Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Why Did My PC Go Back in Time to 5 Years Ago?

XP

Episode 1622

John from Philadelphia, PA

John was using an old XP machine to recover data on a failed hard drive. But when he rebooted the XP machine, it crashed and then came back up with a profile from 5 years ago. Leo says he suspects the current profile is damaged and that points to a failing hard drive. Eventually, it'll stop booting. So time to get a new hard drive. He could run SpinRite on it. But it's $90. Not cheap. But he can run it if he has it already. It would be worth the time to do it. 

Get the data off that old hard drive ASAP, and then replace it.

Should I Trade in My Old Macbook Pro?

Power Adapter

Episode 1622

Amy from Simi Valley, CA

Amy has a MacBook Pro and she needs a new power cord. She was looking at the Apple website and it's very expensive. And unfortunately, the magnetic safe connector is proprietary, so there's not likely a third party version for cheaper.  So she's thinking of trading in her MacBook for $775 and get a new one or wait and let it just die. Leo says that a lot of Pro users like Leo have kept their 2015 Macbooks because they are the last design with a decent keyboard. But 2015 models are also being recalled for a swelling battery. So Amy may want to check to see if there is a recall.

Can a motherboard cause an "amber light of death?"

"Amber Light"

Episode 1621

PJ from Butler, PA

PJ replaced his Windows XP machine with Windows 8.1. But lately, he's gotten the "amber light of death" and it won't boot up. His tech guy says he needs a new computer. But could he replace the motherboard? Leo says it could be a power supply, so swap that out first. If that doesn't work, then check the RAM. It may be that the RAM has become unseated and the computer can't load into it. You also want to be sure that the cables are all connected. PJ replaced the motherboard and it's worked ever since. 

How can I switch between two computers with one monitor?

KVM HDMI Switch

Episode 1621

Jay from Temecula, California

Jay would like to plug in a Raspberry Pit and Mac Mini into the same monitor. Is there a switch for that? Leo says that while the Pi has an HDMI, the MacMini also offers Thunderbolt 3. So you want to get an HDMI capable monitor. Jay also says that Pi 4 is going to be TB3 compatible. Leo says if that's the case, then a splitter could be easy. Or one that has multiple inputs. KVM switches are more flexible. IOGear makes some of the best ones. Monoprice have some that are good. Most use software to control them. Leo has one called IHSE DRACO for the studio.

Sam Abuelsamid ... Hybrid-ed

Episode 1621

Sam wanted to address a question from last weekend, about an early model Honda Hybrid. Sam says that most hybrids can go the entire lifespan of the vehicle without having to replace the battery.  As for safety, Sam says that the battery is really small in a hybrid and as such, not only catch fire less often but aren't really that dangerous. The gas tank is more dangerous. But if the battery gets punctured, it could catch fire. 

Why can't I use my Maps app in my car?

Apple Maps in Carplay

Episode 1621

Danny from Prescott, AZ

Danny is getting different results using his Map app in his three cars. Two of his cars has his maps apps working great in them, but his Hybrid doesn't work well at all with his maps app at all. Leo suspects that Danny's hybrid may have something in its design that prevents the phone from triangulating its position with GPS satellites. Some electric cars don't have AM radios because of interference from the electric engine. So it may be that there's interference going on.

How can I get Apple to replace my defective Mac Mini?

Mac Mini

Episode 1621

Jerry from Westminster, MD

Jerry bought a new MacMini a few months ago, and after he shut it down, it never came back on.  Apple replaced the logic board, but when he returned it, his RAM capacity was cut in half. So he returned it to Apple. After a few weeks, he got an error and would restart. Now it just locks up. Leo suspects that Jerry has a "Lemon." He should take it into Apple, talk to the manager, and tell them you want a brand new one. Be direct, but pleasant. You catch more flies with sugar than honey. Use the term CRU - Complete Replacement Unit. 

Is There an External Power Pack for My Surface?

PowerCore+ 26800 PD with 30W Power Delivery Charger

Episode 1620

Jeffrey from Burbank, CA

Jeffrey got a new Microsoft Surface Pro at work. Is there an external power pack he can use with it? Leo says that laptops like a lot of wattage, more than an average power brick can provide. The Surface also has a proprietary charging connector, though it could charge with a Type-C connector as well. He will want a power brick that can provide more power than the surface uses. It also needs to have enough juice to charge the battery in one fell swoop.