Software

Apps, Operating Systems (Windows, MacOS, Linux), or pro level software.

How Can I Have Email Read Out Loud?

JAWS

Episode 1618

Mark from Farmington, New Mexico

Mark's mom has macular degeneration and can't read her email. What can she get to read her email for her? Leo says that Windows does have text to speech (TTS) built-in, so he can try that. Microsoft Outlook also has voice commands. Leo usually recommends contacting the local Foundation for the Blind. Maybe they can set her up with a JAWS screen reader. He could also try a web-based solution through an email provider. They may have accessibility features like using Google Text to Speech.

How Can I Find Drivers for an Old Laptop?

 ACER Aspire

Episode 1618

John from Ohio

John's first computer was an ACER Aspire laptop. He wants to upgrade his operating system, but he isn't sure if it's 64 bit or 32 bit. Leo says that Intel was using 64-bit architecture long before everything moved from 32 bit, so he'll likely have it. But John is having trouble finding drivers. Leo says that companies that stop development often don't offer those drivers online, so many driver archives have sprung up. But often users don't get what they think they are getting. And Microsoft usually stops writing security updates for old computers, making them a security threat online.

Can I recover the erased data on my hard drive?

SSD

Episode 1617

Josh from Mesa, AZ

Josh's computer "went off the rails" when he did RoboCopy and wiped his hard drive. So now, he needs to talk about data recovery on his hard drive. Leo says that if there's a software issue, or if you deleted a file, the data is still there until you overwrite it. Leo recommends RECUVA. But if the data has been overwritten, you really can't get the data back, not even from Drive Savers. This is why you should always back up your hard drive, ALWAYS.

Can I turn an old laptop into a Chromebook?

Chromium

Episode 1615

Dean from Hannibal, Missouri

Dean has an old XP laptop that he wants to put ChromeOS on. Can he do that? Leo says that Chromium is the version of ChromeOS that does that, and NeverWare is the company. but it doesn't work with every laptop or computer. What you can do is download it to a thumb drive and then try and install it, but Leo also recommends looking at Linux. Xubuntu is designed for the low end, older computers. So it's perfect for what Dean needs. 

What tablet has the best voice recognition?

Samsung Galaxy S5

Episode 1615

Audrey from West Lake Village, California

Audrey needs a tablet with the best voice recognition, that she can then email to her desktop for cleaning up. Her computer isn't Apple, would an iPad work? Leo says that doesn't matter. Word is about formatting, you can start with an email or even text file and dictate. Formatting doesn't matter. What Leo recommends is using a notetaking app that will automatically sync it to your desktop. Evernote is a good example. Microsoft's OneNote is a great example. All Android devices will use Google's voice recognition and that's excellent. Google Keep as well.

Why can't my computer boot past the BIOS?

ASUS VivoBook

Episode 1613

Alan from Wakefield, Massachusetts

Alan has an Asus laptop that's stuck in bios during bootup. Leo says that is called the boot loader. It's called the bootstrap process. If it's stopping, then that means the hard drive has failed. The master boot record in the hard drive could be damaged. Try booting to a USB drive. If that works, then you know that it's the hardware. If not, then it's a software issue.

Can I really buy a Windows serial key from eBay?

Windows Serial Key Prompt

Episode 1613

Bruce from Carlsbad, California

Bruce updated his old Dell Inspiron to Windows 7 after buying a DVD on eBay for it. But after a month or so it stops working. So he bought another one with Windows 10 and it worked fine. Leo says that Bruce got lucky, most of the time, those serial keys are being resold over and over and often doesn't work with Microsoft's authentication servers. And with Windows 10, the serial number is assigned to the computer, fingerprinting it. Also, you don't have to buy the media, you can just download it from Microsoft directly.

How can I partition my hard drive and image it?

Spinning Hard Drive

Episode 1613

Richie from Tulsa, Oklahoma

Richie would like to know how to partition his hard drive. Leo says that TerraByte Drive Image is a good one to use (recommended by Steve Gibson) but image your hard drive first, just in case. Other options include Partition Magic, Acronis, Macruyn Refectm, and EaseUS Partition Master. You can even do it from your command line with DiskPart. 

Why is My iMac Overheating?

iMac

Episode 1612

Chuck from Thousand Oaks, CA

Chuck is using Firefox and recently he's been getting error messages. Leo says that may be due to keeping a lot of tabs open. Should he go back to Safari? Leo says that it's about as good, privacy-wise, as Firefox. But for search, he's currently using StartPage.com for searching anonymously. Use that, and it's just as private as Firefox.