Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Why is my computer crashing?

Gina from Winnetka, CA

Episode 1324

Gina bought an Acer Aspire R running Windows 10. She's having trouble with the screen freezing when she uses it with her Steno Recorder. Leo says that there could be a flaw in the motherboard that's causing the crash. Leo says that based on Gina's description, she'll need to take it back, but they may require her to reload Windows first. Leo advises backing up her data, and wiping the drive. Then she can reinstall Windows from a known source. If it the problem persists, it's a hardware issue.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1323

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget is a charging dock for travelers. The Safrone 10400mAh Portable Power Bank Rechargeable External Battery Pack with Multi-Angle Stand Charger. It's a collapsible folding stand that can easily hold your cell phone (large or small) and pretty much any size tablet. It has a 10400mAh power bank. There are two USB jacks on the side, a USB 5V / 1A and a USB 5V/2.4A jack. It folds down to a compact 5.3” X 3.7” X 1.2 inches. A four bar LED indicator lets you know how much power is left. A bit heavy at 1.2 pounds but that ensures it won't tip over. Comes in various colors.

Are there any laptops with removable hard drives?

Mark from Vienna, VA

Episode 1323

Mark says that iTunes' user interface is horrible, and with iTunes 11, he can't get rid of a podcast. When he deletes it, iTunes reloads it! Leo says that other people report that it's deleting their music! So it's very manic. Mark says that iTunes won't load the playlists onto an iPad Nano because it deletes the media in the playlist. Leo says that is a known bug and it baffles Leo as to why Apple hasn't fixed that bug.

What printer and cell phone should I get?

Dennis from Marina Del Rey

Episode 1323

Dennis needs to buy a printer and a cell phone. He had an Epson Artisan, but it's broken. He really doesn't have to print more than 50 pages a year. Leo likes the new Epson EcoTank printer because they have a tank of ink that'll last years and for light duty printing they're ideal because they don't clog over time. If he runs out of colors, it'll still print in black and white. Another option is a laser printer. He can get one for under $100 and it doesn't matter how long he goes in between print jobs.

What car should I buy that syncs with my phone?

Melissa from California

Episode 1323

Melissa is in the market for a new car and wants to sync her phone to it. Leo says that the trend for modern car design is that auto manufacturers are designing their entertainment systems around the phone, creating a portal, rather than a standard stereo system. That way, when she gets a newer phone, she'll get an upgrade of her system. Navigation from the phone also syncs into the car. Apple's CarPlay is available in over 100 different car models now.

Why can't my PC read my thumb drive?

Chap from Durango, CO

Episode 1322

Chap has an old XP laptop and wants to know how he can transfer data from it to a USB thumb drive. He tried to and it didn't work. Leo wants to know first if the laptop can see it. If not, he should try another. Flash memory can die and the thumbdrive could just be bad. He should also try both USB ports. If nothing shows up, his USB port could be dirty or could have shorted out. That's not likely, though. He should try another USB device like a mouse and see if that will work.

Why is my laptop battery life worse with Windows 10?

Episode 1322

Tom from Boseman, MT
Windows 10

Tom has two laptops that he's upgraded to Windows 10. One has decreased his battery life by 33%. Leo says that's usually a sign of a driver issue. Windows could have installed the wrong drivers. He recommends going to the manufacturer and getting the latest drivers. Power management has been a tough problem with Windows 10, though. So they may have a fix for that.