Articles in Category: Hardware

Computers, computer systems and the physical components and accessories that make them what they are.

“This Device Is Working Properly” – When Device Manager Lies, and What to Do Instead

“This device is working properly” is a common message in device manager properties. It’s usually unhelpful and sometimes a lie.

What Laptop Would You Buy for $1500? My Choice, and My Recommendation for You

I can’t really tell you, since your needs are probably different than mine, but I will anyway.

Why Is My Laptop Running Slower When It’s on Battery? Where to Look for the Settings You Can Change

Laptop settings control power use when running on battery. Your choices affect performance and how quickly you’ll need to plug in again.

Where Do I Get Driver Updates? Where to Find Them AND Places to Avoid

Device-driver updates can come from several places. I’ll review the best sources for driver updates and where else you might need to look.

What to Do With an Old Computer You’ve Been Given – What I Did With Mine

When I’m given an old computer, there are a few things I do for the safety of the original owners, myself, and the planet.

Can I Move My Old Computer’s Hard Drive to My New Computer to Transfer Data? My Recommended Approach

You can take the internal hard disk of an old computer and install it as an additional drive in a new one; or, consider a more flexible alternative.

Why a Chromebook? (And Why I Purchased Two for the Important People in My Life)

Chromebooks can be a viable alternative for those who do most of their computing online and are looking for a simpler, perhaps more stable, yet powerful device.

How Do I Remove a BIOS or UEFI Password?

A BIOS password provides a surprising amount of security on a computer — so much that if the password is lost, chances for recovery are slim.

Why Don’t I Get Sound from My Computer? (A Checklist)

“No sound” can happen for a variety of reasons. Here’s how to troubleshoot if your computer is inexplicably silent.

Speedtest.net result for Ask Leo! world headquarters

Why Doesn’t My Internet Speed Match What I’m Paying For?

In general, faster is better, but make sure you’re testing properly so that you get an accurate report.

The First Eight Things to Do with Your New Computer

The steps you should take right after unboxing your new computer to save time, frustration, effort, and data loss later.

Picking Up and Setting Up My New Desktop

My new machine was ready! I’ll show you where it came from, and the laundry list of things I did first.

Dell Support Assist

A Recent Update Prevents Me from Booting. How Do I Fix It?

Recovery from an unbootable machine isn’t as daunting as it sounds… with a little preparation.

New system basics

Designing My New Desktop

Looking carefully at how I use my computer, and with help from my chosen manufacturer, I’ve configured my new desktop machine.

The Results of My Year-Long Laptop Experiment

A year ago, I replaced two laptops and a desktop with a single laptop. It’s time to evaluate the results.

My Computer Doesn’t Work — What Do I Do?

Folks often ask what might be broken if their computer does nothing, but provide few clues. It’s a long list, and I’ll look at some possibilities.

Will Using an On-Screen Keyboard Stop Keyloggers?

Using an on-screen keyboard instead of a real keyboard might stop some keyloggers, but there’s no guarantee that other techniques aren’t also being used.

Will My Old Computer Run Windows 10?

There are several options to extend the life of an older machine, depending on its capabilities.

Why I Bought My Wife a Mac (Updated)

My wife’s computer was struggling and it was time to replace it. After evaluating her usage, her willingness to make a change or two, and my own experience, I made a decision that might surprise some.

How to Speed Up Your Older Computer: Five Options

Here are five common options to speed up and extend the life of an older computer.

How to Diagnose Wi-Fi Signal Strength Issues

Diagnosing an unexpected drop in Wi-Fi signal strength can be challenging. I’ll review some things to consider, as well as some steps to take to perhaps sidestep the problem.

Why Doesn’t My New, Empty Hard Drive Show All the Advertised Space?

Terms used to measure disk space can be ambiguous. As a result, a megabyte to you might not be the same as a megabyte to your computer.

Can I Recover Old Files from an External Hard Drive?

It is possible to recover deleted data from an old external hard drive, but success depends on how that drive has been used since the data was deleted.

What’s a NAS? How Do I Set One Up?

NAS, for Network Attached Storage, is a device that provides shared disk space on your network. You may already have one.

