Windows

How do I log into a Windows computer when the desktop isn't available?

Start Menu

Episode 1550

Josh from Mesa, AZ

John's mom recently passed away and had an old laptop. But when he turns it on, he gets an error "desktop not available." Leo says it's likely that the profile may have gotten corrupted, or is non-existent. Since she's been automatically logging in, that's where the error pops up. But there could be a hidden administrator account with permissions to take over all features. He can Google how to access that. Once he does, he should get the data out of it immediately. Then he should wipe the drive and start over.

Why does Windows want me to reactivate?

Windows 10 Start Menu

Episode 1548

Steven from San Antonio, TX

Steven keeps getting a message that he needs to reactivate Windows. He keeps putting the product number in, and he keeps getting told to reactivate. Leo says he shouldn't need to at all, since it's Windows 10. Once the computer is authorized, it never needs to be authorized again. But it sounds like Microsoft keeps track of location information, and since Steven moved, maybe it's confused and is deactivating it. He'll need to contact Microsoft to solve this one.

Where is my external hard drive in Windows?

Western Digital 2TB Portable Drive

Episode 1548

Jim from Ordway, CO

Jim is having problems with Windows recognizing his external USB drive. But his image catalog says his images are there. Leo says that many photo gallery apps keep a thumbnail for fast referral. So it could have the thumbnail, but not see the original image, if the drive is disconnected or lost. Leo also says that his external drive could be getting flakey. He should get a backup drive and make a copy of his photos. He should save them online, too. Three copies, on two formats, with one off-site. The good news is that hard drives are cheap now. He can get a 1 TB drive for under $100.

Why doesn't my touchpad work?

Laptop

Episode 1545

Greg from New Brunswick, CAN

Greg has a Samsung laptop computer. He had to reinstall Windows 8.1 and wants to upgrade to Windows 10. But his touchpad isn't working, even though Windows says it does. Leo says that he suggests using the actual drivers from the manufacturer. Often they will be different from the Windows driver and will be designed for that model. Chances are, it's a Synaptic touchpad. If that doesn't work, then maybe the touchpad is broken or the cable is loose. Also, the chatroom says that there is a function key, it could be F9, that will turn off the trackpad.

A Popular Microsoft Scam Has Been Traced Back to India

Computer mouse

Episode 1545

For a long time, scammers have been calling or displaying a popup message on PCs with the threat that their computer access will be restricted if they don't call a number and make a payment. According to the New York Times, this official looking message is coming from a scam operation in Mumbai, India - which is the main hub for call centers. Leo says that's because the real tech support people are moonlighting with this scam.

Why is my keyboard and mouse shutting off after running updates?

Keyboard

Episode 1543

Anthony from San Diego, CA

Anthony has Windows 7, and he's started having problems with his keyboard and mouse after a recent update. He tried to talk to Microsoft about it, but the tech told him there was a conflict and the updates it was installing were actually for Windows 10, and it would cost him $300 to resolve it. Leo says whoever that was he was talking to wasn't Microsoft. Leo says in theory that could happen, but Microsoft Update is smart enough to not do that. It should only be installing Windows 7 updates for a Windows 7 machine.

What computer do I need for video editing?

Dell Precision Workstation

Episode 1537

Gary from Walla Walla, WA

Gary wants to buy a PC for video editing. How much should he spend? Leo says that just about any PC can do video editing. The money comes from how much performance he'll want. Leo uses a Dell Precision Workstation with Xeon processors that scream. So they are very powerful and expensive. An iMac would be more than adequate, though, to capture and edit home movies. A MacBook Pro would also work.