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.
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.
Sam wants to know what's the best AntiVirus software. Leo says that ESET makes Nod32 and it's an excellent antivirus. But Leo says that Microsoft has an excellent one that's free - Microsoft Security Essentials. All the best antivirus software in the world won't protect him from himself and his behavior, though. Here's a few tips though to protect yourself -
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.
George wants to know if there's a free program that will allow him to print his Windows directory tree? Leo says that Norton Commander used to be able to allow that, but there are plenty of alternatives. He can check out AlternativeTo.net for options.
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.
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.
Brant's mother is losing her sight and he wants to get voice recognition software to help her. Leo says that screen readers like JAWS can help, but it's expensive. Orca is an open source screen reader. The larger the screen, the better. Try Lighthouse for the Blind or Foundation for the Blind for help. They may even help fund it.
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.
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.