Software

If I downgrade to Windows 7, can I still keep the Windows 8 recovery partition?

Windows 8

Episode 1091

Brandon from Palm Springs, CA

Andrew bought a new computer with Windows 8, but wants to switch to Windows 7. He wants to know if he can erase Windows 8, but still keep the Windows 8 recovery partition. Leo says that Windows 8 initially was confusing and it didn't really know what it wanted to be. But he's gotten used to it, and Leo says it's the future of Windows, so we might as well get used to it. Andrew just has to learn its quirks like just typing to launch programs.

What's good free video editing software?

Episode 1086

Josh from New York, NY

Josh doesn't care for Windows Movie Maker. Leo says that Windows Movie Maker has gotten a lot better over time, but in general, he'll get what he pays for.

Leo recommends a paid solution like Adobe Premiere Elements. There's also Sony Vegas. It's well worth the $80. But if all he needs to do is cut up video, he may want to try VideoLAN Movie Creator. There are other open source solutions, but they're finicky and difficult to learn. One open source option is Lightworks.

Why won't the software I bought work?

Episode 1065

Geri from Los Angeles, CA

Geri is having trouble with software she bought. When she tries to send in for the activation code, it says her "machine ID" keeps changing. Leo says that there is no such thing as a "machine ID." Often, copy protection has to phone home to authenticate it, and if the company website is down, it won't work properly. Geri should call them. If there's no answer, and the company has gone out of business, she should contact her credit card company and get them to charge it back. She may have been scammed.

Is there something better than Dragon Naturally Speaking?

Episode 1048

Bill from Jacksonville, FL

Bill uses Dragon Naturally Speaking. Leo says that Dragon is the king of speech to text and does a decent job transcribing what you say, but it's not perfect. Leo says that it'll get about 1 in 15 wrong, so he'll have to stop and correct it, which is kind of a speed bump. People with carpel tunnel use it all the time, though.

Is it legal for me to download software from the Internet Archive?

WayBack Machine

Episode 1045

John from Poconos, PA

John wants to know if the software available at the Internet Archive is legal to download. Leo says that the Internet Archive is a very interesting project. A record of life in the 20th century. It saves websites, audio, video, and even computer software. It's fantastic. But it may not be legal to download software from it. Since it's archival, Leo says it's probably safe to enjoy since the industry basically ignores it. Sooner or later, it'll have to be addressed by both parties, though.

Will Linux run Windows or DOS apps?

Episode 1040

Peter from Redlands, CA

Peter wants to know if Linux will run Windows or DOS apps. Leo says it can't run Windows or DOS apps natively, but WINE is an emulator that can work with some software. He also could run Windows virtually in Linux to run those apps. There's also a lot of free equivalents to Windows apps for Linux.

Linux is a great option for older computers since older Windows operating systems like XP aren't being supported anymore.

Are software serial numbers found online legit?

Episode 1040

James from California

James found a list of serial numbers for Sony Vegas. Are they legit? Leo says no. Vegas is a $700 software package and if he downloaded the trial version and put a serial number in that he found on the internet, then that's piracy. This isn't really something James will want to do, especially if he's starting his own video business. There's also the risk of getting malware from downloading software from unofficial websites.