What was Microsoft thinking with Surface RT?

Episode 1144

Jack from Middletown, CT
Microsoft Surface RT

Jack has an original Chromebook which he gave it to his daughter and it's now broken. Leo says that's not a bad thing since there are better Chromebooks out there for around $200. But Jack also has a Windows Surface RT tablet and he's wondering what Microsoft was thinking! He thinks it's useless.

Leo says that Microsoft realized that, and doesn't even sell the RT anymore. It was so confusing because it couldn't run software from one Windows platform to another, but it was an attempt to do what the iPad does. It failed rather spectacularly as an ill conceived experiment.

Why do my Windows programs time out and say "not responding" so often?

Dale from Brooksville, NY

Episode 1144

Dale is having issues with his Windows Vista PC where programs will just stop running. He gets a time out message that the program is not responding. Leo has a hunch that the program is just running really, really slow and it's likely the hard drive is getting flakey. Leo advises backing up the data and replacing the drive. Leo recommends going with a solid state hard drive. They're getting less expensive now and it'll be far faster. Then he can use a spinning drive for his data.

What's the best and most simple writing program for Windows?

Episode 1143

Ann from Orange County, CA

Ann wants a simple word processor that would have the least amount of distractions for writing. Leo knows of a few great applications for the Mac, such as WriteRoom. Microsoft Word wouldn't be the best option for her in this case.

ScooterX in the chatroom suggests This is a web-based word processor. also has a distraction free mode, and it's web-based as well.

Should I be concerned about a warning message to backup?

Episode 1141

Tom from Riverside, CA
Hard drive

Tom is getting an error message on his Windows computer that his hard drive may be starting to die. Should be believe it? He just bought it. Leo says to always keep his hard drive backed up, but Leo says that over-relying on Windows can be a mistake. Most hard drives have a technology called SMART which can warn him of some errors. So yes, he should be concerned and always have a backup just in case.

How can I get my crashed hard drive back?

Episode 1141

William from Dallas, TX
Hard drive

William and his Dad built their own computer together. Leo says that's a great project to do together! But his hard drive crashed. He rebooted it and now he can't do anything with the OS. Leo says that it's best to wait. Don't reset because that'll cause the hard drive to spew data across the disk. That could cause the hard drive to become corrupt. Fortunately, William has a backup. So Leo recommends doing a deep, low level format and reinstall Windows. He could try running SpinRite, but that won't solve the corruption of the file system.

What thinner and lighter laptop should I buy?

Episode 1140

Paul from San Diego, CA
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2

Paul needs to replace his big, heavy laptop with something lighter and thinner. Leo suggests the Acer Aspire S7, which is the computer he uses. It's not cheap, at around $1300, but Leo says it'll last longer than cheaper laptops and he'd probably have fewer problems with it.

If he's on a budget, there are some great deals out right now. Paul wanted something touch sensitive, and was looking at the Lenovo Yoga 2. Leo says if he wants touch, that's a great way to go.

Why did my USB thumb drives become read-only after I replaced my hard drive?

Episode 1139

Glen from Baltimore, MD
USB drive

Glen has several USB thumb drives with files on them. His computer hard drive died, so he replaced it. But now he can't write to the thumbdrives anymore. Leo says that's because technically, they're "owned by another." Windows sees that new account as a new user. He can take ownership of them, but it's not trivial. HowtoGeek has an explanation of how he can do this.

How can I get my XP desktop back after installing Webroot?

Episode 1138

Betty from Menneffee, Ca
Windows XP

Betty bought Webroot software for her XP Machine. She renewed and reinstalled it. Now she sees nothing on her screen. The problem with XP is that Microsoft no longer supports it and flaws are making Betty vulnerable. No antivirus will protect her from those vulnerabilities. Leo suggests going into the programs and uninstall everything and start from scratch. Also, here are a few steps Betty can take to protect herself since Microsoft has stopped supporting XP:

What laptop should I buy my daughter for college?

Episode 1138

Becky from Mission Viejo, CA
Apple MacBook Air

Becky wants to get her daughter a computer for college and needs some advise. Half the family is on Mac, half are on PCs. She wants a Mac, but Becky wants her to look at PCs. What should she do? Leo says one thing to do is to call the college and ask what their recommendations are, especially with access to printers. Networks, labs, and special software can determine what computing platform is best. If there's a support group for students, then call them.