laptops

How can I get Microsoft to replace my laptop?

Episode 1412

Johnny from Atlanta, GA

Johnny is a Microsoft developer and he has noticed that his laptop battery has expanded, creating a bulge and warp. So he had to get it repaired. But Microsoft wants $600 to repair it!But there's a silver lining in that Microsoft replaced the laptop for free instead. But it took a few months. Leo says that's irresponsible because a laptop with a bulging battery is basically a bomb waiting to go off. Leo says it's stories like that which led Consumer Reports to ding Microsoft for its terrible long term reliability.

Can I fix my laptop's keyboard?

Laptop Keyboard

Episode 1411

Carrie from Hermosa Beach, CA

Carrie turned on her laptop and a few of her keys don't work anymore, so she can't log in. Leo says that may indicate that her keyboard is dead or that those keys have broken. The good news is that she can plug in a USB keyboard and use it that way. She could also pry up the key caps on her laptop keyboard and see if there's some dirt or lint in them. That can easily cause a lack of connection between the keys above and below. Canned air will get rid of all that.

Why can't I use a third party charger with my HP laptop?

HP Spectre x2

Episode 1409

David from Orange Park, FL

David bought a new HP convertible laptop, and HP has made it so he can't use third party charging systems through the USB C port. Leo says that's anticompetitive, and HP is one of the few companies that does it. It just makes people angry that they are locked into using proprietary accessories with a standard open source port.

Leo suspects that maybe it's just an issue of needing more wattage since he can charge with it while the computer is turned off.

What's a good, repairable laptop?

Lenovo ThinkPad T460s

Episode 1409

Jerry from Hatfield, PA

Jerry runs a dart tournament and he runs it on a spreadsheet through his mobile phone. He wants to use a laptop instead to make it easier for him. Which one should he buy, and can he have two internal drives in it? Leo says that can be done and he'll want to use an SSD for his primary drive. They have special software called wear leveling that extends the life of the SSD. They are more reliable than spinning hard drives because there are no moving parts.

Should I replace my hard drive with an SSD?

SSD

Episode 1406

Jim from Las Vegas, NV

Jim has an HP Pavilion laptop and he thinks his hard drive is about to fail. Should he put a solid state drive in it? Leo says that SSDs are much faster than spinning hard drives, and are more reliable. The question is, can the Pavilion support it? Ideally, he'll need a SATA 2 drive. SATA 3 would be even better if it supports it. Then there's the question of whether he can install it himself or would he have to pay for a tech to do so. It'll have to be in ideal shape and size than the existing hard drive. If all that works, then he should absolutely get one.

Should I buy a Chromebook?

Samsung Chromebook Plus

Episode 1404

Rick from San Clemente, CA

Rick is thinking of making a reverse "Switch." His Mac died and a friend recommended he get a Chromebook since he makes his business on the Internet. Leo says that Chromebooks are a good option, and the ChromeOS is the most secure operating system out there. If something goes wrong, the Powerwash feature would get him right back to where he started.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Dick DeBartolo

Episode 1402

The AirBar Sensor by Neonode turns your non touch screen laptop into a touchscreen computer. The sleek, lightweight device emits an invisible light field over a laptop screen that senses touch from any finger, stylus, paintbrush, etc. AirBar enables touch for most PC laptops running Windows® 10, as well as the MacBook Air 13”. The sleek matte black (PC) or brushed aluminum (Mac) bar attaches to the bottom of a display with magnets and connects instantly through a USB port.

Can I still get a laptop with a CD drive?

Dell Inspiron 15 5000

Episode 1402

Kathy from Tustin, CA

Kathy wants a new computer with a built-in CD drive. Leo says that they're getting fewer and farther between, and both Microsoft and Apple have stopped making them. Dell's Inspiron has one, and Acer and Asus both have it. Is Costco a good place to buy them? Leo says that the advantage of Costco is both their return policy and their extended warranty. But they may be discontinued models as well. So she'll want to be sure that isn't the case.