Can I still get a laptop with an optical drive?

Mary from Newport Beach, CA

Episode 1224

Mary would like to get a laptop that has the capability to burn a CD. Do they make them anymore? Leo says that you're probably not going to get an ultrabook for it. You will probably have to get an external drive that plugs in via USB. You can buy a larger laptop, desktop replacement, to do it, but they're heavy. You're not going to use that drive very often, so why not just buy a lighter, thinner laptop and buy an external optical drive to do it when you need to? And they're cheap. Leo also advises considering a Chromebook.

Why is my laptop shutting down?

G. Scott from California

Episode 1224

G Scott bought a Sony Vaio about a year ago, and he's been getting random shut downs. Leo says it sounds like a heat issue. Computers will shut down as a safety measure when a processor begins overheating. The fan has stopped running. Check out CPU-ID and download a motherboard monitor to keep an eye on it. On EBay, you can also buy a USB Laptop fan that can blow air over the bottom of a laptop to keep it cooler, since laptops are notorious for generating a lot of heat. Also check for dust or blockages.

What can I do with my old laptop?

Sandy from California

Episode 1223

Sandy bought a new laptop, but at what point does she dump the old one. Leo says that there's no hurry, and there's likely data on it that you want to keep. Charities though, would love it. They'll fix it up and put Linux on it. So back up the data on it and wipe the hard drive (or take it out) and then donate it. The Cristina Foundation is a national organization that will take old computers and breathe new life into them.

What laptop should I buy?

Benny from Pasadena, CA

Episode 1222

Benny is still trying to figure out what computer to get, and he's leaning towards a Dell. Leo says he has the Dell XPS13 and he really likes it. Powerful machines, like desktop replacements, aren't usually very light. But the XPS 13 is an ultrabook and it's very light. He can also get a touch screen option, but that adds more money.

How can I return my Dell computer?

T. Harris from San Diego, CA

Episode 1221

T bought a new Dell laptop and it turned out to be a lemon. So he had to send it back for repair. But he decided while he was waiting for the return box he decided he didn't want a Dell after all. He'd rather get a refund. Now Dell says it's too late. Leo says that if it wasn't past the 90 day return, T should be able to. The day he tells them he wants to return it, they can't legally run the clock out. But Leo says T may have to resort to a consumer protection agency to get recompense.

How can I update an old Windows laptop?

Walter from Huntington, WV

Episode 1214

Walter's sister had a Windows 7 laptop that hasn't been connected for a few years. When he connected it, the automatic updates didn't install. Leo says that she's so far behind, it'll take a half day to get all the updates, it'll probably have to be updated manually. Walter should check for updates and then install all the updates that pop up. He doesn't have to install the optional updates though, just the critical ones.

Did I buy the right laptop for my needs?

Episode 1214

Virginia from Monterey Park, CA
Asus Chromebook

Virginia bought an Asus laptop -- did she do the right thing? Leo says that Asus makes really good hardware but she's right to question it if she was convinced to buy it by a salesman seeking commissions. But Leo says that Asus makes very credible hardware.

Leo says that Virginia may have too much computer for her needs. He advises she take the laptop back and get a Chromebook. It's far more secure, easier to use, and will meet her needs. Asus actually makes a really good one.

What laptop should I buy my grand daughter for college?

Episode 1213

Julie from West LA
Apple MacBook Pro

Grandma Julie called a few weeks ago and Leo advised her to get a MacBook Pro for her grand daughter. Leo says that the 13" version would last her all through college. But it may be a good idea to go to the Apple Store and check which one she likes best. There's also the MacBook Air, which is a nice light version. In the middle is the standard Macbook with Retina, but it's a bit pricey. Leo has a 13" that he carries around and it's not bad. The Retina display is beautiful.