laptops

Why did my laptop keyboard stop working after upgrading to Windows 10?

Mark from Brooklyn, ON

Episode 1253

Mark has a teenage daughter who has a Windows 8 laptop she bought two years ago. They upgraded to WIndows 10, and now they're having issues with the laptop's keyboard and trackpad. They tried reinstalling the OS, but that didn't work. It does work with an external keyboard. Leo says that indicates a hardware failure, not the result of upgrading to Windows. Leo says that Mark can look in the Device Manager and see if there's any red X's by the trackpad and keyboard. It could just be a bad driver, but then again, they reinstalled the OS and the problem persists. So it has to be hardware.

What laptop should I get for video editing?

Nan from La Crescenta, CA

Episode 1248

Nan is looking for a laptop to do Photoshop and video editing. Leo says that this will depend on how advanced the video editing is. Many will harness the graphics processor to do most of the heavy lifting, while others will just rely on the computer's own processor to do it. Some laptops don't have a dedicated GPU. Nan will want a higher end laptop, but that also impact battery life.

What computer should I buy?

Episode 1243

Dave from California
Apple iPad Air 2

Dave needs a new computer for Christmas. He's thinking of going with a tablet that will have its own internet access and drop his broadband at home. Leo says that iPads and Chromebooks aren't usually desktop compatible, but he could get them with 4G/LTE internet. But that's really only practical if he'll be moving around a lot.

Is there a portable device for copying data off of my SD cards while traveling?

Episode 1241

Erik from Dusseldorf, Germany
Digital Foci PHOTO SAFE II OTG

Erik is looking for a small device to copy his camera SD cards to and print out pictures while traveling. Leo says it's called a "Photo Wallet" or "Photo Safe." It's essentially a hard drive with an SD card reader attached. Digital Foci is a great one. It's $150 for 500GB. But fewer and fewer are making them now because of the cloud.

How can I fix my laptop screen?

Romano from New Jersey

Episode 1238

When Romano turns on his laptop, he can't see anything. The screen is black. Leo says that if Romano can still barely see an image, that means that the backlight has burned out. Older laptops used a florescent backlight and they can die over time. The down side is that by the time it burns out, the laptop is usually so old that it's not worth spending the money to fix. But Romano's laptop is only three years old. If it's not the backlight, it could be the inverter. One place to look for fixing stuff is iFixit.com.

How can I turn on a laptop that has a broken power button?

Episode 1234

Bob from Florida
MacBook Pro

The power button on Bob's MacBook Pro has broken and he has to "arc" a pair of contacts to start it back up. Leo says that is a problem because he'll end up shorting it out. It would be better to just leave it on all the time and let it go to sleep. But with a laptop that's as old as Bob's maybe it's time to pull out that hard drive and get a new computer.