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Episode 1080 May 4, 2014

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Neil from Phoenix, AZ Comments

Neil built a killer desktop computer, but he's now finding his needs are simpler now. So he's thinking of getting an iPad. Leo says it really comes down to what he wants a computer for. He wouldn't write a novel on it, but for surfing the internet, doing email, and documents, it's ideal.

Neil says it lacks external storage, though. Leo says that is an issue. The iPad does come in an 128GB model now, but most of us store our data in the cloud, where he can access it any time. So he really won't need that external storage on the iPad.

Watch Jeff from Sun Valley, CA Comments

Jeff has a few Windows XP machines and wants to know if Microsoft will continue to support Windows Genuine Advantage for it to reinstall it. Leo says they will continue to allow that. Just don't expect them to release any new patches. Does he have enough RAM at 3GB? Leo says that is plenty, especially since Windows XP is 32 bit and can only see 4GB.

Watch Mark from Santa Ana, CA Comments

Mark is a bit frustrated that he can't automatically backup videos using Carbonite. Leo says that is by design, because videos use up a lot of bandwidth. It would kill his internet access for days, weeks, or even months just to backup videos. It's fine for documents and images, but he really needs to do the math in order to do video and then determine when he wants to do it. Leo says that's why he recommends backing up to a hard drive that he can take off site.

(Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor)

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Thomas from Zurich, Switzerland Comments

Thomas uses Skype a lot and it drives him nuts that the video will suddenly go into widescreen, and the audio degrades in quality. Leo says that's by design as Skype will see how much bandwidth he has and then adjust the video accordingly, even if it degrades the audio. Leo says he can get a program called WebCam Settings in the Mac App Store which will give him more control. It's about $8. But it may not overrule Skype.

If he had a Windows machine, there's an app by NodeWave called Force Skype HD Video. If he buys his own webcam, rather than using the webcam on the computer, he may have better control of what's going on with his video image. Leo suggests looking at the Cisco Precision HD camera, but it isn't cheap.

Watch Diane from Chicago, IL Comments

Diane's Android phone had the Android Kit Kat update pushed to her and now all her passwords are gone. Leo says that if she has the setting checked that allows Google to restore her settings and passwords (under "Backup and Reset"), then she can reset them. If it isn't, then she's unfortunately out of luck. So moving forward, Leo recommends having that box checked, plus the box for automatic restore.

Watch Diane from Chicago, IL Comments

Leo says that just videos, images and MP3s can't fill up that much space all by itself. There has to be something else on the drive. Leo advises using a program called SpaceSniffer. It's free. Another is called WinderStat and TreeSize. Leo also thinks that Diane has backups on it. Lenovo has automated backups, and if it's backing up without deleting the old ones, it will get filled up pretty quickly.

Watch Jim from Lakewood, CO Comments

Jim bought Microsoft Office 365 for three of his computers, and he's having trouble with licensing on one of his computers. Leo says he'll have to be logged in or it'll give him that pop-up. But it also sounds like Microsoft's copy protection is running amuck.

Leo advises logging out and logging back in. He should also try uninstalling and reinstalling Office. If that doesn't work, then it's likely that running as a limited user is causing the issue. He'll need to right click the icon and then select "run as administrator." He should just do that one time and it'll save the information and he won't have to do it again. But when he runs as a limited user, the program can't save the login information.

Watch Heather from Asheville, NC Comments

Heather is a writer and her track pad isn't working on her Lenovo laptop. She upgraded to a new Dell, and issues with it, so she returned it. She's afraid to buy a new computer because she can't find a laptop with a track point that works.

Leo says that looking for reviews of laptops can be an indicator of a problem brewing. Leo says that the best thing users can do when they're having trouble is post their reviews so that others can see the issues. The companies tend to watch them, also. Not many companies make track points on laptops anymore, either.

