Windows

What happened to my Windows desktop background?

JR from Carlsbad, CA

Episode 1102

JR's laptop background went completely black one day. He can see the icons and everything, but the desktop background is completely black. He tried to change the images but it's still black. Leo says that sometimes Windows will turn the background black if it thinks the copy of Windows is unregistered. It may be there's a corrupted theme or drive. He should try using the recovery disk and choose "repair."

Why won't Windows load on my laptop?

Jim from Corona, CA

Episode 1101

Jim can't get Windows to start on his used laptop that he just bought. Leo suggests trying safe mode with networking to see if it'll start. He should hold down shift as he powers down and turns it on. Then choose "Safe Mode with Networking." If it starts up, then it's a bad video driver. If not, then he has a damaged windows install from the hard drive and he'll need to format the drive and reinstall Windows.

What laptop, desktop and tablet should I buy?

Episode 1101

Rusty from San Diego, CA
Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Rusty is a real estate broker and he needs to upgrade his desktop, laptop and tablet. He wants to buy it all at once. Leo says that since most of his work is on Windows, he should stay in the ecosystem. One way to eliminate the desktop and laptop is to go with the Windows Surface Pro 3 tablet, which can also work as a laptop. It runs a full version of Windows 8 and will run all his programs. Leo suggest that Rusty find a Microsoft store to visit and look at them.

Should I buy a Chromebook?

Episode 1100

Alex from Long Beach, CA
HP Chromebook

Alex is looking to get a Google Chromebook but people are trying to convince him to get a Windows laptop instead. Leo says that the fundamental difference between a Chromebook and a Windows laptop is that there's very little storage on a Chromebook -- everything is meant to be accessed from the cloud. The entire Chromebook is basically like using only the Google Chrome web browser on a Windows computer.

Is BitLocker good enough for encryption?

Julian from Santa Barbara, CA

Episode 1099

Julian uses BitLocker to encrypt his laptop hard drive. Is that adequate? Leo says absolutely. It's more than sufficient. And with more than 12,000 laptops being lost and stolen every week at airports, it's a wise idea to encrypt his laptop hard drive when he's traveling. But remember -- BitLocker requires certificates, so he can't lose them. It's wise to back them up or he won't be able to decrypt his drive. He should make sure that he uses a very good, random password for the encryption as well.

Why am I getting an error message that my recovery partition is running out of space?

JR from Hewitt, TX

Episode 1096

JR has a Lenovo computer, and has been getting error messages that his recovery partition is nearly full. Leo says that installing programs on Windows is almost always done to the C drive by default. He can choose otherwise, but it works best keeping all the programs on same drive as Windows. Leo says he shouldn't be able to put anything on the recovery drive, as it shouldn't even be visible from the operating system. The recovery partition is designed to only be slightly bigger than what is needed to hold the Windows recovery software.

Why won't my computer fully turn off?

Brian from Santa Ana, CA

Episode 1096

Brian built his own gaming PC a few years back, but now the power button won't work when he turns it back on right away. Leo says that indicates that the computer isn't shutting down fully, and it's a very common issue. Leo says he should try powering down the PC the proper way, wait a minute, and then unplug it. Then plug it back in and turn it on. If it comes on right away, then he'll know that the software isn't fully shutting his PC down. If he still can't turn it back on after doing that, then it's a hardware issue.

Should I run as a limited user on my Surface Pro 2?

John from Crane Hill, AL

Episode 1095

John just got a brand new Surface Pro tablet. He decided on the Surface Pro 2 because the powered keyboard for the new Surface 3 won't be ready for a few months. Leo says that people who have bought the Surface Pro 3 really like it. Leo's not much a fan because he prefers a laptop.

Does he have to set up a separate account as a limited user like on desktops? Leo says yes. It's kind of a pain, but it's the right thing to do. What about encrypting the hard drive? Leo says that the Surface Pro 2 may be encrypted by default.