laptops

How can I fix my laptop screen?

Doug from Manhattan, MT

Episode 1163

Doug has a laptop and he can't see anything on the screen. Leo says there are a few things that can cause that. First, he should shine a light on it. If he can see the faint ghosting of Windows, then the backlight in the laptop has gone bad. It could also be that the ribbon cable that connects the LCD to the laptop has broken. That's an easy fix. If his laptop has a video out connection, he should try connecting it to an external monitor. If he can see Windows then, he will know it's a bad screen. The motherboard may be bad, too.

Lenovo Gets Caught Putting Malware on Its Laptops

Episode 1163

After getting caught putting a piece of malware called Superfish on all their laptops, Lenovo has offered apologies and released a removal tool with which to remove it. Leo says that Lenovo had been putting malware on its machines that makes it possible for a 'man in the middle attack' to reroute customer's personal traffic to Lenovo so that it can insert ads. Leo says that's inexcusable and nobody should ever buy a Lenovo brand computer again.

What PC should I get for Minecraft?

Episode 1162

Rider from Manhattan Beach, CA
Dell XPS 13

Rider is saving up his pennies to get a laptop to play Minecraft and other games with. Leo says that just about any computer will be able to play Minecraft. A Mac will work as well. But more graphics intensive games may require a more powerful processor. Rider also wants the Oculus Rift, but Leo says it's just too early for that to happen. We don't know when that will be out. And by the time it does come out, Microsoft will have its HoloLens which Leo thinks would be even better.

Should I get a Windows 8 laptop?

Episode 1160

Susan from Friday Harbor, WA
Dell XPS 13

Susan has an old Windows XP machine that she needs to replace. Can she still get a Windows 7 laptop? Leo says no, Microsoft ended Microsoft 7 release machines last October. She can buy a Windows 8 machine and then put Windows 7 on it, though.

Windows 10 is coming this Fall, and Microsoft will offer a free upgrade to it. So there's no real need to worry about having a Windows 8 machine. Leo says go ahead and buy one and see if she can live with it. She can even set it to boot to the desktop.

What laptop should I buy for my college bound daughter?

Episode 1158

Todd from Topeka, KS
Dell XPS 13

Leo suggests contacting the school for requirements and what they prefer. The college store may have a good student discount, too. Since it's possible to run Windows on a Mac, he can't really go wrong with a Mac. It can run Windows natively from bootup. She could also run it in emulation (virtually), which slows it down a little bit, but not much. If she already has a Mac, she'll be fine. But Leo still recommends contacting the school.

How can I replace the network adapter in my PC?

Ron from Hollywood, CA

Episode 1157

Ron's Dell computer is having trouble connecting and he has a hunch the network adapter is dying. He's tried different software, but hasn't been able to get it to work. Leo says that the adapter is soldered to the motherboard and to fix that would require changing the motherboard. But he can buy a USB to Ethernet network connector for $12 from monoprice.com.

How can I make an old computer faster?

Episode 1157

Old Geek in the Bronx from New York, NY
Apple iPad Air 2

The "old geek in the Bronx" tried to clean up his friend's computer and he wants to know if "Ready Boost" will speed up that old PC. Leo says that Microsoft created "Ready Boost" for Vista and Windows 7 and it would use the cache of a USB key because it's faster. Leo says he tried it and it didn't really work at all. Almost always, just backing up the data, formatting the hard drive, and reinstalling Windows with the recovery disks and updating Windows fully will make it run like the day it came out of the box. Rather than have his friend buy a new laptop, Leo advises getting an iPad.

Can a laptop have static buildup?

Robert from Lolo, MT

Episode 1157

Robert is having issues with what tech support says is "static buildup" with his laptop. They advise unplugging it and plugging it back in, and that seemed to work. But it's happened several times. Leo says that can happen when the weather is really dry. That's why it's important to ground himself before he touches it. He can do that by simply touching the case side. Unplugging and plugging it back in, though, leads Leo to believe it isn't a static issue. Leo has a hunch that it could be power supply related, or the cable connector. It just sounds like a red herring.