Should I Partition My Hard Disk?

Partitioning, or splitting a single physical hard drive into multiple drives, has pros and cons. I’ll look at those and make a recommendation.

Can I Delete a Partition Without Losing Its Data?

Deleting a partition is a destructive operation, but that doesn’t mean you need to lose the data it contains.

Is It Safe to Leave a Flash Drive Plugged In All the Time?

Leaving a flash drive or USB thumb drive plugged in all the time runs a small risk of prematurely wearing it out. We’ll look at why, and what to do.

What’s the Difference Between a Hub, a Switch, and a Router?

Hubs, switches, and routers are all computer networking devices with varying capabilities. Unfortunately, the terms are often misused.

How Do I Boot from CD/DVD/USB in Windows 8 & 10?

UEFI has made booting from CDs, DVDs, and USB drives more complex. I’ll review why, and what steps to take.

Are PCs Doomed?

While the ratio of PCs to mobile devices may change over time, I believe PCs will not be going away any time soon. They’re just too darned useful.

Is My Hard Disk About to Die?

There are signs we can use to determine if a hard drive is about to fail, but it’s also common for a drive to fail without any indication at all.

How Do I Best Extend My Wireless Network for Laptop Access?

It can be difficult to get wireless network coverage throughout your home. I’ll look at a couple of ways to extend your wireless network.

My Computers Keep Dying — Is It Me?

It’s easy to feel cursed if computer after computer you deal with has problems. It’s often not you at all.

How To Keep an External Hard Drive Useful and Healthy Longer

My best practices for external hard drives concern software, hardware, and — you guessed it — backing up.

How Do I Print An Email or Webpage and Have It Work?

Many websites don’t expect you to print their contents. As a result, many don’t print well. I’ll review why that is, and the things to try.

How Do I Password-protect a Flash Drive?

There are several approaches to password-protecting a flash drive, one of which might be designed for exactly the task at hand.

What is “Quick Removal” and How is it Changing in Windows 10?

Windows is changing the default setting for “Quick Removal” for external drives. I’ll look at why, and what it means.

Can I Use External Hard Drives as NAS Storage?

External drives can indeed be used as part of your own home-brew NAS. It’s probably easier than you think.

Could a Built-in Tracking Device in My Laptop Detect My Tor Browsing History?

Malware can do anything, but malicious hardware can do even more.

How Do I Get Data Off of the Hard Drive in a Dead Computer?

Extracting data from a hard drive in a dead computer isn’t typically difficult, unless it’s the drive itself that caused the problem.

Can I Use My TV as a Second Display?

Most modern TVs and computers can be connected easily, but there are a few issues to be aware of.

The Journey to My New Computer: RAM Upgrade

I decided my new laptop needed more RAM. I’ll walk you through the replacement process.

Should I Defrag My External Drive, and If So, How?

You can defrag your external drive using Windows File Explorer, from the command prompt, or using a third-party tool. But should you?

The Journey to My New Computer: Success and Failure

My new machine is in service. Here’s what I installed, how it’s performing, and how at least one aspect failed.

The Journey to My New Computer: Update, Update, Update

My new machine is backed up, so the first thing after Windows setup is to update, update, and update again.

The Journey to My New Computer: The First Thing I Do

How I resolved a classic chicken-and-egg dilemma: I have to turn the machine on to back it up, but I want to back it up prior to turning it on.

The Journey to My New Computer: Choices

I’ve reviewed my needs, so now it’s time to translate those into specific decisions about what to purchase.

The Journey to My New Computer: Just What Do I Do All Day?

The most important information you need when selecting a new computer is understanding exactly what you plan to do with it. I’ll review my needs.

The Journey to My New Computer: Taking Stock

It’s time for me to buy a new computer, and I’m taking you along for the ride.

“Chkdsk Cannot Run Because the Volume Is in Use by another Process” — What Does It Mean and How Do I Fix It?

Chkdsk checks your disk for errors at a low level, requiring exclusive access to the disk to do so. “Chkdsk cannot run…” means it doesn’t have the exclusive access it needs.