Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

How can I update an old Windows laptop?

Walter from Huntington, WV

Episode 1214

Walter's sister had a Windows 7 laptop that hasn't been connected for a few years. When he connected it, the automatic updates didn't install. Leo says that she's so far behind, it'll take a half day to get all the updates, it'll probably have to be updated manually. Walter should check for updates and then install all the updates that pop up. He doesn't have to install the optional updates though, just the critical ones.

Did I buy the right laptop for my needs?

Episode 1214

Virginia from Monterey Park, CA
Asus Chromebook

Virginia bought an Asus laptop -- did she do the right thing? Leo says that Asus makes really good hardware but she's right to question it if she was convinced to buy it by a salesman seeking commissions. But Leo says that Asus makes very credible hardware.

Leo says that Virginia may have too much computer for her needs. He advises she take the laptop back and get a Chromebook. It's far more secure, easier to use, and will meet her needs. Asus actually makes a really good one.

Why doesn't my CD drive close when I shut down the computer?

Episode 1214

Robert from L.A.
CD Drive

Robert wants to know why his CD drive door won't close when he turns off the computer. Leo says it won't hurt anything to just push it in, although Robert says it doesn't feel right. There could be a software driven command that will do it, but he'll have to have it constantly running. He should try just gently pushing it before he turns off the computer to see if it will close on its own with a nudge.

Photo Credit: Evan-Amos

Chromebooks Becoming Popular Choice for Students

Episode 1214


Leo says that this year is becoming the year of the Chromebook thanks to it's low price, ease of use, and the fact that everything has moved to the cloud. The Powerwash feature enables it to start over if something goes wrong.

Leo says that while he was initially skeptical about them, he's come around to the point where he recommends them to many basic users. The Chromebook was made for students in mind. Sales are higher now than they were last year, showing that the Chromebook is really catching on as we become more linked to the cloud.

How can I get better audio in my videos?

Episode 1213

Robert from Pasadena, CA
Beachtek adapter

Robert is an aspiring filmmaker and he uses a DSLR to make his films. He's planning to upgrade to a better platform, but wants to know how he can improve his audio. Leo suggests Beachtek. They make devices that will allow him to run real XLR microphones into his camera's minijack and take advantage of better preamps as well. That's the best place to start.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1213

Dick DeBartolo

Developed by a mom who was shocked by how infrequently her son changed his sheets at college, Simple Sheets is a product that lets students strip off the dirty sheet, which is velcro'd to another one. You can do it in seconds and get to the 2nd clean sheet. Now the student has time to launder the first sheet to get it ready for the next quick-change. A 4 piece starter kit which includes a storage pocket for bedside electronics is $48.00.

Find out more at SimpleSheets.com

Google Announces New High Performance Router

Episode 1213

Google announced a new router called OnHub, but it's not cheap at $200. It has 13 antennas in it to guard against congestion. It looks at each of 11 bands periodically and switches to the best, uncongested band for best performance. It also has "Quality of Service" so users can prioritize web traffic. And you can control it via your Android or iOS device. It runs on and Leo has a hunch it's for home automation.

Find out more at on.google.com/hub.

Why does my Mac crash?

Episode 1213

Murris from Coronado
Activity Monitor

Murris has an error message that says she's out of application memory and she had to do a hard reset to get it back. Leo says that's called a hard crash. Murris should always make sure she keeps it up to date with OS updates and patches. But chances are, Murris left something on in the background and it may have crashed which caused it.

It could also be what's called a "memory leak," where an app doesn't free memory when it's done. Leo suggests opening up "Activity Monitor" on the Mac and it will tell her what's going on and what's using the memory up.

What laptop should I buy my grand daughter for college?

Episode 1213

Julie from West LA
Apple MacBook Pro

Grandma Julie called a few weeks ago and Leo advised her to get a MacBook Pro for her grand daughter. Leo says that the 13" version would last her all through college. But it may be a good idea to go to the Apple Store and check which one she likes best. There's also the MacBook Air, which is a nice light version. In the middle is the standard Macbook with Retina, but it's a bit pricey. Leo has a 13" that he carries around and it's not bad. The Retina display is beautiful.