Did I buy the right MacBook Pro?

MacBook Pro

Episode 1071

Mike from Glendale, CA

Mike bought a MacBook Pro recently, updating it through Apple's build to order interface. He needs a CD player, though. Leo says that the base model is the only one that still has a CD player, but the down side is, it also has a spinning hard drive and no retina display. The problem is, for $100 more, Mike could've gotten a retina display and much faster performance with an SSD drive. If he doesn't need all that, it's fine. But he won't save much doing it.

Can I put an SSD in a Vista PC?

Episode 1059

Mike from Realto, CA

Mike has an older HP computer running Windows Vista. Can he put an SSD in it to speed it up? Leo says probably not. Older machines aren't fast enough to handle the speed of an SSD, which is rated for SATA 2. So unless the PC has a SATA 2 connector, Mike won't see any benefit at all. With the cost of an SSD, he would be better off getting a new computer. Of Course, he could also just upgrade to Windows 8 and get a boost that way.

What laptop should I get?

Episode 1049

TJ from California

TJ is looking to buy a new laptop and she wants to know the minimum requirements she should be looking for. Can she update her old Windows ME computer? Leo says that TJ could put Linux on it, but that's about as best as she can get with that. Leo says that for what TJ wants, she could look at the Microsoft Surface 2, which comes with Windows RT and a free Microsoft Office suite. Since it comes with a keyboard, it's a nice hybrid. It's a tad small at 10", but it's a great mobile option. TJ wants a 15" screen, though.

How can I secure data on my SSD?

Episode 1032

Kyen from San Jose, CA

Kyen has been hearing that an SSD cannot be securely erased. Leo says that is correct. No matter what you do to wipe the drive, it's always best to use the built in encryption technology of Mac or Windows, or even the utility that comes with the drive. Even when overwriting the SSD 13 times, someone will be able to pull the data from it, in theory. In reality, nobody really has the technology to get all the data back, though. But some fragments will always remain. This also applies to smartphones and tablets. This makes encryption even more important.

Why is my data being written to my SSD and not the hard drive?

Episode 1031

Lisa from Downey, CA

Lisa get a new Dell computer with a 256GB SSD and a 2TB hard drive. Lately, it's been slowing down and she discovered that all the data has been written to the SSD and not the hard drive. Leo says that Lisa should make her spinning drive the "D" drive and then direct Windows to put all her data onto that D drive. She can move all her data over to it and then remove it from her C drive.

She'll need to right-click on my documents, click on "properties," then "location," then tell Windows where she wants the data to go. In this case, that will be the "D" drive.

Should I get an iMac with a Fusion Drive?

Apple iMac

Episode 1028

James from Niles, MI

James' wife needs a new iMac for her doctorate and James wants to know if they should outfit it with a Fusion Drive or not. Leo says that the Fusion Drive is a little faster, but if they don't need a ton of storage, they should skip it and get it with an SSD instead. They are a lot faster. In fact, they are often faster than the bus! Also, Fusion drives have trouble dual booting into Windows with Boot Camp because Windows doesn't understand what to do with the Fusion Drive.

Should I partition my SSD drive?

Episode 1009

Louis from Phoenix, AZ

Louis has a new laptop and wants to know if he should partition the hard drive to make a separate drive for data and a separate drive for the OS. Leo says that's a good idea because if he needs to reinstall Windows, he can nuke the partition that has the OS without bothering the data drive at all. Fragmentation tends to happen more on data drives than the OS drive also. Fragmentation doesn't happen at all on an SSD drive, though.

Can you talk me out of getting a really fast laptop?

Lenovo Thinkpad W530

Episode 1008

Steve from Hermosa Beach, CA

Steve wants to get a new Lenovo laptop with dual SSD drives and 32 GB of RAM. He's looking at a Workstation model, which is a desktop replacement. Leo says first and foremost, 32GB of RAM is way too much for the average or even heavy user. His biggest jump in performance would be from 4GB to 8GB. From there out, the speed boost can get to the point where the cost-benefit isn't all that great.

Leo also says that an SSD drive is great for storing the OS and apps on, but an SSD drive for storage is really not practical. It would be better to get a larger spinning drive.