Windows 8.1

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.

Why am I getting a black screen on Windows?

Episode 1512

Daryl from Orange, CA

Daryl is running Windows 8.1, but after a so-called critical update, he gets a black screen. Leo says that sometimes an update can break something, and it sounds like it may be an incompatible video driver. First thing to do is to boot into Safe Mode. Then, if his screen comes up, that indicates a driver issue. Daryl should go to the video card manufacturer's website and download the latest video driver.

How do I know someone can't remote access my computer?

Windows Start Menu

Episode 1366

Evangeline from Virginia Beach VA

Evangeline has a hand me down laptop and she wants to know if there's a way for someone to access it without her permission. Leo says it's conceivable if they know her IP address and the password for the administrator account, which is highly unlikely. Leo says to change the Admin password. She can also go into the settings and disable remote access.

Why can't I open a link in Internet Explorer?

Episode 1318

Jake from Washington

Jake says every time he clicks on a link, it opens to the Windows Desktop, not to his browser. It's likely that Internet Explorer is messed up and it could just be corrupted. Jake could try resetting it. Uninstalling it and reinstalling it is complicated.

Windows 8.1 fixes a lot of problems, so Leo says to run Windows update to version. 8.1. Or even better, if he can still get it free, he should upgrade to Windows 10. He should also update Internet Explorer to the modern version from the app store.

Why did my keyboard stop working?

Episode 1311

Jim from Missoula, MT

Jim has several Windows 8.1 machines, and the keyboards on seven of them simultaneously stopped working. He found a fix for it, but he's wondering what happened. Leo said that it was probably an HP update that broke the HP keyboard drivers. They have a separate update from Windows that is always running enabling them to push updates on the fly. It sounds like their update ran afoul with Windows and caused the keyboards not to work. To turn off the HP updates, he should type Windows + Q, type "HP Update" and turn it off.

Why can't I upgrade Windows 8?

Episode 1302

Brenda from Fort Paine, AL

Brenda needs to upgrade from Windows 8 to 8.1. Leo says she definitely needs to do that. She says that Windows wants to uninstall Sentinel runtime drivers before installing, but she can't remove them because she hasn't installed them. Leo says it could be due to a program that she used in the past, or it was preloaded in her machine. It's probably from a trial antivirus. She's going to have to reinstall the trialware, and then uninstall it using their removal tool.

How can I recover my password on my Windows 8.1 laptop?

Episode 1298

Nick from Michigan

Nick has forgotten the password on his Windows 8.1 laptop. How can he crack it so he can give it to his sister? Leo says that there's password crackers that can work with Windows 8.1. If he logged in using his Microsoft account, however, he can go to his Live account at live.com and reset his password. Then he can get into it and do what he needs to do.

How can I get SpinRite to work on my hard drive?

Episode 1275

Mark from Orange, CA

Mark is having trouble getting SpinRite to run on his Windows 8.1 machine. Leo says that SpinRite is a great utility for evaluating the hard drive. But it can't be run from Windows, he'll have to run it from a USB key. If that's not going to work due to the format of the drive (Windows 8 uses GPT) then call Gibson Research tech support. They know a ton about how to get SpinRite working.

Can I replace Windows 8.1 on my new laptop with Windows 7?

Episode 1227

Jim from Bellflower, CA

Jim just bought an HP laptop with Windows 8.1, and he doesn't like the operating system. He's wondering if he can get Windows 7 instead. Leo says he could buy Windows 7, or he could call HP and tell them he doesn't like that operating system. It used to be possible to select Windows 7 on a new computer from certain manufacturers instead of Windows 8.1, but that's becoming less common now that Windows 10 is out. Leo says Jim will get an offer to upgrade to Windows 10 soon, and Leo suggests doing that. Windows 10 is a lot more like Windows 7.