How do I get Flash to work on my TV?

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Hi Leo. I just purchased a smart TV and while I can play videos from YouTube through the app, when I try to stream live sports, it won’t let me. I’ve looked at the web and it seems like Adobe has pulled their support of Flash Player for the Android TVs and Google Play. Is there a way I can use my TV to stream live sports (as this is why I got it)? I’m sure the TV is smarter than me so sorry if this is a petty request.

It’s not a petty request , but I think that you’re kind of stuck. The whole Android/Flash thing is a tough one to solve. Let me explain.

Read moreHow do I get Flash to work on my TV?

Should I remove the battery if I leave my laptop plugged in?

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Hi Leo. When running a laptop on AC power for a long time, is it better to remove the laptop battery and let it run only on AC? Kind of like a desktop?

This is one of those questions that comes up periodically and to be honest, there’s no right or wrong answer. For every answer that there is out there, there are arguments against it. It tends to be controversial. And when I make my case here, I know there are going to be people who disagree with me.

I think that whatever you do will be just fine. I’ll explain why.

Read moreShould I remove the battery if I leave my laptop plugged in?

Should I Update to the Latest Internet Explorer?

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I have Windows 7 Home Premium, Service Pack 1. In the past, I’ve always been gun-shy to jump on the newest Microsoft release. On my computer, IE 9 takes second fiddle to Chrome. That said, along comes IE 10. In my experience, I usually wait about six months for them to work all the problems out before I update. So, what are your thoughts on the IE 10? Shall I wait a bit longer or jump?

Ultimately, if you’re running Chrome anyway, it’s a moot point. If you primarily use Chrome, just keep using it and keep it up-to-date (which Google does transparently for you).

I’d probably have you update Internet Explorer, but not for the reasons most people think.

Read moreShould I Update to the Latest Internet Explorer?

Do I need to run the Malicious Software Removal tool?

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I have a Fujitsu laptop running Windows 7 with Service Pack 1. It’s running fine. I used Microsoft Security Essentials per your recommendation. After reading your last newsletter about manual updates, I went searching around the MS download site and found out about the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal tool and Microsoft Security Scanner. Should I download both of these and run them? Or are they earlier versions of software that are now wrapped up in Microsoft Security Essentials?

I wouldn’t necessarily consider them wrapped up with the existing software. But you don’t have to worry about them. Let me explain.

Read moreDo I need to run the Malicious Software Removal tool?

Does a wireless range extender compromise my security?

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I have a home network: two PCs hard-wired to a Belkin router and a laptop Wi-Fi connected most of the time to the same router. The Wi-Fi connection is secured according to your recommendations with WPA2 and so forth, as confirmed by the small window currently connected. For outdoor use of the laptop, I use a Linksys RE1000 range extender. When I connect, the same windows show security type “unsecured.”

I tried to configure the extender as specified in the supplied CD (i.e. by wireless), but there’s no provision for security. Hardwiring the device gives access to the configuration panel, but there’s no provision to secure either.

My questions: Is the lack of a security setting typical of extenders in general or is it my model only? Is the situation insecure? I guess I’m okay on the internet side because the link to the internet is the Belkin which is secure, but what happens if someone picks up my extended signal? Could that someone interfere with my laptop? Thanks in advance.

It’s interesting. There shouldn’t be an issue here, but what you’ve described definitely makes me nervous.

Read moreDoes a wireless range extender compromise my security?

Is it better to use incremental or differential backups?

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Hi Leo. In January, I made a full image backup of my computer using Macrium Standard and scheduled a nightly differential backup. I chose differential over incremental as it’s easier to restore using the full image plus the most recent differential rather than restoring the full image and every subsequent incremental. To make sure I retain enough disk space for backups on my external drive,  I delete all the differentials every 10 days except for the last two. Based on this scenario: 1) Would there be any advantage to making monthly full image backups as you suggest rather than just sticking with my January image? 2) Would there be any advantage in using incrementals instead of differentials? 3) It’s now June and I am a happy camper! Is there any reason I shouldn’t be?

Well, first let me start with the last question first. Nope, you’re in great shape!

I’m thrilled that you’re backing up. You’ve clearly put some thought into this, and I don’t have any serious issues with the approach that you’re taking. If you’re comfortable with what you’re doing, I probably wouldn’t have you change anything.

But if there were something that I’d recommend that you change, it’d be taking a new full backup probably once a month or so. Why? That gets a little harder for me to explain.

Read moreIs it better to use incremental or differential backups?

Why Did I Lose Applications After My Machine was Formatted?

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Using Windows XP, Home Edition, 32-bit. I had my computer formatted and the technician lost my Corel Windows programs and Veritas to burn music CDs. Is this normal for it to happen?

Well, yes and no.

It’s important to realize that formatting a computer erases everything that’s on that hard drive. You start with a hard disk that contains Windows, other applications, and data and after you format, you have an empty hard disk. That’s normal. That’s expected. That’s what formatting means.

What concerns me here is that the technician should have told you.

Read moreWhy Did I Lose Applications After My Machine was Formatted?

I Can’t Upgrade to the Latest Windows. Should I Switch to Linux?

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My computer, 1.8 Ghz with 440 gig megabytes of RAM is not powerful enough to install the Windows 8 upgrade. I cannot afford to buy a new computer. I’m 85-years young. Would you recommend switching to Linux?  If so, do you know which is their best distribution?

Your question actually has a much more complicated answer than you might imagine. Switching to Linux is often a very reasonable approach to lengthening the life of your machine; there are many distributions of Linux and some are specifically tailored to make fewer operating demands on your computer.

That being said, I want to ask one thing first: why are you considering switching at all?

Read moreI Can’t Upgrade to the Latest Windows. Should I Switch to Linux?

Are Humans Getting More Stupid Because of Computers?

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Are humans getting dumber or lazier because of computers doing all the work? For example, spell-check replacing dictionaries? After 20 years, how can some one not know about the BIOS when the computer displays a message, “Press F1 to go into setup”? Or should they choose better instructions? Some of the new questions here seem like déjà vu and to me and probably lots of your readers.

I love these philosophical questions because they actually speak to the heart of what people are thinking and wondering about when it comes to computer from time to time.

My opinion is that people are as smart – or as dumb – as they’ve always been. Obviously, some are smarter than others and people have different strengths and weaknesses but by and large, people are still people even with 20-plus years worth of computers under our belts. I think what’s changed is where and how we spend our time and focus our energies.

Read moreAre Humans Getting More Stupid Because of Computers?