Just a few things you may already know, to improve your computer. I started this page for people who work call center jobs from home.  Just a FYI.  

  I use "CCleaner Free" once a day. (free download. I advise using the Piriform or CCleaner.com download)  Clean windows, applications and registry sections. It cleans all your browsers and computer. They do have an "Health Check" option, but I prefer to do it the original way, with "custom clean" and "registry" cleaning. And, use the Microsoft "Defragment and Optimize Drives" (type it in search) built in to your computer once a week. Puts all your files in order. I used to set it to do it Sunday mornings, automatically. It will slow your system down til it's done. Or get the free, "Defraggler", also from Piriform, who has CCleaner. If you have a SSD drive, there's no need to defrag, if 'TRIM" is on.    https://www.ccleaner.com/ccleaner

  Just 2 extra tricks with "Defraggler".  You can defrag "freespace", under "action, advanced settings" , which will put all your files together, and the boot time defrag under "settings", which will decrease boot up time. I went from 2 min 30 sec to 35 sec boot up time. (I believe, It puts all the boot up files up front, or together). I do both about twice a month.  https://www.ccleaner.com/defraggler

  The "disk cleanup" built in to windows, is one last thing. Go into start ("click" left bottom corner icon), enter it in. Right click on it above, and click "run as administrator". It will clean all the stored windows updates, etc, that are left over from Microsoft weekly updates. That should keep you "clean". It's a slow process, to clean up the "C" part of your hard drive. 

  You'll notice, like I did, if you've never done "disk cleanup" on windows, "run as administrator", you'll have maybe 8GB of stored updates. It takes it down, and then transfers to your computer, but stores the initial download. I couldn't believe, it doesn't clean up after itself !

  These are all free to use, and really speed things up !   

- Dirty USB Connectors (or any connector) :  

  Quick fix: Smash the head of a Qtip down with a clean pair of pliers, and use isopropyl alcohol, to clean and then dry. You will need to force it in a bit, to do it. If you haven't ever done it, you probably need to. Better fix: CRC QD Electronic Cleaner, in a spray can. Expensive, but the can is fully filled, and it dries very quickly, leaving no residue. CRC also works great on key locks, that are jammed up. Saved a headset that I thought had problems, it was dirty USB connectors.

- If you need a mic mute switch for your headset, try this free download :   

  https://sourceforge.net/projects/micmute/   It does work very well for my situation. For a really good indicator, right click on red icon, and choose "show MicMute window". Then put the window on the - (minimize) setting. You now have a big icon, on the taskbar, that will light up when "on".  It's nice to have your own "mute" on Zoom, etc.

  FYI.  Something you may want to invest in, if you're using a laptop. Using "Speccy", a free app that tells you the temperature of your laptop, I went from 86-90 degrees C to 50 degrees C, using a laptop cooler for around $15. There are several different ones available. Will help your laptop last longer. I used to just put a 1/2" piece of wood under the left side where the air fans/intake is.  A laptop cooler is much better. Laptop coolers are available online at eBay, Walmart, Best Buy,etc.  https://www.ccleaner.com/speccy   I use a Black and Decker "Dustbuster" to clean the input / output air ports on my laptop, every couple of months.  "SpeedFan" is good. A free download. Manages all fan speeds better, if sensors and controls are there. Doesn't start automatically on start-up. I "click" on Automatic Fan Speed, and minimize it. https://speedfan.en.softonic.com/

                                 for 12-17 inch Laptop Cooling Pad Laptop Cooler USB Fan 6 cooling Fans LED Light                                   Laptop Cooling Fan Pad Cooler USB Mat Foldable For Coolpad Notebook K1K5

- Cleaning your LCD HDTV or computer screen :   

  I bought some microfiber cloths on eBay for about $1.50 for 10 of them. And only use water, if needed. Worth the investment. Anything else can damage the anti-glare/static/dust coating on your screen. You may also want to use them on your smartphone screen.  And, you may already have one, if you got a new pair of glasses. https://www.pcgamer.com/how-to-clean-your-pc-monitor/

- Destructive Malware Or Virus :  

  Malwarebytes Free is great for getting rid of it. If I have a problem, I usually try this first :   https://www.malwarebytes.com

  If you do get hit with a destructive malware, etc try this to fix the damage. It is built in to your Windows operating system. It has worked wonders for me in the past. You may even have some features that aren't working right anymore, that this would clean up. I do the sfc tool monthly. The second one says for Windows 7/8/10 and 11 :



  For some, the command line is complicated. You can use Windows built-in tool named System Restore. (For me, this is the last resort before installing a fresh copy of windows) Type "system restore" in the Windows search box and select it. (See second url above. if you need instructions)  I prefer the 1st part of the sfc tool, trying to fix it first.

  There is one more step, if the sfc (system file checker) doesn't totally fix it, that I just found. It is built in to Windows. I would recommend this only for advanced users.   https://www.ghacks.net/2018/03/16/use-dism-to-fix-issues-sfc-cant/

 A hoped for answer : My computer wouldn't load some apps, was slow. I did the sfc tool and found problems and it fixed it, and thought I'd have to run system restore. Then remembered : Turn off the laptop computer. Take the battery out. Turn it on to discharge electricity in unit. Then put battery back in, and it runs perfect. Sometimes things jam on Windows. Before work each day, I turn it off and back on to reduce "glitches". And after every update they have.

I had to do system restore on Win 10 again. Microphone jack wasn't working. Does now. And my USB mike still works. Don't assume it's a perfect download every time. Had to download Google Chrome 3 times once, before I got 1 that worked right, in the past.

