Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

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.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1143

Dick DeBartolo

The holiday brings gifts and that means gadget suggestions from the Giz Wiz! Dickie D has three great stocking stuffers, under $10, for your favorite techie:

1. Eggheads LED Wobble Nightlight - Just tap it, and it turns on, then you can carry it to the bathroom or any place you have to go. In case you forget to tap it or shake it so goes off, an auto-timer will shut it off after about six minutes. The super bright LED bulbs last for more than 100,000 hours. It’s available in colors and is $7.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond.

What Mac should I buy?

Episode 1143

Lynn from Santa Clarita, CA
MacBook Air

Lynn is trying to decide what Mac laptop to buy. She can buy a used, tricked out MacBook Pro, a new MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air. Leo says that if someone is offering to install all her programs onto the laptop, that could be illegal unless he transfers ownership to Lynn. If he doesn't, then they won't work. Sounds like he's misleading her. Leo recommends going to the Apple store and looking at their refurbished laptops. They will be fully warrantied and he can still save some.

Why does my PC shut down when I transcode video?

Episode 1143

Mike from Fountain, CO
Processor

Mike has an old Core 2 Duo Intel computer that's worked fine for 5 years. Now it's starting to shut down when he does transcoding of video. Leo says that overheating is likely the problem. When he's working on processor intensive actions, the chip can heat up, and PCs are designed to shut down when overheating in order to protect the PC. So it may be that he needs to clean out the case, but it may also be that the thermal paste has dried out and it needs to be reapplied.

What MacBook should I buy for my daughter?

Episode 1142

JoAnne from Warwick, RI
MacBook Air

JoAnne's daughter needs a new Mac computer and she wants to get her one for Christmas. Would the MacBook Air be a good choice? Leo says that will make her daughter very happy. What kind of storage should she get with it? Leo says that the Solid State Drives are super fast, but they aren't cheap. Leo says it really depends on what she uses it for. Leo uses 128GB models because he keeps most of his stuff in the cloud. But for most, 256GB is a good size.