old computers

How can I keep my old laptop from a blue screen of death?

Blue Screen of Death :(

Episode 1746

Daniel from Chatsworth, CA

Daniel's Thinkpad runs Windows XP and is experiencing the blue screen of death, or BSoD for short. Daniel can use the original install discs and go into recovery mode. That can fix anything that is going wrong. That will run the Windows System File Checker and replace any system files that are damaged. But it may also be a hard drive that is starting to fail. It would be a good idea to replace the hard drive. Luckily, it's easy to do with that Thinkpad.

Why Can't I Log Into Google Voice?

Voice

Episode 1743

Bob from San Diego, CA

Bob is having trouble with Google Voice. It won't let him log in. It just "beach balls." Leo says to try clearing out the cache of the browser. Or try a different browser. See if he can log in from a different browser. That's the easiest solution. Download Firefox. Bob can't do that. His computer is too old. Leo says that there comes a point where a computer can be so old that other applications can't support it. 

How can I run old Windows programs on my Mac?

VMWare Software

Episode 1732

Sarafine from Studio City, CA

Sarafine has a MacBook Air and two old PCs with unique programs on them that she uses. How can she consolidate them? She doesn't have installation discs. Leo says that Virtualization could work and have Sarafine can then eliminate both those old PCs. VMWare or Parallels is what Leo recommends. It will then enable Sarafine to run Windows virtually and access the data from the Cloud or an external hard drive. That way she won't have to worry about those old PCs dying on her. She can create a drive image of the hard drives and then open that image within Virtual Machine. 

Why do I have to reboot my Mac Mini to get it to work?

Mac Mini

Episode 1732

Alan from Houston, Texas

Alan has a 2011 Mac Mini that acts as his home entertainment system. Leo recommends using Plex to run it because it'll organize it really well. But the MacMini acts as a great home theater system. But Alan has to reboot it before it the screen stops being blank. Should he reset the SMC? Leo says that's a good guess. It could be that it's not powering up the first time. But resetting it isn't a touch of a button. It varies from model to model. You can also do CMD-OPT-PR to reset your PRAM. But Leo also says you don't really have to turn the Mac Mini off.

What Computer Should I Buy For Word Processing?

Chromebook

Episode 1729

Lee from Menefee, CA

Lee wants to know if she can buy a computer to use as a word processor. Leo says that since Lee has a Chromebook, she already has all she needs. Just use Google Docs. Or, she can also use Microsoft Office Online. So there's no need to buy a separate device. And the best thing is, Chromebook will back up everything you do in the cloud, protecting data automatically. Learn to love the cloud.

Is My Old Netbook Still Safe to Use Online?

Windows 7

Episode 1713

Bob from Brea, CA

Bob wants to know if he can use his old Samsung Netbook on the Internet. Leo says that Netbooks were woefully slow and underpowered and didn't wear well. It also lowered the expectation of what we should pay for a laptop. It also was driven by Windows 7, which has stopped being supported by Microsoft, and as such, might be a security issue. At some point, a hack may be the risk. Leo says that Bob could upgrade it to Windows 10, or he could even run Linux on it. PopOS is one.

Or better yet, upgrade to a new Chromebook.

How can I get data off a really old hard drive?

VGA

Episode 1538

Tyler from Oklahoma City, OK

Tyler has a 20-year-old computer and he needs to get some data off the hard drive. He's having trouble finding a port to connect his video monitor to. He doesn't have VGA. Leo says he'll have to have a VGA port because that was the standard back then. If there's no VGA, then it could be a server. But he may be able to find an old video card to plug into it.

Leo recommends just getting a hard drive enclosure for it. He'll need an IDE model. Then he can connect it via USB to his current computer. That's far easier than trying to connect everything to it to see what's on it.

Can I sell an old computer?

Apple I

Episode 1501

Randy from Temecula, CA

Randy has an old handheld computer and wants to know if he can sell it. Leo says that most old computers eventually become worthless as far as the market goes, but if it's a unique item, like one of the first computers sealed in a box, then it becomes kind of a museum piece. That could make it worth something. The original Apple 1, for instance, is worthless form a computing point of view, but from a nostalgic, historical point of view, it's worth about $300,000 right now.

Check eBay under the completed listings. That will tell him what he can get for it.

Why won't my old computer boot up?

Hard drives

Episode 1457

Penny from Long Beach, CA

Penny has an old tower computer that she wants to get rid of. Leo suggests keeping the hard drive and donating the rest of the PC. She tried to boot it up to move the data off the hard drive, but it won't boot. Leo suggests that she check her keyboard connection. Sometimes a computer won't boot if a keyboard isn't properly connected. The BIOS battery or motherboard battery could have died. The hard drive may have gotten stuck. It's called "stiction." Penny should try taking out the hard drive and putting it into an external enclosure to see if she can still read the data.