Windows 7

Should I Install Linux onto My Old Windows XP for DVR Purposes?

Linux

Episode 1603

Mark from Pittsburgh, PA

Mark has an old Windows 7 / XP machine with Windows Media Center and is looking to repurpose it. Mark is wondering if he should pull the hard drive and install Linux onto the drive and use MythTV DVR application on it? Leo says that it should be fine, but warns Mark of using the machine for more than just a DVR machine. Leo says that there are risks using an XP machine since there haven't been new updates for XP machines in some time, it could be infected with viruses passively when going online.

How Can I Reinstall Windows 10 if the Hard Drive Dies?

Windows Media Creation Tool

Episode 1592

Rick from Ventura, CA

Rick upgraded Windows 10 on a secondary drive, keeping Windows 7 on his C drive. Now he has a dual boot option. However, with Windows 7 support going away, how can he make sure he's OK if he has to replace that secondary drive? Leo says it'll authenticate automatically because Microsoft gives an entitlement based on the entire machine, not a hard drive. If he had to replace the motherboard, video card and hard drive, then he'd have an issue. But changing a hard drive won't cause the problems.

Will Windows 7 stop working next year?

Windows 7

Episode 1569

Ron from Laguna Nigel, CA

Ron hears that he won't be able to use Windows 7 after 2020. Does that mean he can't use his computer? Leo says no. The so-called "end of life" phase, Microsoft won't be updating the operating system with security patches. So he uses it at his own risk online. But if there's something really bad, Microsoft usually puts out a fix. And Leo has a hunch that the 2020 end of life date will be extended.

Leo also says most infections come from out-of-date browsers. So keep the browsers updated. Practice safe online computing. Update the AVS.

Can I downgrade to Windows 7?

 Windows 7

Episode 1567

Tom from Carson, CA

Tom wants to know if he can downgrade to Windows 7 from Windows 10 without it upgrading automatically. Leo says that after 30-60 days, that ability has been lost. It makes it really hard to roll back unless he decides in that time frame. The only option is to make a Windows 7 Image and keep going back to it.
Tom was going to buy the Motorola Moto G6, but the G7 came out. That caused the price of the G6 drop by $50. Is it worth buying the G7? Leo likes them. So will there be a huge difference? Not really. There's no need to wait for the G7 to be shipped.

Should I update my mom to Windows 10?

Windows 10 Start Menu

Episode 1559

Bryant from Pennsylvania

Bryant's mother has a Windows 7 desktop and uses her Verizon Hotspot for internet access. Should she use an easier device? Leo says that Windows 7 was a great version of Windows, but Microsoft will end of life support in 2020. Leo recommends installing Windows 10. Leo also thinks making the switch to a Mac Mini may be a good idea as well. Another option, since she uses GIMP, is to use Linux, if she can handle it.

Do I need to pay for antivirus software?

Windows 10 Start Menu

Episode 1556

Kevin from Moreno Valley, CA

Kevin has an old laptop and wants to know if he needs Webroot antivirus. Leo says that back in the day, Webroot was very good. But lately, If he's able to update to Windows 10, Windows has its own antivirus called Windows Defender which is very good. Before Windows 10, Microsoft had Windows Security Essentials. Both are essentially the same, and they're free.

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 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.

Do I need a new router?

Router

Episode 1521

Paul from Sun Valley, CA

Paul runs a utility to test his router and it always fails for buffer bloat. Should he get a new router? Leo says his does as well. When RAM got cheap, the router manufacturers boosted the RAM and it actually had the opposite effect by slowing down the buffer. Leo's opinion is that buffer bloat is over rated. He can ignore it. Eventually router makers have come to realize that buffer bloat can be handled in other ways. Leo recommends getting a second opinion with Netalyzer.