Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Is the Asus Chromebit a good way to turn a TV into a computer?

Episode 1250

Bob from Santa Barbara, CA
Asus Chromebit

Bob wants to buy a Chromebit for his TV and turn it into a computer. Is it legit? Leo says it is, but he'll need a keyboard and mouse to use it, and after buying that, it's almost as much as buying a dedicated Chromebook. Leo recommends checking out Anker for inexpensive peripherals. They have one for $20 that includes keyboard and mouse. Any Bluetooth keyboard will work, though.

How can I install a new SSD?

Jeff from North Carolina

Episode 1250

Jeff bought a 1TB SSD and he wants to install it with a fresh install of Windows. Leo says that makes it a lot easier. Jeff can just install the drive and then install WIndows on it. Jeff may have activation issues with it, though. Jeff could also clone the other hard drive by imaging it to the new one. It won't be a clean install, but he can then do a recovery.

Why is my computer highlighting text randomly?

Episode 1249

Melinda from Costa Mesa, CA
Dell XPS Laptop

Melinda has a Dell laptop and it's been highlighting text randomly -- almost like it was being possessed. Dell asked her to reset the laptop to factory specs. She did that. She discovered the hard drive was bad. Leo says he doesn't think it's the hard drive. It's either a faulty track pad or the pad could just be dirty. Dell can repair it under warranty as well. She should ask the technician to look at the track pad. It's likely that's the problem and the tech will fix it.

The Best Products of 2015

Episode 1249

Leo says that the iPhone 6s was a huge change for mobile phones, more than usual. It got 3D Touch, an improved camera, and a faster processor. It was a significant update from Apple and one of the top phones of the year. On the Android side, the Samsung Galaxy Note V was terrific. It has a wonderful camera, and an improved stylus (as long as you don't put it in backwards). There's also the Google Nexus 6P.

How can I hear myself in my headphones while using a USB mic?

Episode 1248

Mike from Portland, ME
Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

Mike is a guest on a few podcasts, and he usually uses his Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB microphone. He also plugs in headphones to his sound card. But he can't hear himself as he talks into the microphone. Leo suggests plugging his headphones into the mic itself. Leo says the reason the sound from the mic is disabled when he plugs into the sound card is because there's a slight delay, which can be very distracting. If he plugs into the mic directly, he'll be able to hear himself without any delay.

Why do I get a bluescreen when unplugging my USB Headset?

Camden from Mission Viejo, CA

Episode 1248

Cam has a USB headset that causes a bluescreen of death when he unplugs it, and then his USB ports stop working. Leo suspects that the USB driver is corrupted. It could also be a bad USB port or short circuit in the headset. But he should always test the driver. He should remove it in Device Manger - Windows Key + X, then select "Device Manager." Then let it reacquire and install the drivers.

What do I do with a hard drive fail warning?

Ann from Oceanside, CA

Episode 1248

Ann is getting a warning that her hard drive is failing. How can she backup her data? Leo says to get an external USB drive and just drag and drop everthing over that. What about her favorites? Leo says she can export her favorites from the browser and email them to herself.

Leo says the computer should be still under warranty and if there's a warning, then it should be replaced. It could also be a false positive. Leo has never had a hard drive fail after a warning. They usually fail without warning. So she should back it up and then take it in to be looked at.