Windows

What Computer Should I Buy Just to Do My Taxes?

turbo tax

Episode 1764

Frank from LA, CA

Frank does his taxes using Turbo Tax. He uses an old Windows 7 machine to do it. But it's on its last legs, so he needs a new computer. What's a good cheap computer that will do the job for this one function? Leo says he can use Turbo Tax online, and that would mean he could get a Chromebook. But Frank says that Turbo Tax online doesn't support Chromebooks.

In that case, HP makes a very inexpensive Windows laptop for around $400. 

What Happened to My Windows Profile?

Windows

Episode 1762

Patrick from Gulf, CAN

Patrick lives in a retirement community and has been dubbed the community's tech guy. He recently discovered a problem with one neighbor, where her email account disappeared from Thunderbird, and another is missing recent files. Leo says it sounds like the user is logging into another Windows 10 account, and not her original one. He found the files but discovered that they had been moved into another library. What could cause that? Leo says an update in 2018 did something similar by deleting the profile.

Why can't I log into my new (used) computer?

Windows 10

Episode 1761

Walter from Palm Springs, CA

Walter bought a used computer, but now it won't take the administrator password. Leo says that the best thing to do is wipe the hard drive, install a fresh copy of Windows, and start over. There's likely some stuff on there Walter won't want. You can use Windows free for ten months, and it's really only $99.

If you don't want to pay for your OS, put Linux on it. Leo recommends Ubuntu or Manjaro.

Is My Parents' Computer Secure?

Windows 10

Episode 1760

Brad from Cheyenne, WY

Brad set up his parents' new Windows computer with bookmarks so they can easily visit their favorite websites. Is that secure? Leo says, unless someone else has physical access, it's secure. He's also had it set to go to sleep and require a password after 10 minutes of inactivity. Leo says that's a good idea. But Leo also recommends giving them a basic user account, not an administrator account. That way they can't install anything or give someone remote access, or even privilege escalation. Based on what Brad has laid out, their computer is pretty locked down. 

How Can I Restore My RAID Backup to a New Hard Drive?

RAID

Episode 1758

Spencer from Lakewood, OR

Spencer removed a hard drive from his RAID array and now he's having issues. Leo says some of the data needed from the reboot was on the missing hard drive. Can he just repartition the RAID? Leo says that the safest thing to do is copy off the data and then reinstall Windows. Then restore. That should copy the master boot record and get it all back to normal. 

How can I find my Windows 10 serial number?

Windows 10 Pro

Episode 1751

Al from Las Cruces, NM

Al recently bought a laptop from Walmart. He likes to dual boot with Linux, and Al is concerned if he messes it up and has to reinstall Windows 10, how can he find the activation code to reinstall Windows 10? Is there a software that can read the registry? Leo says you don't have to worry about that anymore. Windows 10 will recognize your laptop and will automatically authorize it. It's called an "entitlement," and it applies to the hardware, not the owner. But if you still want it, check out Belarc Advisor.

Why Can't I Log Into Windows?

Windows 7.

Episode 1750

George from Los Angeles, CA

George has an old HP laptop running Windows 7. He recently ran a restore, and it didn't work. He's tried several times. Now, when he loads Windows, the admin account comes up as "locked." Leo says to try restoring using Windows 7 natively, not the HP software. In fact, get the Windows Media Creation Tool and upgrade to Windows 10. Then install it over Windows 7. This should authenticate and fix whatever is wrong. He can then redownload the drivers specific to the laptop model.

Can I run Windows and Linux on my computer?

Citrix

Episode 1746

Hasan from Vancouver, BC, Canada

Hasan has been having issues using Citrix on his Windows machine. Leo says that Citrix works on Linux, so Linux is an option if you're sick of Windows problems. But if you want to use Windows, make sure you're running the latest version of Windows 10. But it will also clobber Linux if you want to keep that as well. So install Windows first, then install Linux for a dual boot system. Leo recommends Manjaro, but you'll have to disable secure boot on Windows.

How can I keep my old laptop from a blue screen of death?

Blue Screen of Death :(

Episode 1746

Daniel from Chatsworth, CA

Daniel's Thinkpad runs Windows XP and is experiencing the blue screen of death, or BSoD for short. Daniel can use the original install discs and go into recovery mode. That can fix anything that is going wrong. That will run the Windows System File Checker and replace any system files that are damaged. But it may also be a hard drive that is starting to fail. It would be a good idea to replace the hard drive. Luckily, it's easy to do with that Thinkpad.

Is my hard drive dead?

Spinning Hard Drive

Episode 1742

Mike from Rockport, New York

Mike's desktop has two drives in an IBM PC and when he went to defrag one, it disappeared from Windows 7. So he can't see it. What can he do? Leo says that try rebooting and see if he can see it on boot up. If not, try using a NewerTek Universal drive adapter to see if you can see it that way. If you can't, then the drive is dead. The good news is, drives are cheap. Leo recommends putting an SSD drive for your main drive and use the good hard drive for the backup. You'll get a huge boost in speed that way.