Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

How can I reset Windows?

Windows 10

Episode 1609

Steve from Redondo Beach, CA

Steve has an old Toshiba Satellite Laptop that was running really slow and he's trying to reset Windows 10. He's getting a popup to run disk utility. Leo says it sounds like the hard drive is getting flakey and needs to be replaced. Fortunately, Rick has his data backed up and the hard drives are cheap. So replace the drive and you'll be back in business. $50 for a 2TB spinning drive. But Leo says that SSDs are almost as cheap. So why not go SSD and speed that old Toshiba up?

The Giz Wiz and the Sports Fan

Dick

Episode 1608

This week's gadget from the Giz Wiz is the Wearable Sports Fan. This is a weird gadget! Here's a bit of info about it from Amazon: Hand-free fan was designed as a headphone to free your hands anywhere; Fashion style makes you look so cool. Hanging around your neck, suitable for travelling in hot weather. Low/medium/high speed level. 1800mAh lithium battery. 5-10 hours of working time depends on a different speed.

How Can I Reset My Chromebook?

Chromebook

Episode 1608

Debbie from Mission Viejo, CA

Debbie got a message on her Chromebook that says that Chrome is missing or damaged and she can't log in. Leo says it's easy to fix by using the powerwash utility if she can get to the sign-in screen. However, if she doesn't get to the log in screen, that points to a more serious problem. There's also a keyboard reset - Turn it on and press CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-R. This will open up the powerwash utility and completely reset and reinstall the ChromeOS. If that doesn't work, it's likely a hardware issue. Should she buy a new one? Leo says Chromebooks are still a great solution.

Are Hotspots Secure?

Tiny Hardware Firewall.

Episode 1608

Tucker from Kentucky

Tucker wants to use a captive portal wifi hotspot, but is it secure? Some are poorly made and can leak your data, others can sell data or even input advertising into it. Is Opera a good one? Leo says it's not exactly a VPN, and by giving away the service, that costs money. So they have to be making money somehow. Also, it's not strictly a VPN, it's a proxy service. One thing that Leo recommends is the Tiny Hardware Firewall. It has a built-in webserver, dual wifi radios, and a built-in hardware firewall.

How Can I Transfer Data from SCSI to a Mac?

SCSI PCI Card

Episode 1607

Chris from Los Angeles, California

Chris has to transfer data from old SCSI (scuzzy) hard drives to his Mac. How can he do that? Leo says that SCSI was huge in the 90s, and there may be a SCSI to USB adapter online. Try Amazon, or as a last resort eBay. MonoPrice may also work. You can do it with a PC, as there are Scuzzi to USB adapters for Windows. So it may be that you'll need to get a new PC for it. Here's an article from 2014: https://www.macworld.com/article/2149163/how-to-recover-data-from-an-old...

What is Powerwashing?

Powerwashing on Chromebook

Episode 1607

Mickey from New London, Missouri

Micky wants to know what powerwashing is on a Chromebook? Leo says that it's a feature on Chromebook, that if the computer gets compromised due to a bad update, or some malware, you can use the powerwash setting to completely reset the Chromebook back to its original configuration. 

Why Won't My Fingerprint Reader Work After WIndows Update?

Fingerprint Reader on Laptop

Episode 1607

Andrew from Riverside, CA

Andrew got burned by the MicroSD counterfeit cards that Chris Marquardt talked about here. Leo says that Andrew bought them on Amazon and he says that Amazon has got to start vetting these vendors to make sure they aren't selling counterfeit or bogus SD cards. The important thing to remember though is "if it sounds too good to be true, it often is." Caviat Emptor.

How Can I Prepare Old Hard Drives for eWaste?

Spinning Hard Drive

Episode 1607

Roger from Pasadena, CA

Roger has a bunch of old hard drives and wants to know how to wipe them so his data doesn't get compromised. Leo says that you can take the hard drives apart and hit them with a hammer, that pretty much solves the problem, but it can be a bit dangerous and platters are sometimes made of glass and can shatter. You can use a secure eraser like Derik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN). It will write over and erase the data up to 7 times. That usually makes sure the data is unrecoverable. A giant magnet will also work, like SUPER STRONG. A good eWaste recycler should have one.