Why can't I get my webcam and blu-ray player to work on my home-built computer?

Episode 997

Bruce from Hisperia, CA

Bruce built his own Windows 8 rig recently. Leo says SSD drives would be great because Bruce doesn't have to wait for the drive to hunt and search for files. Bruce installed a RAM drive, something that Leo hasn't seen in awhile. RAM drives will always be fastest because it uses RAM to run the directory. Sounds like a machine that's as fast as he can get except that a RAM drive does have to push out the files and save them to the drive before shutting down. Bruce can always up the speed later with a GPU driven video card.

What should I do with a Dell XPS 8500 that wasn't as promised?

Episode 982

John from Burbank, CA

John bought a Dell XPS 8500 from Dell, and the sales person said it had a 2TB SSD drive. However, it came with a standard hard drive and a 32GB SSD, called a hybrid drive with smart response technology. Leo says the sales person probably just didn't understand what it really was. John could call and complain, but it won't really do him much good. They won't put a 2TB SSD in it. Leo says that computer is a pretty good one, nonetheless.

What should I look for when buying a laptop?

Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook

Episode 970

Charlene from Westchester, NY

Charlene would like to get a new laptop that has a large screen. Leo says that will impact her mobility, but if Charlene is looking for a desktop replacement, then it may make more sense to have a larger screen and more power.

Should I get a solid state drive?
Leo says that SSD drives start up faster, run faster, and he doesn't get a computer anymore without them. She should get either a 128GB or 256GB SSD drive.

How can I upgrade my RAID?

Intel SSD

Episode 960

Robert from Maui, Hawaii

Robert has two 300GB Western Digital raptor drives in a RAID 0 configuration (which Leo calls "scary RAID" because when if one drive dies, everything is lost). He's upgrading to Intel drives, but the software doesn't recognize the RAID. Leo says it should. RAID is something that's configured in BIOS. Leo says if it's not working, then don't use Intel's software, just do a simple copy of the data.

If I'm mirroring my SSD to my hard drive, do I need an external drive for backup too?

hard drive

Episode 947

Neil from Phoenix, AZ

Neil has Windows 8 and is using Storage Spaces with his SSD and hard drive. He's mirroring the data for backup, and is wondering if he still needs an external backup drive. Leo says no, he's already backing up that data with the mirroring option. He can get another backup if he wants, but he should be ok since he's also using Carbonite to backup off site.

(Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor).

How can I speed up my older computer?

Episode 947

Trevor from Washington, DC

Trevor has an older Dell Latitude that he's reinstalled the OS on, bumped up the RAM and installed an SSD drive, but it's still running slow. Leo says that although the drives are fast, the bus may be slower and it's only going to be as fast as the bus itself. Then there's the video card. Trevor is running dual monitors and the video card may not be able to handle the bandwidth. Since it's a laptop, there's really not much he can do about the video card, other than just buy a new laptop.

How can I load eBooks onto a Kindle without an Internet connection? (Part 1)

Episode 940

Chris from Pittsburgh, PA

The Kindle doesn't use WiFi. The older Kindle's use wireless via Sprint that is always on and available forever. He could also email PDFs of eBooks to the owner's Kindle address and it'll be converted and downloaded to the Kindle. It is possible to install eBooks via USB connection, though. He needs to convert the books to the MOBI format, and there are a number of good free programs like Calibre. They'll also need to associate the Kindle to an existing account, which will happen when he turns on the Kindle for the first time.