If I buy the same model replacement machine, can I just move the hard disk?

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I have a Dell Inspiron 1545 operating on Vista. It has had problems with the monitor frame and hinges. I want to buy a used laptop of the same model and move my hard drive over to it. If I purchase a laptop with the same operating system, what kind of problems will I encounter? What if the used machine is purchased using Windows 7?

I receive so many variations of this question where people want to replace or swap hard drives from one machine into another.

Swaps like this usually don’t work, but your scenario actually could. Nonetheless, there are indeed a couple of misconceptions that I want to clear up here.

Read moreIf I buy the same model replacement machine, can I just move the hard disk?

How do I restore my backup to a new machine?

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My wife’s PC, which was running Vista, died. Fortunately, we have a backup hard drive. We’re replacing our old computer with a new machine running Windows 7. Can we do a complete restore using the new machine? Or will that overwrite Windows 7 as the operating system? How do we restore all of her content including the applications that were on the old machine? Do we just copy folders? Sorry, but I’m a Mac guy and I know very little about PCs.

There are several approaches to restoring what you have from a backup. Unfortunately, when you’re restoring to a new machine,  things aren’t nearly as clean as you might want them to be.

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Why can’t we catch scammers?

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Why is it that, with so much law enforcement, online scammers who do the money mule scam can’t be fully decommissioned on a global scale? What they do is send random emails and tell the victim that they can make good money by being a work-at-home shipping representative when in fact, it’s a reshipping fraud.

To a certain degree, I understand and sympathize with your reaction, particularly if you have been victimized by these scammers in the past.

But this is a more difficult problem to solve than most people realize. The single biggest reason why it’s so hard to deal with is that it’s international. To address the issues, law enforcement groups in basically every country on the planet would have to cooperate in real time.

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What Information Does a Laptop Leak on a Wireless Network?

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What identifying signatures are given off by my laptop when I’m connected to a wireless network? I’m sure that my WiFi card, hard drive, Windows ID, and other identifying information is broadcast, but what is it? Would I guess that a traffic sniffer would show the make and model of my computer? Or does it go deeper than that?

Actually, it doesn’t go that deep at all. In general, it’s not as much information as you list… as long as you’re doing things right.

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Why does my computer make a grinding noise when starting up?

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Recently, my computer has been making a very loud grinding noise when I boot from cold. It seems to take forever to stop and everything goes very slow during this time. What is this and how can I correct whatever is wrong?

There are two possibilities that come to mind. One is something that you should deal with, but it’s nothing to really panic over.

The other is definitely worth panicking about. And in fact, given that your machine is running slowly while this is happening, it might be time to start panicking right now.

Read moreWhy does my computer make a grinding noise when starting up?

Do I need all these Office 2007 updates if I also have Office 2010?

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I’m running Windows 7 Home, 64-bit, SP1 on an HP laptop. Originally, I had Office 2007 Professional installed. I subsequently bought and installed a standalone copy of Outlook 2010. Later, I bought and installed a copy of Office Home and Student 2010. I did not uninstall Office 2007 because I wanted to retain the ability to use Publisher 2007. Now, when I run Windows Update, it wants me to install all of the updates for both 2007 and Office 2010. Why would I want to install updates to Word or Excel or PowerPoint or Outlook 2007 or install 2007’s huge SP3? Should I?

Yes, you want to take that update. If you have parts of Office 2007 on your machine and you have Office 2010 on your machine, then you want all of the updates for all of the software that’s installed on your machine. It’s more than just minor improvements and whatnot; it really is all about security.

Read moreDo I need all these Office 2007 updates if I also have Office 2010?