Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Why does my computer freeze up?

Jim from Laytonsville, MD

Episode 1463

Jim has a Windows 7 computer and about two months ago it started messing up his mouse, which freezes up for a few seconds or up to 5 minutes. It usually happens after checking his email and then going online for awhile. Then he exits out and the mouse freezes and he has to reboot. Leo says that there's probably something running in the background that's slowing down your computer and causing processes to back up. Leo suggests trying another browser, like Google Chrome.

Can I still buy an answering machine?

Bon from San Diego, CA

Episode 1463

Bob wants to know where he can get a basic answering machine. Do they make them anymore? Leo says that you can still get them from AT&T and Panasonic. Most of them are cordless though, with a basestation for the wireless phones. So it's a phone system and an answering machine all in one. And they're all digital, so there's no tapes to buy. Check Best Buy, Staples, and even Amazon. Leo likes Panasonic because they use the DEKT2 standard.

Can a home assistant device make phone calls?

Stephen from Riverside, CA

Episode 1463

Stephen wants to get a voice operated home device to make phone calls for his mother in law. Leo says that the Amazon Echo only works with other Echo devices. Google Home Assistant, however, can be linked to your phone and can make phone calls by voice. The Chatroom says that Echo Connect will work to make phone calls, especially emergency ones. Leo says that these in home voice assistants are a game changer. Especially for older folks. Good solution. And there cheap enough now that you can put them in every room.

What's the fastest drive I can get for my MacBook Pro?

Brian from Fairview, TN

Episode 1463

Brian wants to upgrade his MacBook Pro RAID drive and wants the fastest drive possible. Leo says that a Thunderbolt 3 external drive would be the fastest you can get for it. Leo recommends the Envoy Pro EX from OWC. It's also bus powered. But a 6TB drive is over $1,000. So it's not cheap. And you want to be sure you get fast drive that can handle it. Otherwise you're paying for speed you're not getting.

Is Linux secure?

Episode 1462

Ted from Louisiana
Linux Penguin

Ted put Linux on an old Vista Machine, but when he went to use the app Turbo Tax online, it said that it wouldn't support Linux. Leo says to try the Chromium browser in Linux. It's more open source. But being a standard web app, it should work regardless. Is it secure? Leo says it is, but it's not 100% flawless. It does have the benefit of being obscure, though. Hackers want to go after the most people, and open source is such a small segment that it's relatively off their radar. Certainly more secure than Windows Vista.

Is a used Windows 7 laptop a good deal?

Episode 1462

Lionel from Los Angeles, CA
Windows 10

Lionel is looking for a used laptop, but all the ones he finds are using Windows 10. He wants to go back to Windows 7. Leo says that buying someone's used laptop is buying someone's problems. There's a reason someone is selling it. Leo recommends a refurbished computer from the original manufacturer like a Dell refurbished laptop. If he does that, there's a good chance he'll get a Windows 7 machine.

Will he find one with a CD drive? Leo says that will be a challenge. HP also sells end of lease laptops will a full warranty. That's a good way to save money too.

Why does it take so long for my computer to boot up?

Episode 1462

Matthew from Austria
Dell Inspiron 17R

Matthew gave his mother in law a Dell computer Inspiron 17R 571 running Windows 10, but it's taking 5 minutes to boot up. Leo suspects that the spinning hard drive may be starting to fail, with difficult to read sectors. It could also be software that's hanging up the bootup process. Matthew should try using the boot log to see what may be causing the issue. He can get to this by holding the Shift key while its booting, and he can choose to create a boot log on the root level of the drive named bootlog.txt.