Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Should I buy a Mac for college?

Episode 1401

Thomas from Ohio
Apple MacBook Pro

Thomas is going to college this fall, studying computer science. He wants to get a new laptop to supplement his desktop at school. Should he buy a MacBook Pro? Leo says that he should and the reason is that Macs are built on the Linux kernel, making it ideal for computer programming. Before he buys anything, though, he should call the school and talk to the head of the Computer Science department and ask their recommendations. Worst case scenario, he can buy the Mac and then install Windows or Linux on it. The downside is that they are more expensive.

Why does my computer keep resetting?

Carol from Dana Point, CA

Episode 1401

Carol's computer monitor died, and she bought a new one. Now she has a screen that says "Welcome to your new computer" and her settings have vanished. After running a restore point, she got it back to normal, and the same thing happened the next day. Leo says that the her Windows profile may have gotten corrupted, which can happen. Carol can find instructions on how to fix a corrupted profile at support.microsoft.com. The best way to fix it is to reinstall Windows, though.

How do I make room on my hard drive?

Episode 1401

David from Vacaville, CA
WinDirStat

David's hard drive is filled and he used WinDirStat to see what's filling it up. He sees that there's 25GB of "installer" files. Can he get rid of those? Leo says he suspects that those files are hot fixes for Windows and he can't really delete them because it could make his system vulnerable. Leo suggests running Windows' Disk Cleanup Utility. It's not too aggressive and will clean out temp files, download files, etc. Just press the Windows key and type "Disk." Another thing to look for is previous Windows installations.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1400

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget is from MEEM and it's a fresh new take on smartphone back up. It's a phone charger cable that automatically backs up personal data on a smartphone to the cable. It does that every time the phone is charged. With people using phones more and more for high quality photos and video and quick text communications, a phone’s storage fills up quickly with precious content and the more personal information stored, the higher the anxiety of losing or having that data stolen is. With MEEM, backing up your smartphone is a simple solution that fits into a daily routine.

What's a good Wi-Fi laser printer?

Episode 1400

David from Pasadena, CA
Brother Laser Printer

David wants a good Wi-Fi home printer. Leo says that Epson makes a great color printer. Brother makes a good laser printer that's very inexpensive. Those are the two top choices for Leo.

He also has an Apple TV and wants to know if he'll have to upgrade his Apple TV to get Amazon Prime. Leo says no, it's just an app and it will appear in a firmware update or he can download it.

(Disclaimer: Epson is a sponsor)

What's a good Windows alternative to the 5K iMac?

Episode 1400

Rob from Vacaville, CA
Microsoft Surface Studio

Rob wants to replace his 5K iMac with a Windows desktop. He loves the hardware, but he's just not a fan of macOS. Leo says that if he wants flexibility with his hardware, then Windows is a far better option. Leo says that he doesn't have to get rid of the iMac if he likes that hardware, he can just run Windows on it through Boot Camp. He'll just need to buy a copy of Windows 10.

How should I back up my data?

Episode 1400

Steve from Riverside, CA
Synology DS416 Slim

Steve is in the process of digitizing everything and backing it up. Now he needs to consider backup options. Leo says the first thing he should do is make sure his data is encrypted. Windows 10 Pro offers BitLocker, which uses full disk encryption that unencrypts when he logs into his Windows account. He should be careful not to lose his password or certificates. He should back those up and keep them in a safe place.