How long can I still use my old iMac?

Episode 1408

Paul from Long Beach, CA
Apple iMacs

Paul is vision impaired and has an eight year old iMac. How can he update it? Leo says that as long as he can update it to the latest OS, he'll be OK, and it sounds like Paul's is updated. But sooner or later, the machine will be left behind. Should he buy a new one? Leo says these days, computers aren't that much faster from one model to another. The improvement in speed really comes with a solid state hard drive and faster memory, though.

How can I make my SSD run fast again?

Episode 1335

Paul from Del Mar, CA
Vertex 2 Solid State Drive by OCZ

Paul wants to know how to get his SSD to run as fast as it did when he first got it. Leo says that SSDs can slow down a little over time and there's a command called TRIM, which can fix it if his OS supports it. It's like garbage collection. If he runs a defrag on the SSD, it will force the drive to TRIM. Leo recommends he do this very rarely though, because it can affect the even wearing of the drive. Will it make it that much faster? Not really. It might help a little, but he'll have to decide if it's worth the trouble.

Why do my Windows programs time out and say "not responding" so often?

Dale from Brooksville, NY

Episode 1144

Dale is having issues with his Windows Vista PC where programs will just stop running. He gets a time out message that the program is not responding. Leo has a hunch that the program is just running really, really slow and it's likely the hard drive is getting flakey. Leo advises backing up the data and replacing the drive. Leo recommends going with a solid state hard drive. They're getting less expensive now and it'll be far faster. Then he can use a spinning drive for his data.

Should I use a hard drive or SSD to rip my DVDs?

Episode 1072

Jamie from Hagerstown, MD
Crucial SSD

Jamie wants to rip hundreds of DVDs and compress them on his computer. Leo says that's a great idea. But since Jamie has an SSD, it would be a good idea to get an external drive. Jamie is worried about bumpy roads, though. Leo says SSDs would be better for that, since they don't have moving parts. But hard drives also should be able to handle that. Still, Leo says he understands the concern. Either way would work, and it won't be hard on the hard drive to do the ripping. Sold state would be ideal for a trucker's computer, but the cost per gig is much more.

Should I buy a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air?

Tom from Warren, OH

Episode 1064

Tom wants to get a new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Should he get a hard drive or SSD? Leo says that if he gets the MacBook Pro, he can still get an SSD and it's worth it unless he gets the low end model. Leo doesn't recommend getting that one though. The MacBook Air is great for travel because it's so lightweight. And an SSD is so much faster. Anything else just feels too slow.