Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1145

Scott Wilkinson says that while HBO Go is on most boxes as well, until the beginning of the hear you have to have an HBO cable subscription to use it. But next year, you'll be able to subscribe to the streaming service by itself. Scott says it's a very complicated process right now because all of the devices make deals with content providers and ISPs. So it's all very fragmented. So the best you can do is decided what are the most services you can get and then go for that.

Can I use an HDTV as a computer monitor?

Norman from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1145

Norman is thinking of replacing his computer monitor with an HDTV. Leo advises against that. HDTVs aren't as sharp as computer monitors because you're up too close. You'll see all the pixels and the resolution won't be as sharp as a monitor. And you're paying for stuff you're not using. But people do it. Leo just doesn't advise it. Go to dell.com and buy a 27" monitor if you want a large screen.

How can I fix a stuck update in Windows 8?

Todd from Sun City, CA

Episode 1145

Todd got an HP Pavilion 4 with Windows 8 and he's having trouble with updating it. Every time he tries to update, it freezes up and he has to do an autorepair. Leo says that Windows 8 changed the way you update. You have to do all the Windows 8.0 updates first, and you get them from the Windows Store. Once you've opened that, it'll tell you what updates you're missing. Then once you have all those, you can then update to Windows 8.1. If an update is being blocked, then you can go into the control panel and remove those stuck updates and start over.

Why is my monitor displaying inverted colors?

Episode 1144

Ken from Los Angeles, CA
Video card

Ken has a problem with his monitor. All his icons have turned to negative. He tried to change the cable, and he even tried another monitor. Leo says it may be that his settings were changed. Ken should go into accessibility and see if it's set for high contrast mode. But when he unplugs it and plugs it back in, it goes back to normal. Leo says that's odd. Leo says to update the drivers on the video card. If it rights itself when he tries again, that points to a hardware issue and Ken should try replacing the video card.

Can a virus cause a blue screen of death?

Episode 1144

David from Burbank, CA
BSOD

David's computer started to get the dreaded bluescreen of death and he took it to the Geek Squad to get it repaired. They said it was a virus and sold him WebRoot. Leo says that the Geek Squad couldn't have been more wrong and just sold him an antivirus software he didn't need. Almost always, the problem with BSOD is either a driver or hardware issue. BSODs only happen as a result of accessing ring 1 memory on the computer and that's only drivers or hardware. Malware won't result in a BSOD.

What does "meantime between failures" mean?

Episode 1144

Richard from Grand Rapids, MI
Hard Drive

Richard wants to know what the "meantime between failures" means. Leo says that it's the time that a hard drive will live, or the average life span of a hard drive. But Leo says it's pretty much a made up number. They take 1,000 hard drives and run them until a handful die. Then they extrapolate how long the hard drives could last. It's mostly meaningless. Google and Rackspace have both released studies and 98% will last about 2 years, 2% die in the first year, and then they die at about 4% per year. That's just based on their experience.

Why do my Windows programs time out and say "not responding" so often?

Dale from Brooksville, NY

Episode 1144

Dale is having issues with his Windows Vista PC where programs will just stop running. He gets a time out message that the program is not responding. Leo has a hunch that the program is just running really, really slow and it's likely the hard drive is getting flakey. Leo advises backing up the data and replacing the drive. Leo recommends going with a solid state hard drive. They're getting less expensive now and it'll be far faster. Then he can use a spinning drive for his data.

Mike Ziemkowski, Lights on Display

Episode 1144

Lights on Display

Mike Ziemkowski joins us to talk about his annual yuletide lighting display that he's been doing since 2003. Including a rocking guitar playing snowman and an elf-like DJ known as DJ Jingles, the display is remarkable and gets better every year. 75,000 LED lights, an animatronic flying Santa Claus, singing elves coming out of Christmas presents, and projection video. Check it out at lightsondisplay.com.

What gaming PC should I ask for Christmas?

Episode 1144

Devon from Long Beach, CA
Alienware Alpha

Devon wants to get an iBuyPower Gaming PC. Is that a good brand? Leo says that iBuyPower makes great computers and at $495, it's a great deal. The games that Devon wants to play aren't really all that demanding, but still, it depends on what graphics processor and card he's going to get. For video games, the GPU is the workhorse. The NVidia GE Force GT610 is a good one.