USB

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Dick DeBartolo

Episode 1293

Dick's gadget this week is the SanDisk Ultra Dual USB 3.0 Drive. If you push the lever in one direction, you'll get the MicroUSB end that you can plug into your phone and it will show up as an additional drive. Then when you get back to the computer, if you push the lever in the other direction, you'll get a standard USB 3.0 end. For 32GB, it is $9.97. The 64GB version is $17.

This is a great solution for Android phones that don't have SD card slots. It does require that the phone be OTG-enabled.

Why do I get a bluescreen when unplugging my USB Headset?

Episode 1248

Camden from Mission Viejo, CA

Cam has a USB headset that causes a bluescreen of death when he unplugs it, and then his USB ports stop working. Leo suspects that the USB driver is corrupted. It could also be a bad USB port or short circuit in the headset. But he should always test the driver. He should remove it in Device Manger - Windows Key + X, then select "Device Manager." Then let it reacquire and install the drivers.

How can I make recovery discs for my new laptop?

Episode 1242

Raj from United Kingdom

Raj wants to buy a new laptop but it doesn't come with recovery discs. Leo says that the software is now on a partition on the laptop and he can make his own set of recovery discs with optical media or even a USB key. If he wants to use a USB key, he'll need one that is 8GB or larger. Use the Windows Boot Media Tool to make a bootable key. Then he can slipstream in new updates as they come available. If he gets a bigger key, then he can create an image of his hard drive, including all of his apps and he can restore it when he needs to.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Dick DeBartolo

Episode 1229

This week's gadget is from SnapPower, which is an easy to install Night Light and USB charger. By taking out one little screw, you remove your existing plate and get a USB charger or LED guide lights. And there's no wiring. The tabs inside snap over the screws for the electric wires and they supply the power. It's pretty genius. It costs $15-20.

http://www.snappower.com/

Giz Wiz Video: https://youtu.be/7D1l501RKw0

How can I make recovery disks for Windows 10?

Episode 1213

Larry from Petaluma, CA

Larry has a new Dell desktop with Windows 10. He wants to know how to create a recovery backup. It fails every time when he writes it to USB. He asked Dell, but they say they can't because they don't have recovery disks yet.

Leo says it could be as easy as a bad or unsupported thumb drive. He should try a different thumb drive. If that doesn't work, a third party utility like the EaseUS Windows 10 Migration Utility will do the job.

Is Magic Jack appropriate for a business phone line?

Phone

Episode 1210

Doug from Idaho

Doug has been using Magic Jack for his business. Leo says that's a good choice for smaller use, but it's important to remember that VOIP is always dependent on the quality and bandwidth of the internet connection. Also, there's latency as the packets often come out of order and must be reassembled. Leo uses a business solution, RingCentral. But for a sole proprietor, Magic Jack should work fine.

Could a bad USB cable cause my Mac to shut down?

Episode 1200

Cynthia from Malibu, CA

Cynthia plugged her iPhone into her laptop and when she did, it shut down her Mac. She was told that it could do that with a third party USB cable. Leo says it's not likely a compatibility issue, but it could be a short in the cable. What about a message that says "battery needs service?" Leo says that's more likely the issue as batteries do stop charging after about 500 recharge cycles. So Leo believes the shut down was coincidental. Getting a new battery should solve that problem.

Is there a USB external sound card option?

Syba SD-CM-UAUD USB Stereo Audio Adapter

Episode 1188

Mark from Escondido, CA

Mark has an old PC and his sound card broke. He knows it isn't worth fixing, so he's wondering if there is an external sound card option? Leo says yes! USB sound cards are available, and they are even better for the computer because they don't pick up the fan noise of the computer itself. Mark will want a USB DAC. They range in price from affordable to expensive. Check out the Syba USB Stereo Audio Adapter. It costs just $8!

How can I get photos off my old iPhone?

iPhone 3G by Dan Taylor

Episode 1161

Peter from Los Angeles, CA

Peter has an old iPhone with a ton of photos on it that he needs to backup. How can he move them off directly without using iTunes? Leo says there's plenty of ways to skin that cat. All he needs to do is connect via USB and his computer will create a popup of the Windows Image Viewer which will transfer the images directly to his computer. Leo also recommends Picasa for it. He doesn't need iTunes for it, but he will need iTunes for any other data on that phone.