windows 10

Do I need to pay for antivirus software?

Windows 10 Start Menu

Episode 1556

Kevin from Moreno Valley, CA

Kevin has an old laptop and wants to know if he needs Webroot antivirus. Leo says that back in the day, Webroot was very good. But lately, If he's able to update to Windows 10, Windows has its own antivirus called Windows Defender which is very good. Before Windows 10, Microsoft had Windows Security Essentials. Both are essentially the same, and they're free.

How do I log into a Windows computer when the desktop isn't available?

Start Menu

Episode 1550

Josh from Mesa, AZ

John's mom recently passed away and had an old laptop. But when he turns it on, he gets an error "desktop not available." Leo says it's likely that the profile may have gotten corrupted, or is non-existent. Since she's been automatically logging in, that's where the error pops up. But there could be a hidden administrator account with permissions to take over all features. He can Google how to access that. Once he does, he should get the data out of it immediately. Then he should wipe the drive and start over.

Why does Windows want me to reactivate?

Windows 10 Start Menu

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 he 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. He'll need to contact Microsoft to solve this one.

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.

How can I stop a blue screen of death in Windows 10?

Blue Screen of Death

Episode 1536

Simon from Yorktown, VA

Simon recently encountered the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. He suspected it may be his Chrome browser. Could it be? Leo says that modern versions of Windows don't really allow a program to call a BSOD these days. The operating system protects against it. But it could be a bad driver. Flakey hardware like a power supply or loose RAM can also cause it. But Chrome doesn't have system access to cause a BSOD. If he can replicate it, that could lead him toward the culprit. If it's crashing right away, that's usually a hardware issue.

How can I do voice dictation on my desktop?

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Episode 1533

Gayle from Covina, CA

Gayle wants to know if she can do dictation with her desktop. Leo says that she can plug in a headset or microphone to the audio jack in the back of the computer. Windows 10 has Cortana that can handle the dictation. She can also get software like Dragon Naturally Speaking, but these days, voice dictation is available as part of Windows OS. It's not perfect, but it works pretty well.