Why is my Thinkpad so dark?

Lenovo X1 Carbon

Episode 1714

Megan from Summit, New Jersey

Megan got a Lenovo Thinkpad, but she's not thrilled with the video quality when she uses Microsoft Office. Leo suspects that when she bought the laptop, she chose the lower end LCD screen and as such, it's not as bright as she would like. Leo says to get one with a screen that is 300-500 "Nits" or brighter.

She is also having trouble logging into Office 365, though when she goes into Word, she's logged in. Leo says that Megan is using the Demo version (known as a "stub"). Uninstall that and download the Office 365 installer and reinstall it. That will solve the problem.

Why is my thinkpad screen so dim?

Lenovo ThinkPad X1

Episode 1678

Gary from Scottsdale, AZ

Gary uses a Lenovo Thinkpad and the latest 7th generation laptop doesn't seem as bright as an older 6th gen model. Is that normal? Does going 4K sacrifice brightness or is something wrong? Leo says that due to battery life, laptops never go to full brightness by default. You can look in the BIOS settings for brightness and see if it's set lower. Leo found his set at half. Press F12 on boot to access. Also check the Thinkpad SubReddit. That's a good place to ask.

What portable laptop should I buy?

Lenovo T490

Episode 1645

Jack from Los Angeles, CA

Jack is looking to get a new laptop and wonders if the Surface Pro would be a good option. Leo says that the Surface Pro is essentially a tablet with a detachable keyboard that isn't good. And it's very pricey. So make sure you type on it a lot before you buy it. Since Jack had a Thinkpad in the past, he should consider a new model. They're built out of carbon fiber, so they're thin and light. Look at the T490. It's excellent and they're built like tanks. If you really like the tablet feel, look at the Lenovo Yoga. 

What's the best computer for accounting?

ThinkPad T580

Episode 1546

Ken from Glendale, CA

Ken is starting his own accountant firm and wants to know what computer would be best for accounting. Leo says that the current trend is to use online bookkeeping, and what operating system he uses really doesn't matter. Having said that, he can save a lot of money with a Windows machine. Dell makes a great, professional platform. The Lenovo ThinkPad is also a good option. There is a ThinkPad with a number pad, too, which is ideal for data entry.

What's a good Linux laptop with a large screen?

Lenovo Yoga 710 15"

Episode 1386

Robert from University City, CA

Robert wants to buy a personal computer that is well built and runs Linux with a 17" screen. Leo says that most laptops top out at 15", but there are a few 17" models still available. Lenovo is one of the few manufacturers that ship laptops with Linux. Lenovo's P51 has a 15.6" screen. Lenovo's X1 Yoga has a great 15" model with an excellent keyboard.

Where can I get a good, budget laptop?

Dell Inspiron 14

Episode 1332

Kim from San Diego, CA

Kim is a trader and he's looking for a good computer for around $400. Leo says his use isn't that difficult for processing and viewing the information, so any computer will do. In fact, he doesn't even need a Windows machine. He just needs a good browser. Leo says that the dual monitor requirement may be a challenge, though. He can, however, use a USB driven monitor.

How can I get into BIOS on my ThinkPad?

Lenovo X140e ThinkPad

Episode 1148

Michael from San Diego, CA

Michael has a ThinkPad with Windows 7 installed and he needs to put it in XP mode to run a few programs. How can he do that? Leo says to use the F2 key to get into BIOS and it's all about timing. But the logo may be in the way, and that requires hitting the escape key.

Alex, the TWiT Windows expert says that pressing the blue ThinkVantage button on boot up will get him to a BIOS menu.

How can I get on WPA2 Wi-Fi on an old laptop?

Episode 966

Dick from Orange County, CA

Dick has a 7 year old ThinkPad, and he can't get on WPA2 Wi-Fi networks. Leo suggests buying a USB WiFi Dongle. That'll take the WPA2 signal for him.

The chatroom says that it's possible to change out the Wi-Fi card on the laptop, but Leo says it's cheaper to go the dongle route. Dick just has to be sure he's using the latest Service Pack of XP (SP3). He'll also get better reception that way.

What are the best laptops to get for a college student with a budget of $700 to $800?

Episode 876

Jim from Temecula, CA

Look at the Lenovo Thinkpads. They're business focused, robust and well built. Leo thinks Jim will be able to get an excellent laptop for that price. Dell also has some great computers in that price range. He won't be able to get a Mac though, the cheapest Mac is $1,000. Jim was also wondering if the Thinkpads can play movies and music, and they absolutely can.