Software

What's a good affordable video editor for Windows?

Sony Vegas Movie Studio

Episode 1319

Rocko from Oregon

Rocko is looking to edit Let's Play Minecraft videos for YouTube and he wants a free or cheap video editor. He has a PC running Windows 10.

Windows Movie Maker is the best free PC video editor, but it isn't available for Windows 10. If he can find it, it will work. Leo's favorite is Sony Vegas Movie Studio, which is about $50. It also has a 30 day free trial.

How can I record multiple tracks from a live performance?

Episode 1316

Shannon from Nebraska

Shannon is a southern gospel singer and they sing in 4 track harmony. He's looking for good software that can balance the volume and gain when recording separately during a live performance. Leo says that all recording software has that capability, and he can always use hardware to do it with a Telos compression/expansion module. It also protects against popping and clipping. Audacity is free and he could find a plugin for it that can work. It's available on all platforms, too.

How can I use an old version of Photoshop Elements with Windows 10?

Episode 1285

Clyde from Torrance, CA

Clyde is having a hard time using the new version of Photoshop Elements. They've completely redone it and he has to learn it all over again. He's thought about downgrading Windows since Windows 10 won't let him install an old version of Elements. It will work on Windows 7 though.

Adobe says it's not compatible, but there is a discussion on the Adobe Forums that users have gotten it to work with "minor issues." So if he can put up with that, he could try it.

Are the apps that promise to speed up my computer legit?

Episode 1267

Larry from Dover, DE

Larry has seen a TV ad for something called "PC Matic" to speed up and clean his computer. He's skeptical of it. Leo says Larry should be. It's snake oil, basically. They do work, but he doesn't have to pay to do it because the apps that come with Windows can do it. And modern operating systems don't really need to be tuned up anymore. It won't prevent him from getting a virus either. Microsoft's Windows Defender is good enough.

Are old versions of software collectable?

Episode 1266

Steve from New Jersey

Steve has been cleaning out an old storage unit and found a ton of old boxes of vintage software. Will they be worth anything? Leo says that probably not. It may be worth it to the computer history museum in Boston or the Smithsonian. But they may already have copies. Those were so common that all of that old software is probably more common than he'd think. On the other hand, a few minutes on eBay will tell him if it's worth anything.

Should I use a registry cleaner?

Episode 1263

Mark from Escondido, CA

Mark uses a registry cleaner and wants to know what Leo thinks of using them. Leo says that a well designed OS shouldn't need one for maintenance, and a registry cleaner can create more problems than it can cure. He thinks that the promise of fixing the registry to improve performance is simply snake oil, and comes from the older days when Windows just wasn't that great at managing it's resources.

What software do I need to record podcasts?

Episode 1248

Brian from Momence, IL

Brian picked up the Heil PR40 Microphone to do some podcasting. He also uses a PreSonus AudioBox iTwo. Leo says the Heil PR40 is a mic that Leo uses all the time. The PreSonus makes it possible to use a professional analog broadcast mic with a computer. Brian is wondering what he should use to record podcasts when he interviews people who call in. Leo says that Skype is the way to go, especially when he's having guests all over the world. The quality is amazing, too. The reason why, is because the telephone network is intentionally inferior with extremely low bit rates of 4-6 bits.

Can I turn my PC into an answering machine?

Episode 1247

Wayne from Decatur, GA

Wayne ordered a computer online and he wants to know if there's a program that he can plug into his computer and make it into an answering machine. Leo says there is, but he doesn't recommend them. He would need a voice modem to support it. ZyXEL still sells them, but Wayne would have to leave his PC on all the time and connected to the phone line. Then there's always the risk that the computer will answer the phone instead of him. It's far easier to just buy an answering machine. Or rely on the phone company's own voice messaging.

Why can't I install Adobe Premiere?

Episode 1230

David from Venice Beach, CA

David is trying to use Adobe Premiere and it stops working. Leo says that Dave bought a serial number, and if it doesn't have disks, it won't work. That's Adobe's copy protection. Leo recommends just using Adobe Creative Cloud instead. He can put it on two computers. If his friend sold him his copy, he needs to give him the disks to install it as well. He'll probably have to contact Adobe and transfer it as well.