Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Why does my laptop display look weird?

Beth from Laguna Woods, CA

Episode 1196

Beth's laptop display is acting up. She turned it on and the display went weird with the colors being off, and the orientation being portrait. Leo says it could be a corrupted video driver. It could also be the ribbon cable in the laptop hinge. It's a cheap fix, but she'll need a technician to repair it. Beth can plug in an external monitor to see if it works. If it does, then she'll know it's a faulty connection. She should ultimately take it in to someone for repair.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1195

If you have an older car that doesn't allow you to connect your stereo to your phone, then Dickie D has a great gadget for you. It's called the Kinivo Bluetooth Car Kit with Multipoint. (Model BTC-455) and it allows you to plug in via the cigarette lighter and have a powered audio jack that plugs into your car stereo, which then connects to your phone via bluetooth. Under $50 on Amazon. (If you're positive you’ll only be using one Bluetooth device, you can buy the older model 450 which is about $10 to $15 cheaper.)

What can I do with my Amazon Echo?

Episode 1195

Karen from Tustin, CA
Amazon Echo

Karen finally got her Amazon Echo and she loves it. Leo says he just got his as well. This market of smart assistant technology has really been driven by Siri, Cortana, etc. Echo is the smartest one so far, Leo thinks. Leo says Amazon seems really committed to it.

There's also a great free service called IFTTT (If This, Then That), which will allow Karen to create recipes and set up automated tasks.

How can I recover files from a Mac that won't boot up?

Episode 1194

Dennis from Grand Rapids, MI
Apple FireWire to Thunderbolt Adapter

Dennis has an old iMac from 2006 and he's having problems getting it to boot up. How can he move files from the old Mac to his new Mac? Leo says that there's a utility option called "Target Disk Mode." Press and hold "T" on startup and it'll put the Mac into Target Disk Mode. This means the Mac will appear as an external hard drive to the computer it's connected to.

How can I prevent my computer from slowing down?

Episode 1194

Henry from Los Angeles, CA
HP Stream

Henry uses his laptop to play square dance music. But lately, the music has started to lag. Should he get a new processor? Leo says no. If it was faster before, then the hardware is fine. It's just busy doing other stuff. Hard drives can also get slower as they get more filled. Henry should try restoring it to the way it was the day he bought it, and then update it with all the patches. He should backup his data first, then format the hard drive. Then he can reinstall Windows 7 and install all patches. If the drive is getting flakey, a format should fix that up.

What computer would be safest for online banking?

Robert from Pittsburgh, PA

Episode 1194

Robert wants to know if it's possible to get a virus with read only media. He wants a computer for online banking that can't be written to. Leo says that's an interesting idea. The ideal solution here would be a Chromebook. They're cheap, there are no viruses, and it comes with a power wash feature that brings it right back to the way it was when he first got it. Couple that with second factor authentication, and he'll be golden. He could also boot from the CD drive and that would prevent anything from being written to it.

Should I buy or build a gaming PC?

Reed from Long Island, NY

Episode 1194

Reed wants a gaming computer and he wants to know if he should buy one or build one. Leo says that it used to save a lot of money to build one. That's not true as much now, as there's no overall warranty or tech support that can help if the computer doesn't work. Reed would be his own tech support. And with various part manufacturers, nobody takes responsibility for issues.