All The Browsers!

Yes, seriously use them all. I preach that “all good techs should have all the browsers installed” because each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Also, you can leverage one or two browsers for a specific task and not cross paths with another browser. Finally, the security benefits are very real. If one browser gets hijacked, you are not panicking to download another browser to figure out how to clean the compromised one. Also, not all browsers are vulnerable to the same threats as others. The benefits are real, but the only downsize is additional time downloading/installing these browsers when you build your computer. Or you could be lazy and just use one. You know where I stand.

  • Brave – Based on Chromium, released in 2019 – This is a recent addition to my list. Brave is out flying its own flag of speed, security, and privacy. I have not used it much, but according to its specs sheet it carries an impressive set of features and security. I may update this post if I choose to use it more often. In the meantime, it is a backup browser.
  • Epic Privacy Browser – Based on Chromium, released in 2010 – This browser’s sole purpose is to virtually eliminate all tracking from the source code and prevent as many websites as possible to track your actions. If you really want to research something private, this is the browser to use. Don’t cross your browsing habits and use it for Facebook or similar, because then you are allowing your browsing activity to be visible in other methods.
  • Google Chrome – Based on Chromium, released in 2008 – Currently the world’s most popular browser by a huge margin. Chances are you’re using Chrome to read this post right now. At time of writing, my opinion of Chrome is extremely poor. Google Chrome is overweight, loaded full of tracking and telemetry reporting services going back to Google, a gigantic memory hog, and so frequently attacked it’s a crying shame. At this time I only use Chrome to browse Google’s own services such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, etc. If Chrome is your primary, you should greatly consider decreasing usage and trying out one of the other great options.
  • Firefox – Based on Gecko, released in 2002 – Every nerd alive has heard of Firefox and probably used it once or twice. In my opinion it has let its once vibrant success go to their head and let development become stagnant. There aren’t many new features or changes in a very long time. Fortunately what Firefox has going for it is one of the very few browsers available that does not use Chromium. Therefore it is mostly immune to most web vulnerabilities currently on the Internet. I use it to manage local devices such as routers, switches, management consoles, printers, etc.
  • Internet Explorer – Based on Trident, released in 1995 – Yes, there is still a need for Internet Explorer. First, it’s still included in Windows 10 whether you like it or not. Secondly, there are still very old hardware devices that just won’t load in Chrome or Firefox or any other “modern” browser. While most websites balk harshly when they detect you use Internet Explorer, some older devices insist on using it. So don’t hate on it completely yet. You still may need it.
  • Microsoft Edge – Based on Chromium, released in 2015 – Microsoft has done a remarkable job in taking Chromium and molding it to Microsoft’s good standards. They knew they had to get this one right after the first Edge fell short of expectations when it launched with Windows 10. The current Edge is fast, feature-rich, and has zero affiliation with Google. This is my current default browser for HTML links. All Chrome extensions are supported, and Microsoft is building their own extension store. It should be mentioned that there is a slightly different version of Edge called Edge for Business that is tailored for corporate/enterprise customers.
  • Opera – Based on Chromium, released in 1995 – Seriously an oldie and used to be a goodie, but has some redeeming qualities recently. Opera has been credited with introducing some core features that most people take for granted such as tabbed browsing, and speed dial. Most people believe the heyday of Opera has come and gone, but their development is still very much alive. Particularly, I like its built-in free VPN feature. This allows all your browsing activity to go through a different country, without being concerned with loading extensions or paying for premium service. Opera was my default browser of choice for nearly a decade and today should definitely not be overlooked.
  • Opera GX – Based on Chromium, released in 2019 – This is seriously one of my favorite browsers just based on appearance alone and the cool sound effects when clicking and typing. But the real benefits come from the gamer-centric features such as game sales and deals and release date aggregator. You can even filter based on platform such as specific console or PC. However, my favorite feature is the ability to limit CPU, memory, and network utilization of the browser. This comes in handy when you want to have any website (YouTube, Discord, Twitch, etc.) loaded on a second monitor, but you want maximum FPS on your primary. This benefit gets even better if you’re browsing on an older/weak PC and want to prioritize another process than the web browser. Hey Chrome, take some tips from this one! Every PC gamer should give Opera GX a try!
  • Vivaldi – Based on Chromium, released in 2015 – I’ve saved the best for last. Reminiscent of Opera in its prime, Vivaldi takes all the best everyday features and packs them together in a nice privacy-centric and extremely feature-rich package. Diving into the settings window will take up about 30 minutes of your day. You can customize it in every possible way. Development is very active and they are constantly adding more features to make it even better. Vivaldi is my default browser for all recreational and social media browsing. I also leverage its sync engine to mirror everything personal to all my different computers. I highly recommend this browser and with the exception of Microsoft Edge simply due to having a standard, it is my favorite and at the top of my list.