  I have an old HP laptop, 17" wide screen,  that I can't upgrade to Win 10, but still works great with Win 7 Pro. I needed to reload it. I  found several install / recovery disks I could buy on eBay, and paid $8.50 for all versions of 7. It works great ! If you need a product key, you can buy one on eBay. I have, and it was valid. Amazon and others may also have them.  With a good anti-virus / malware, should be OK for awhile.

  Instead of using Windows Easy Transfer for the files, which downloads a lot of things I don't need transferred, I just right click on documents, videos, etc in file explorer, and download or "send to" a flash drive.  Great time and data storage saver.

- Can I Still Get Windows 10 For Free ? 

 "Click" the links below to find out how you can:    (support for Win 7 ends Jan. 2020)



 You should link your Windows 10 product key with your Microsoft account. If you don't, you might not be able to re-activate Windows 10 if you need to reinstall it.     https://www.techadvisor.co.uk/how-to/windows/how-reinstall-windows-3535423/

  Your msn.comoutlook.comhotmail.com, etc is a Microsoft account.   https://askleo.com/what-is-a-microsoft-account/

- Personal Surfing Privacy

  I got tired of going to websites, and then getting ads, pop ups, etc continually from these websites.  You can join a VPN (Virtual Private Network) which costs money, or do what I did, and use "duckduckgo" (The search engine that doesn't track you) as your browser. I still use Google and Bing for searches, I just have them on my bookmarks bar, and click on them to search, with duckduckgo being my main browser. It works, and it's free !!  It has additional security features.

https://duckduckgo.com/            https://duckduckgo.com/install

- Email / Data Security Breaches

  I joined Firefox Monitor, ( from Mozilla, the free "Firefox" browser company ), and it tells me when my various email addresses have been included in any security breaches or hacks. They have informed me, when one happens, for free.  It's nice to know,  that you need to change passwords. (or do more security fixes)  May have used same password on other things, etc.


  Another very good resource I just discovered, is this from Google, for password security. It'll check all of your stored on Google passwords, against a database of breaches.   passwords.google.com


- Free Anti-Virus / Malware Protection

  If you're only using Microsoft Security Essentials and Defender, for anti-virus & malware, you will want to consider these:  ( Only run 1 anti-virus program, otherwise you'll probably get the "blue screen of death" computer lockup or crash. )                 


  I recommend this free browser add on  https://www.malwarebytes.com/browserguard   Works very well !

- Cell/Smartphone/Computer Tip:  

  Google Voice will give you a free phone number to use. You can call and receive calls at no charge, nationwide. (There are a lot of options) Nice to have when you run out of minutes, or your cell coverage is bad, but you can still get WiFi. I've had mine for several years.  Works with your computer, laptop, etc. also.

https://www.google.com/voice  or  https://voice.google.com/

- No Internet Tip:

  If your internet goes down, and you need internet access, you can still get 10 hours a month of dial up internet access, free, at NetZero and Juno.  I've had to use it in emergencies, from time to time. Nice to have handy. 



- Free Alternative To Microsoft Office,  And More ....

  The Free and Open Productivity Suite    https://www.openoffice.org/ja/download/

  Everything PDF.  Merge, split, etc. https://www.ilovepdf.com/

  Free converter.  Document, video, software and more.!    https://www.online-convert.com/ 

- Equipment Purchases on a Budget

  If you work call center from home, you really should have 2 of everything. Headsets, mouses, monitors and laptops, etc. I have purchased a few years ago, 2 Dell laptops, refurbished off eBay. I have a D620 and D630. Each cost roughly $140 delivered. With a 30 day guarantee. Loaded with fresh Windows. You'll want at least 4 GB RAM, dual processor, with Windows 10 and at least a 60 GB hard drive. Best if they are a Microsoft Registered refurbisher. You will probably need to a buy a new battery. Make sure you get an AC adapter. Just an economical way to have a spare, or your main computer. I rotate them out weekly.

  I do have a webcam, I bought off eBay. (roughly $15) I started with a 1080P, and now I bought a 720P. I noticed it was more stable. It does use less bandwidth. Some consider 720P still HD quality.  (ABC-TV, Fox)

- Power Outage Thoughts :

  Stacey asked. (She works call center virtual) She lives out in the middle of nowhere, and gets power outages. Very poor cell signal, also. (cutoff for 3 days at a time+ ) I did mention something to her about keeping power on for satellite, computer and small electronic stuff, during an outage. (She uses satellite for phone/ internet) She would still like to work. Just a FYI.              You could try running it off a 12V car battery and you can get an inverter for cheap. Walmart, Target, eBay, etc. $30 or so. The inverter works with a car battery. You keep the battery in a outside type place or small vented enclosure, so the fumes don't build up, (on a balcony, etc) and I'd bet it'd run at least a couple of days (20 hours best guess) with just your satellite and computer, and maybe TV.                                                                                                      

- One Last Tip :

  My computer guy who I trust, (and other computer professionals) do suggest reloading a fresh copy of Windows on your computer every year. He said even the best antivirus / malware can't catch it all, and for other reasons (damage that may have been caused, "leftovers" from old programs, etc).  I just loaded Win 10, but did reload Win 7 a year ago, using Windows Easy Transfer for the files. (part of your windows package on your computer, if you have 7 or 8). I did notice a big difference.  Some say do it every 6 months. Others, just when you notice the system slowing down, or have issues.  For me, at about the 1 year point, I notice slowing, and other issues. But I use mine all day for work, and at night for entertainment and research. I did make a flash drive copy of Win 10, this last time, for the probable reload a year from now. Link your Windows 10 product key with your Microsoft account. If you don't, you may not be able to re-activate it. if you do a reinstall.  https://www.techadvisor.co.uk/how-to/windows/how-reinstall-windows-3535423/  

  Your msn.comoutlook.comhotmail.com, etc is a Microsoft account.   https://askleo.com/what-is-a-microsoft-account/