Windows

How can I get the sound back on my computer?

Esther from California

Episode 1103

Esther's sound in her computer suddenly stopped working. Esther should first check the speaker cables to be sure they are still seated. Unplug and plug them back in. Esther can also see what happens when she plugs in headphones. If that works, then it's not the sound driver. She should also make sure her speakers are turned on in the computer's settings. She might even try a simple reboot. If she can't get sound after checking all of those things, it may need to be looked at by a technician, or she may have to reinstall Windows.

What happened to my Windows desktop background?

JR from Carlsbad, CA

Episode 1102

JR's laptop background went completely black one day. He can see the icons and everything, but the desktop background is completely black. He tried to change the images but it's still black. Leo says that sometimes Windows will turn the background black if it thinks the copy of Windows is unregistered. It may be there's a corrupted theme or drive. He should try using the recovery disk and choose "repair."

Why won't Windows load on my laptop?

Jim from Corona, CA

Episode 1101

Jim can't get Windows to start on his used laptop that he just bought. Leo suggests trying safe mode with networking to see if it'll start. He should hold down shift as he powers down and turns it on. Then choose "Safe Mode with Networking." If it starts up, then it's a bad video driver. If not, then he has a damaged windows install from the hard drive and he'll need to format the drive and reinstall Windows.

What laptop, desktop and tablet should I buy?

Episode 1101

Rusty from San Diego, CA
Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Rusty is a real estate broker and he needs to upgrade his desktop, laptop and tablet. He wants to buy it all at once. Leo says that since most of his work is on Windows, he should stay in the ecosystem. One way to eliminate the desktop and laptop is to go with the Windows Surface Pro 3 tablet, which can also work as a laptop. It runs a full version of Windows 8 and will run all his programs. Leo suggest that Rusty find a Microsoft store to visit and look at them.

Should I buy a Chromebook?

Episode 1100

Alex from Long Beach, CA
HP Chromebook

Alex is looking to get a Google Chromebook but people are trying to convince him to get a Windows laptop instead. Leo says that the fundamental difference between a Chromebook and a Windows laptop is that there's very little storage on a Chromebook -- everything is meant to be accessed from the cloud. The entire Chromebook is basically like using only the Google Chrome web browser on a Windows computer.

Is BitLocker good enough for encryption?

Julian from Santa Barbara, CA

Episode 1099

Julian uses BitLocker to encrypt his laptop hard drive. Is that adequate? Leo says absolutely. It's more than sufficient. And with more than 12,000 laptops being lost and stolen every week at airports, it's a wise idea to encrypt his laptop hard drive when he's traveling. But remember -- BitLocker requires certificates, so he can't lose them. It's wise to back them up or he won't be able to decrypt his drive. He should make sure that he uses a very good, random password for the encryption as well.

Why am I getting an error message that my recovery partition is running out of space?

JR from Hewitt, TX

Episode 1096

JR has a Lenovo computer, and has been getting error messages that his recovery partition is nearly full. Leo says that installing programs on Windows is almost always done to the C drive by default. He can choose otherwise, but it works best keeping all the programs on same drive as Windows. Leo says he shouldn't be able to put anything on the recovery drive, as it shouldn't even be visible from the operating system. The recovery partition is designed to only be slightly bigger than what is needed to hold the Windows recovery software.