Microsoft

What should I do with a lemon Microsoft Surface tablet?

Episode 1484

Erin from Santa Clarita, CA
Microsoft Surface Tablet

Erin is on her fourth Microsoft Surface tablet and it keeps failing on her. Microsoft keeps replacing it, but she's nearing the end of her warranty and is worried that once it passes, she'll out of luck. Rich says he's had a similar issue and he's read that this is a more widespread problem. Depending on how she paid for it, some credit cards have an extended warranty. But she'll also have lemon law protection.

How can I authenticate an old version of Windows?

Episode 1477

Ed from Santa Maria, CA
Windows 7

Ed had to reinstall an old version of Windows and when he tried to authenticate it, it won't let him verify with a serial number. Leo says that's probably because Microsoft has discontinued the authentication server and turned it off. So he can't activate it, and it will expire in 30 days. There's probably a workaround though if he does a Google search. Microsoft really should keep it running for people like Ed. He may be able to call them and get it authenticated, but it may just be time to move on.

How can I email files securely?

Episode 1471

Fred from Fort Worth, TX
Email

Leo says that Fred is right to be concerned about the security of sending emails because the contents of the messages can be read along the way. If the email is going from one Gmail address to another, however, it would be secure. Ultimately, though, Leo doesn't recommend sending attachments at all. Opening attachments is how most people end up getting infected, and it doesn't just affect that person either. It will spread to all of that person's contacts, affecting their family, business, and the internet as a whole.

Why won't Windows 7 activate?

Episode 1465

Mike from Kentucky
Microsoft Windows 7

Mike reinstalled Windows 7, but it won't authenticate. He contacted Microsoft and they want him to buy Windows 10. Leo says that can happen when modifying a computer significantly to the point that Windows doesn't recognize it as the same computer. But Microsoft still supports Windows 7, and they can reassign his serial number to the new configuration, so that's odd. It may be that using reinstall disks that didn't come with his computer could be causing it.

How can I wipe a Windows computer that's locked with a password?

Episode 1462

Don from Los Angeles, CA
Windows 10

Don recently got a used PC, but it's locked with a password. Since the password prompt comes up after the PC has loaded Windows, Leo says it's easy to wipe it and reinstall the operating system. All he needs to do is download the Windows 10 installation tool from Microsoft called the "Media Creator's Tool", and put that on a thumb drive. Then he can boot to that drive, format, and reinstall it from there.

Processor Hack Affects All Computers Made in Last Ten Years

Episode 1451

Processor

The latest exploit "Spectre" affects every single chip made in the last ten years. At first, security researchers thought that the exploit only affected Intel processors, but it turns out this hack also effects ARM, AMD, and any other processor that uses speculative prediction. The white hat hackers who found the flaw discovered that you can use it to access valuable data including passwords and other information. Leo says that Microsoft has already pushed out a fix, and Apple's High Sierra has patched the vulnerability with a recent fix. Apple has also patched the iPhone and iPad.