Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Why does my computer shut down intermittently?

John from Orange, CA

Episode 1074

John's computer shuts down intermittently. Leo says he has a computer that does it and it's proven to be a flaw, and the company is replacing it. Leo says it's usually related to the power supply, or the computer is overheating. This can trigger a reset. The chat room says it can happen when watching YouTube as video playback is challenging. On the software side, he should make sure he has the latest video card drivers. But if that doesn't work, then he'll have to bring it in.

Why is Carbonite killing my laptop battery?

Tommy from Birmingham, AL

Episode 1074

Tom has a Carbonite account and when he runs it, it really drains the battery. Leo says that could be because that initial backup will keep going and not allow the laptop to go to sleep. But once it does, it may not be as drastic. Leo also says that the battery indicator isn't exactly accurate either. It's more a general idea and Leo thinks it gets better over time.

Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor.

What could have used up 20GB of my data plan overnight?

Episode 1074

Bob from Los Angeles, CA
Verizon Jetpack LTE Mobile Hotspot

Bob has been getting warnings that he's "overdrawn" on his MiFi data plan and wants to know if he's been struck by the Heartbleed virus. Leo says no. Heartbleed attacks servers, not mobile devices. More likely, Bob has an app that is active and downloading everything. Someone may have also commandeered the system and is using it.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1073

This week's gadgets come from Satechi and include the Smart Monitor Stand F1 with four USB 2.0 Ports and Headphone/Microphone Ports in the front, making it easy to plug in when you need to, rather than reach behind your computer. It's aluminum alloy legs can support devices up to 22 lbs according to Satechi. Also included in the box are 2 audio cables - 1 for microphone, 1 for headphones, and a USB cable, provided to connect your computer to the F1 Stand. It costs $39.99.

Why am I unable to update Windows? Do I have a virus?

Mike from Lake Forest, CA

Episode 1072

Mike says his daughter's computer has a virus, and now he can't run Windows update. She was downloading music. Leo wonders what the symptoms were that led Mike to believe he had a virus. It could be a bad sector on a hard drive. Leo advises scanning with an online antivirus checker. Leo also suggests running Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool. Click on "Start," then select "Run,", type "MRT" and hit enter. He should choose to do a thorough scan. He can also try MalwareBytes.org.

Should I use a hard drive or SSD to rip my DVDs?

Episode 1072

Jamie from Hagerstown, MD
Crucial SSD

Jamie wants to rip hundreds of DVDs and compress them on his computer. Leo says that's a great idea. But since Jamie has an SSD, it would be a good idea to get an external drive. Jamie is worried about bumpy roads, though. Leo says SSDs would be better for that, since they don't have moving parts. But hard drives also should be able to handle that. Still, Leo says he understands the concern. Either way would work, and it won't be hard on the hard drive to do the ripping. Sold state would be ideal for a trucker's computer, but the cost per gig is much more.

What's the best printer for every day use?

Episode 1072

Oromay from California
Epson Expression 310

Oromay bought a Lenovo laptop and is having trouble connecting it to her Dell printer, and Dell says it's too old to support the Lenovo. So she's thinking of getting an HP printer. Why HP? Because she saw it on sale in the paper. Leo says that Laser printers would give her a lower cost per page, even though they're a bit more expensive up front. They don't do photos very well, though. Deskjets are better for photography and home use because the use isn't as intense as in the office. So Leo advises a wireless networking inkjet that prints photos.

Why does my computer freeze when waking up from sleep mode?

Episode 1072

Michael from Garden Grove, CA
BIOS

Mike's computer freezes up when it's coming out of sleep mode. Leo says that it's a common problem with computers, especially Macs. But even Windows machines have this happen. It's like the computer is "groggy." Sleep puts the computer into a low power mode but still feeds power to the RAM to prevent the user from losing information. It can be problematic, though. Hybernation has it's own similar issues. Leo suspects that since the mouse and keyboard work, that the computer hasn't really crashed. He should do a Google search for the specific computer model.