USB

Is a third party fingerprint reader safe?

Eikon Mini Fingerprint Reader

Episode 1345

Jonathan from Scottsdale, AZ

Jonathan has a Windows laptop and he wants to add a fingerprint scanner. The one he's looking at works with WIndows Hello, but there's no real branding. Leo says that chances are, one Chinese company makes it and then sells it to multiple companies who put their name on it. The good news is that it works with Windows Hello. Jonathan should check out the Eikon fingerprint scanner. It's the one he recommends, and it's only $20.

Why does my phone say it's connected via USB when it isn't?

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Episode 1339

Mike from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Mike's Galaxy S7 Edge keeps pinging that it's connected to a USB even when it isn't. Leo says that could be a ghost issue. He should turn off USB debugging in the developer settings. He needs to go to into Settings > About Phone, and tap the build number 10 times. Then he'll get into the developer's menu. He should check his phone's USB port for fuzz. He can also try resetting the phone. Then before he reinstalls his apps, he should make sure it isn't happening. If it does still happen, then he does have a hardware problem. If it doesn't, then an app is likely the culprit.

Will USB become obsolete?

Transcend JetFlash 790 USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Episode 1335

Rowan from San Bernardino, CA

Rowan wonders if USB thumb drives are becoming obsolete like so many other data drives before it. Leo says that no format will last forever, but there's still plenty of life left in USB. We need to keep an eye on how technology progresses and transfer the data over when the time comes, though. Rowan will likely be able to get an adapter for USB-C, which is the current standard. The other thing he can do is use an open source backup, like TAR, which will make the backup easily transferrable. The best way is to go into the cloud, though. He should have both.

How can I backup my data from a mobile device with a broken screen?

Samsung Galaxy S7

Episode 1330

Natalie from Los Angeles, CA

Natalie broke the screen on her Samsung Galaxy S7 and she can't get the information off. How can she backup her data? Leo says she can get a Samsung USB to Go adapter that would allow her to host other devices.

The chatroom says that Samsung has software called Kies that will allow the user to backup a device via USB.

Why can't my car stereo play TuneIn?

TuneIn

Episode 1330

Richard from Los Angeles, CA

Richard has downloaded the TuneIn app, where he downloads podcasts and then listens to his phone. His stereo system doesn't support the mp4 stream, though. Leo says it shouldn't because mp4 is video. He can save audio as that, but it's not very widely supported. He'd have to reencode it to listen to it.

Leo advises just streaming it live. That way the phone can handle the encoding, not the car stereo. Leo also suggests going Bluetooth instead of the USB connection, if he can.

Why can't my PC read my thumb drive?

Episode 1322

Chap from Durango, CO

Chap has an old XP laptop and wants to know how he can transfer data from it to a USB thumb drive. He tried to and it didn't work. Leo wants to know first if the laptop can see it. If not, he should try another. Flash memory can die and the thumbdrive could just be bad. He should also try both USB ports. If nothing shows up, his USB port could be dirty or could have shorted out. That's not likely, though. He should try another USB device like a mouse and see if that will work.

Why can't I get my photos off my camera with my computer?

Episode 1322

Dorothy from San Francisco, CA

Dorothy is having issues getting images off her digital camera. Leo says the first thing to do is make sure the cable she's using is OK. A bad cable or connector is always the first thing to try replacing. Next, she should get a memory card reader and take the SD card out of the camera. It could be a USB driver, but it's unlikely if her wireless mouse and keyboard are still working. One way to test is to plug in a USB thumbdrive. If that works, then she knows it isn't the USB drivers. Dorothy should make sure her camera is being seen as a hard drive (known as MTP).

Why doesn't Windows 10 see my external drive?

Episode 1315

Ed from Levittown, PA

Ed backed up his hard drive and then ran the Microsoft Windows 10 Anniversary Update, but his backup doesn't show up in Windows. Leo says he should be able to manually mount the hard drive in the Windows 10 drive manager. He should type Windows Key + X. It sounds like Windows update broke the USB driver. If it doesn't see the partition of the drive, then it sounds like a driver issue. Maybe the drive software is doing something. Ed should re-download and install the driver.

Why does my USB headset stop working?

Episode 1296

Alan from Louisville, KY

Alan has a problem where Windows 10 doesn't see his Plantronics usb headset. Saying the driver is corrupted. Leo says that there probably isn't a dedicated Plantronics driver for it, instead relying on the standard Windows USB audio driver. But it seems unlikely that the USB audio driver is corrupted. But it is Microsoft, so it may just be a matter of reinstalling the drivers. Leo also says that booting into Linux and testing it was a brilliant troubleshooting idea. The other idea is that it could just be a Windows 10 incompatibility.