Watch Stan from Bettsville, OH Comments

Stan is on the local village council and wants to set up free Wi-Fi at their local parks. He doesn't know where to start, though. Leo says what Stan wants is a WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider). When cities do public Wi-Fi, they go to a company and contract with them to do it for free in exchange for advertising. So that may be an option.

Google has a program called Google Community Wi-Fi. Local companies would be better than larger corporations.

Watch Wally from Adrian, MI Comments

Wally has a corrupted SD card and while he can get videos off it, they can't be played. Leo says that if the video file isn't complete, there's a good chance he won't be able to play it. There may be software that can rebuild the corrupted video, but what he really wants is to get every bit of the data off every sector. Leo uses Recuva by Piriform. It's very good. Then, open the files in VLC Video Player. It's the least vulnerable to file corruption issues.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Eric from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Eric recently doubled his RAM to 4GB, running Windows 7, and lately it's been running really slow. Leo says that often backing up data, wiping the drive and reinstalling Windows will get rid of the "cruft" that can slow down a computer. It'll also refresh the drive. If that's still leaving it slow, then it's time to get a new hard drive.

Watch Mike from Glendale, CA Comments

Mike has written a novel, but he has to send in his computer for repair and is worried that even if he deletes it, it'll be recoverable. How can he be sure? Leo says to first make sure he's made at least three copies of it so it's backed up. Then he can erase the computer by using Apple's built-in "secure erase" feature. He'll have to reboot the Mac and hold down Command and R keys, and then launch Disc Utility. There's a secure erase feature in there that will write over the drive several times and remove all the data. Nobody will be able to recover that.

If Mike doesn't want to erase the whole drive, he can also securely erase just that file. To do that, he can drag it into the trash, and then in the Finder menu, he can select "secure empty trash." That will do the same thing.

For Windows, DBAN (Derik's Boot and Nuke) will securely erase the drive. Always back up the computer before bringing it in for repair because they will either replace the computer or they may wipe the drive during the repair to get it back to it's original configuration.

Watch Zack from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Zack has an old Windows Vista machine. He uses ESET's Nod32 and wants to know if he can remove it from one computer and put it onto another. Leo says that can be tricky because AntiVirus software is designed not to be uninstalled, otherwise malware would do that. So he may need to spend some time over at ESET's support page to learn how to correctly do that.

Watch Elwood from Los Angeles, CA Comments

Elwood has a cell phone but he's having trouble listening to The Tech Guy on it from the browser. Leo says that with Android, Leo likes iHeartRadio and TuneIn Internet Radio. Both apps will work great. This is much better than trying to listen through the browser.

He can listen through the TWiT app as well. Will he be using minutes? Leo says no. He will use data though. Unless he's listening on Wi-Fi.

Watch Eileen from Wilmington, DE Comments

Eileen has a son and he was thinking of buying him a cellphone. He won't be making phone calls with it. Leo says that a tablet is probably going to be a better option for him since he has OCD. The Apple iPad or the Google Nexus 7 would be great. She'll need to have LTE or 4G built into it, though. Just be sure to get one that is LTE compatible. T-Mobile has very affordable data plans. It may be cheaper to go to the wireless company since they will subsidize it.

Watch Torry from Floyd, VA Comments

Torry has been a programmer since he was a kid and he has a bunch of 5 1/4" floppy discs with his original programs on it. Where can he get a USB drive that can read them? Leo says that at this point, eBay may be the best bet. But it's quite possible that he may not be able to get one that's USB powered. The challenge is going to be that it uses a serial interface and he'll have to have an adapter in order to get it to work.

Watch Win from Madison, WI Comments

Win has a Lenovo computer and needs to make recovery discs. Leo says that there's probably a utility on it that will allow him to do it. Lenovo might also ship him a set for a nominal fee. What about doing it before he connects it to the internet so it won't be infected? Leo says it's unlikely, but that's good thinking.

Watch Win from Madison, WI Comments

Leo says he'll want at least 5 MB downstream consistently. 5MB down and 1MB up is the minimum he should accept for watching video.