I intended this post to be informative and hopefully you will reconsider defaulting to Chrome for everything. Things I did not mention include cross-platform versions for Apple iOS, Android, Linux, and Mac OS. Most browsers support this which then allows your favorites, website credentials, and even extensions to be synced on mobile. Comment if you have any questions or want to add your own thoughts. Thanks!

Disable Windows 10 Automatic Locking Screen

This is particularly frustrating when you’ve already disabled turn off screen and disabled the screen saver and all other settings. Yet the computer still locks after 15 minutes. Suggested use cases: kiosks, security camera screens, upcoming appointments, etc. I’m re-blogging this solution that I found on the Internet. Credit goes to this page. Thank you.

Registry key:
Value: 0


I have determined that it is in my best interests to continually ensure the Downloads folder in my user profile directory be kept as clean as possible. Allowing clutter to build up is detrimental for the following reasons.

  • Size: why are we saving a duplicate copy of an online download anymore? You can find anything on the Internet again.
  • Not in cloud storage: redirecting the Downloads folder does not work well with Dropbox or OneDrive.
  • Lost files: a cluttered Downloads folder promotes the possibility of losing an important file that was retrieved via downloading through a browser. If it is important, it does not belong in the Downloads folder.

Do yourself a favor and don’t do as I once did. Keep your Downloads folder empty and clear. Delete program installers when done and move important files to better storage folders.

NIC Teaming on Windows 10

Sure, you can debate that you don’t actually exceed 1 Gbps on the connection and so far I have not successfully done this. But here’s how to do it. Start with PowerShell (as Admin).

Windows will then display a table of network adapters in your system. You should rename the adapters giving a descriptive name to each and appropriate numbers if you have multiple ports per NIC.

New-NetSwitchTeam -Name "Name of Team" -TeamMembers "Adapter 1","Adapter 2"
Substitute the entries in quotes with what you want to call the team, and the actual names of the network adapters.

Windows displays the current network team(s) configured.

Have fun!

Intel Bloomfield and Windows 10 1803+

This was a “dumb problem” to have that made me waste a few hours of my time. Intel and Microsoft became incompatible in a specific way on April 30, 2018. Here’s how to fix it.

The Combination

  • Intel Bloomfield (Core i7-920, etc.)
  • Intel X58 chipset
  • Windows 10 version 1803 and later

The Solution

Disable Intel Virtualization VT-d support in the motherboard BIOS.

Disabling Turbo Boost on Intel Procs

Long gone are the days of adjusting your maximum processor state to 99%, or dealing with complex ThrottleStop settings. If you don’t want your machine to go beyond the stock maximum clock, this registry setting will unhide the “processor performance boost mode” drop-down in your current power plan.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update

A year has come and gone.  Windows 10 is one year old.  To celebrate, Microsoft has ceased the free program and released a comprehensive update that (possibly) adds features to your existing installation.  Just like any update, it involves a multi-gigabyte download followed by a verification followed by at least three restarts.  When you login again, your computer welcomes you (again) and is happy you’re here.

My computer welcomed me with a constant BSOD that was caused by my ASUS motherboard’s USB 3.1 controller.  A Google search found the solution.  Hopefully your update experience will be flawless.  Thanks Microsoft.

Windows 10 Setup Hangs at Checking for Updates

I am trying to update a (really) old computer from Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 10 using the Media Creation Tool (Upgrade this PC) but it never continued past “Checking for Updates”.  Fortunately I found the solution on Google.

  • Leave the Windows 10 Setup window open
  • Go to Services and stop Windows Updates
  • Delete the contents of C:\SoftwareDistribution
  • Start the Windows Updates service again