 Best Firefox About:Config Performance Tweaks and 8 hacks to make Firefox ridiculously fast.

Are any of these tips good?