Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Why doesn't my laptop boot up?

Episode 1496

Greg from New Brunswick, Canada
GRC SpinRite

Greg's laptop is caught in a reboot loop. What can he do? Leo suspects that Greg's hard drive is failing, causing the laptop to stall during boot up. Leo says he can use SpinRite by GRC to move the data off bad sectors and mark them to avoid in the future. But the software is expensive and hard drives are cheap. If he needs to get his data, though, it's worth trying. Leo recommends that Greg buy a new drive, and he should get an SSD while he's at it.

Why can't my new computer see the data on my old hard drive?

Episode 1495

Bonnie from Costa Mesa, CA
Western Digital MyPassport

Bonnie bought a new computer and plugged in her external hard drive. She can see the data on her old computer, but she can't read it on her new computer. Leo has a hunch that her WD Passport runs a proprietary utility that encrypts her data to protect it. She probably will need to install that same software on the new computer in order to see the data.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1495

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget from Dickie D is The Padcaster Ultimate Studio, which can transform your iPad into an all-in-one mobile production studio. The company says it's rugged and versatile, so you can create professional video anywhere and anyway you want. With the included wide-angle lens, Padcaster unidirectional microphone and dual mic/headphone cable, all you need is an iPad and your imagination. Use with your favorite apps to shoot, edit and upload video on the fly – or stream live right from the iPad.

Why is my Chromebook screen resolution so poor?

Episode 1494

Barb from Rancho Mirage, CA
Acer Chromebook 14"

Barb bought a Chromebook and the screen really isn't that great. Leo says that with a Chromebook under $400, corners have to be cut somewhere and it's likely the Chromebook manufacturer opted for a lower quality screen. If she paid more, she could get a better screen. The Acer 14" model Chromebook has a nice screen. Or, she could return the Chromebook and get a Chrome Box that she could use an external monitor with.

Why don't my laptop speakers work?

Episode 1494

Mark from Escondido, CA
Headphone jack

Mark has an HP laptop for a backup when his other PC is busy. The internal speakers are not working now, but USB headphones work. What can he do? Leo says that if he can hear sound through the headphones, that means his sound card driver is working. And he can't really replace the hardware anyway because it's soldered to the motherboard. The miniJack, however, doesn't work. Leo says that points to the headphone jack being broken. If he's handy with a soldering iron, he could fix it. But that also doesn't solve the speaker problem.