Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Why am I getting a blue screen on my computer?

Dave from Chicago, IL

Episode 1191

Dave's wife got a "blue screen," and he thought the monitor was the culprit. Leo says the simple and cheapest solution is to swap out the monitor cable first. If the issue persists, he should try updating the drivers. He can create a bootable thumb drive that will allow him to get into the computer without running the hard drive. He can also do it from a CD. His recovery disc will do this as well. Then if it's a driver, booting to a separate OS would tell him a lot. If it's still blue, then he'll know it's a hardware issue.

Why can't I type with my scrabble game?

Mel from Pennsylvania

Episode 1191

Mel is having trouble with his desktop trying to play a Scrabble game. Leo says that it may be some stray "clicks" from the mouse preventing him from continuing, or the submit button may be stuck. Changing out the mouse could solve the issue, or changing the battery in the wireless mouse. Replacing the keyboard may also be a good idea. Sometimes keys can get stuck.

How secure is home automation?

Bob from Tehachapi, CA

Episode 1190

Bob is interested in home automation, but he's concerned with security. Can it run amuck? Leo says that it's such a new thing, we don't really know all the downsides yet. Keyless entry is the challenge, especially with a car. A car uses keyless entry with the keyfob signal by proximity. You can actually buy a booster to send it out further. But that's a security flaw. Anything with a computer can have flaws and bugs in programming. So it is possible and Bob's right to pay attention to it. But we're in the very early days. Just remember that a lock is an illusion, not a security feature.

Should I buy an iMac with Retina 5K Display?

Episode 1190

Michael from Santa Monica, CA
Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display

Michael's iMac needs to be replaced and he was about to buy a refurbished Mac when he heard the price of the 5K iMac was dropped. Leo says that not everything Apple does gets a huge announcement. The 5K iMac is gorgeous, but he shouldn't consider the hard drive upgradable. Only the RAM can be boosted in that model. An iMac with 8GB of RAM is pretty good, and a 1TB fully spinning drive is good. Or he can go with a 256GB SSD and use an external hard drive for data. An SSD is the single best upgrade for most computers. It really does speed them up.

Should I buy an HP or Dell computer?

Lou from West Covina, CA

Episode 1190

Lou has to buy a new laptop. He's looking at Dell and HP, and he hears that they are second and third best. Leo says that stats can be deceiving. On paper a laptop can look great, but in reality, his experience could be different. Usability is more than specs. He'll have to dig deeper. HP looks great on paper, but some features can be annoying. Another frustration of HP is that they traditionally have been loaded up with trial or bloatware. They've gotten better, but still nowhere near for Leo to recommend. They're also about to spin off the PC division. So its future is uncertain.

When will the next Microsoft Surface Pro come out?

Episode 1190

Alan from Los Angeles, CA
Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Leo says he's pretty confident there will be a Surface Pro 4 when Windows 10 comes out, and he thinks it'll be a good choice. According to Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley, Windows 10 should be out at the end of July. Alan wonders if the new Surface Pro is really going to be a big improvement over the Surface Pro 3, or if it just will lower the price of the Surface Pro 3. Leo says either way, he's golden! He'll get to choose. Leo thinks even the lower end Microsoft Surface 3 is a good choice.

How can I use my own router with FIOS?

Steve from Hermosa Beach, CA

Episode 1190

Steve has FiOS and the Wi-Fi seems to be slow. How can he speed it up? He'd like to bypass the Verizon router and use his own. Leo says that he'll have to use the Verizon device to connect to FiOS, but he can disable the router part and use his own router instead. He'll need to connect them with ethernet to make it work. The router is also built into the modem and is using network addressing. Steve should put the router part in "bridge mode" to just hand it off to the router.