Windows 8.1

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

Episode 1366

Evangeline from Virginia Beach VA
Windows Start Menu

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?

Jake from Washington

Episode 1318

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?

Jim from Missoula, MT

Episode 1311

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?

Brenda from Fort Paine, AL

Episode 1302

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?

Nick from Michigan

Episode 1298

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?

Mark from Orange, CA

Episode 1275

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?

Jim from Bellflower, CA

Episode 1227

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.

Why can't I upgrade to Windows 10?

Episode 1211

Michael from Arizona
Microsoft Windows 10

Michael hasn't been able to get the Windows 10 download, so he tried to download the ISO and install it. Leo says that it's possible that not all of the hardware was compatible and that's why he didn't get an invitation. But he has a problem that when he plugs in the power, his screen goes blank. Leo says to hit Windows Key + i and go to Recovery. Then he can roll back to a previous version of Windows 8.1. He has 30 days to do that. Then he can restore to the original factory state and try it again. That's how Leo did it and he was able to upgrade and activate it.

Should I update to Windows 10?

Gail from Covina, CA

Episode 1200

Gail has decided to "learn to love" Windows 8.1, and is now wondering if it's worth upgrading to Windows 10. Leo says he merely tolerates Windows 8.1, and the good news it that several of its annoying features such as the charms bar are going away in Windows 10. The Start button will also return with a hybrid menu that combines the traditional Start menu with the Windows 8 tile interface. Leo foresees some issues with that interface, though, since it will cause more clutter when adding programs.