reinstalling windows

Has my computer been hacked?

Hacker

Episode 1385

Melinda from Sherman Oaks, CA

Melinda says that after she turns on her computer and goes into her browser, it takes a really long time to get to Gmail, and it goes to her eBay and other accounts. She wonders if she got hacked. Leo says perhaps. That kind of behavior points to being hacked. Maybe someone has gotten physical access to the computer. Did she make an enemy?

Why do I get a popup to open a file?

Episode 1319

Tim from LaHabra, CA

Tim has a message popping up that asks which app to open a file with. It happens automatically and he doesn't know what file it is. Leo says that's disconcerting. Leo suspects AdWare or worse! There's something on his system that is running in the background and the antivirus can't kill it. He'll have to figure out what the app is that's starting up. He'll have to expect that his system has been compromised, though, and the only real way to be sure he's gotten rid of the malware is to backup his data, wipe his hard drive, and reinstall Windows.

Is my laptop powerful enough for Windows 10?

Dell XPS 13

Episode 1319

Sandy from Costa Mesa, CA

Sandy just had Windows 10 installed on her computer automatically and she wonders if it's really powerful enough. It's slow and it crashes a lot. Microsoft says her laptop had old drivers and needed them updated. But after that, it's still having issues. Leo says that the problem is that Windows 10 upgraded on top of Windows. A clean install of Windows 10 might make it better. She should wipe the drive and install Windows fresh. She should first backup her data to an external drive, and Microsoft's backup utility will work for that.

How can I get my Start Menu back in Windows?

Microsoft Windows 10

Episode 1284

Louis from Bellflower, CA

Louis is having issues with his start menu disappearing in Windows 10. Leo says that is one of the reasons why he recommends buying a Chromebook. It's just easier to use for basic computing. At this point, the best thing he can do is back up his data and start over. There's a recovery option in the control panel that will allow him to reinstall Windows. Then the problem should go away. It's a hassle, but it'll fix it.

How can I uninstall an unwanted program?

Episode 1257

Walter from Huntington, WV

Walter got an icon on his Windows machine called "Launch System Healer," and later found out it's malware. How can he get rid of it? Leo says that the problem with malware is that it can be very difficult to get rid of and even if he does, he may not get rid of all of it. But it's called a "PUP" or "potentially unwanted program." It should have an uninstaller, so Walter should look for that. Chances are, Walter accidentally installed it when installing something else that had its own custom installer.

How can I speed up my computer?

Ubuntu

Episode 1232

Kinan from California

Kinan has a Gateway laptop with a broken screen and he's got it hooked up to an external monitor. It's getting slow and he wants to speed it up. If he's never reinstalled Windows on the machine, it's a good idea to backup his data, format the hard drive and reinstall Windows from a known source. The hard drive may be wearing out, too. Another option would be to try Ubuntu Linux.

What should I do after someone had unauthorized physical access to my PC?

Episode 1218

Elizabeth from Santa Clarita, CA

Elizabeth wants to undo whatever her nephew did to her PC after he came to visit. He's got mad computer skills and she caught him rummaging around her computer without her permission. Leo recommends backing up her data, formatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows from a known good source. That way any modifications he's made will be wiped out.

How can I make an old computer faster?

Apple iPad Air 2

Episode 1157

Old Geek in the Bronx from New York, NY

The "old geek in the Bronx" tried to clean up his friend's computer and he wants to know if "Ready Boost" will speed up that old PC. Leo says that Microsoft created "Ready Boost" for Vista and Windows 7 and it would use the cache of a USB key because it's faster. Leo says he tried it and it didn't really work at all. Almost always, just backing up the data, formatting the hard drive, and reinstalling Windows with the recovery disks and updating Windows fully will make it run like the day it came out of the box. Rather than have his friend buy a new laptop, Leo advises getting an iPad.

How can I reinstall Windows?

Episode 1124

Stephanie from Los Angeles, CA

Stephanie bought a Samsung Windows 7 notebook and it's been a disasterous affair. She wishes she had bought a Mac. Leo says that Apple has a much better way to teach users how to use computers with their One to One teaching. She tried to get tech support with a phone number given to her from friends who used remote desktop and now she got infected. Can she wipe it and start over? Leo says sure, if she has a system recovery disc that came with the computer. She should get her data off first, then wipe the drive and reinstall Windows. And she should make sure she updates it completely.