Windows

Why does Windows want me to reactivate?

Episode 1548

Steven from San Antonio, TX

Steven keeps getting a message that he needs to reactivate Windows. He keeps putting the product number in, and he keeps getting told to reactivate. Leo says you shouldn't need to at all, since it's Windows 10. Once the computer is authorized, it never needs to be authorized again. But it sounds like Microsoft keeps track of location information, and since Steven moved, maybe it's confused and is deactivating it. You need to contact Microsoft to solve this one.

Where is my external hard drive in Windows?

Episode 1548

Jim from Ordway, CO

Jim is having problems with Windows recognizing his external usb drive. It keeps losing it. But his image catalog says his images are there. Leo says that many photo gallery apps keep a thumbnail for fast referral. So it could have the thumbnail, but not see the original image, if the drive is disconnected or lost. Leo also says that your external drive could be getting flakey. Get a backup drive and make a copy of your photos. Save them online too. Three copies, on two formats, one off site. The good news is, that hard drives are cheap now. You can get a 1 TB drive for under $100.

Why doesn't my touchpad work?

Laptop

Episode 1545

Greg from New Brunswick, CAN

Greg has a Samsung laptop computer. He had to reinstall Windows 8.1 and wants to upgrade to Windows 10. But his touchpad isn't working, even though Windows says it does. Leo says that he suggests using the actual drivers from the manufacturer. Often they will be different from the Windows driver and will be designed for that model. Chances are, it's a Synaptic touchpad. If that doesn't work, then maybe the touchpad is broken or the cable is loose. Also, the chatroom says that there is a function key, it could be F9, that will turn off the trackpad.

A Popular Microsoft Scam Has Been Traced Back to India

Computer mouse

Episode 1545

For a long time, scammers have been calling or displaying a popup message on PCs with the threat that their computer access will be restricted if they don't call a number and make a payment. According to the New York Times, this official looking message is coming from a scam operation in Mumbai, India - which is the main hub for call centers. Leo says that's because the real tech support people are moonlighting with this scam.

Why is my keyboard and mouse shutting off after running updates?

Keyboard

Episode 1543

Anthony from San Diego, CA

Anthony has Windows 7, and he's started having problems with his keyboard and mouse after a recent update. He tried to talk to Microsoft about it, but the tech told him there was a conflict and the updates it was installing were actually for Windows 10, and it would cost him $300 to resolve it. Leo says whoever that was he was talking to wasn't Microsoft. Leo says in theory that could happen, but Microsoft Update is smart enough to not do that. It should only be installing Windows 7 updates for a Windows 7 machine.

What computer do I need for video editing?

Dell Precision Workstation

Episode 1537

Gary from Walla Walla, WA

Gary wants to buy a PC for video editing. How much should he spend? Leo says that just about any PC can do video editing. The money comes from how much performance he'll want. Leo uses a Dell Precision Workstation with Xeon processors that scream. So they are very powerful and expensive. An iMac would be more than adequate, though, to capture and edit home movies. A MacBook Pro would also work.

Why won't my computer boot up?

BIOS

Episode 1534

Josh from Sutters, CA

Josh built his own computer, but when he turns it on, sometimes it stalls on the POST (Power On Self Test). Leo says that it could be a cold solder connection, which needs to heat up a bit before the connection is made and the motherboard boots up. But that is rare these days. It could also be a flakey power supply. Another thing to check is if the RAM is properly seated.

Leo thinks the most likely cause is that the BIOS is corrupt. He should try and refresh it. If that doesn't work, he can try and reinstall the BIOS firmware. It could also be physically damaged, though.