Windows

How should I upgrade to Windows 7 from Windows XP?

Dale from Pomona, CA

Episode 1110

Dale has been running Windows XP and now that Microsoft has killed off support for it, he's looking to upgrade his computer to Windows 7. His company can give it to him in the form of a download. What does he need to do to prepare his computer?

Leo says to get an external hard drive and backup all data. Once he upgrades, he'll need to reinstall all the apps. When he gets the download, there's plenty of utilities for making a disc from the ISO. He can also put it on a bootable USB key, which is also a great idea.

Is it better to restore from a backup or a drive image?

Episode 1109

Larry from Mill Valley, CA
Hard drive

Larry's computer started to crash, and he had to do a complete restore. He's wondering if he should do an Acronis True Image restore or just reinstall all the programs. Leo says that there's a difference between a drive image and a restore. A drive image will create an exact snapshot of the computer from that point in time. Restoring that image will wipe out everything in the process and take him back to the moment he made that image. He can do a restore and it'll just restore the computer configuration with software, data and settings from the last time he set a restore point.

What's the difference between sleep mode and hibernate mode?

Episode 1108

Bruce from Manhattan Beach, CA
Sleep mode

Bruce has a computer that he puts into hibernation, but when he unplugs it, it shuts down. Leo says the there's a difference between hibernation and sleep mode. Sleep keeps the computer on, but loads everything into RAM and shuts down the hard drive and other things it doesn't need. It's in an extreme low power mode, but keeps refreshing the RAM so it'll come back on when woken up. Hiberation, on the other hand, completely shuts down the computer and then writes the RAM contents to the hard drive to access when it's turned back on.

Why can't I install Google Chrome?

Tony from Buffalo, NY

Episode 1107

Tony's mom has a Windows 8.1 desktop and Skype. Tony says that Google Chrome is acting up, crashing. So he uninstalled. Now he can't reinstall it. Leo says that it sounds like the hard drive may be failing. Or, the file permissions of the Chrome folder got corrupted and as such, he now doesn't have permissions to install over them. Leo advises completely reinstalling Windows. Especially since the computer was bought used. So grab the recovery discs or access the Windows installer and make the recovery disks, then run them to recover everything as it was the day it was first bought.

Should I upgrade to Windows 8 on a computer without a touch screen?

Jay from Providence, NC

Episode 1106

Jay's friend has an old Windows Vista laptop and is wondering whether to upgrade it to Windows 8, despite it not having a touch screen. Leo says it doesn't have to have a touch screen. Everything can be done with a touch pad or mouse. In fact, Windows 8 may even run faster on that system, provided it has at least 2 GB of RAM. Microsoft has fixed a lot of problems that plagued Windows in the past with Windows 8 as well.

What happened to my admin account in XP?

Mark from Charlotte, NC

Episode 1105

Mark has a Windows machine and he took Leo's advice and created a limited user account out of his admin account. But he lost his original information as a result. Leo says the trick is to create a separate admin account first, then modify the existing account as a limited user. But he can't even see the original account.

The chatroom says to try rebooting his system into Safe Mode. Then he should look for the account. It could be hidden and going into safe mode will enable him to find it.

Should I buy a Surface Pro 3 tablet?

Episode 1105

Tim from Chino Hills, CA
Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Tim wants to know if the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet is worth the money. Leo says he's not a fan of Windows 8.1, but if he needs a lightweight Windows laptop that can become a tablet, the Surface Pro 3 is a nice alternative with a gorgeous screen. It's very light and portable. The keyboard is nominal, not great. But all in all, it's a good choice if you need a Windows option.