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Ep. 49: To fix a bad Windows PC, send it backCNET How-to editor Sharon Vaknin joins us to scold PC makers who send out computers that crash on boot. Plus, Google mail secret tips, the Nook at a "chic-lit" platform, and more!
Hi everyone welcome to -- to rescue our weekly show where we try to answer your tech questions. Help you deal with the technology you have make decisions about which technology to buy. And sometimes -- right. I'm joined today by a very special rescuer -- back in and who is the voice in the face of CNET how to -- section we have -- answer I've got cnet.com. -- And and and awesome. -- away yeah I know a lot -- -- yes I'm not surprised it's very very useful I have actually learned things from that show. -- -- -- The other way right -- -- I. Yes. Will look for more integration between -- -- to the rescue and how to that's dot com in the future as we as we roll with it we're gonna be doing more the other. I'm if you have a question forcing it to the rescue don't forget to send it in rescue at cnet.com. No question is too basic. That you've got -- getting into your skin please let us know and we will do our best answered here or -- to. We are going to start today with a couple of road tests then we are going to take your questions. And share and is going to do all the artwork all our questions. As -- card and thanks for joining us that it is great to have you here -- I want to start today by little discovery I've made these are products have been out for awhile but I've been using as you know. It's an ongoing theme here for the last couple weeks we've talked about using -- being productive in Gmail or at the corporate version of it. Called Google -- which -- Gmail with which recently -- Latest redesign development -- We like the -- now -- I know -- entered into their. Yes eBay and Google has redesigned they they they they do incremental changes but the black when it actually to look a little more modern and -- also change the home page and -- dot com just to be cleaned out a little smaller. And in that little something you'd never know. Never notice. -- so we've been talking about making the best use. Gmail and one of the problems that I have with Gmail. One of many -- with as little wells one of the many things that I. It -- things like -- -- -- right there are some things really get in is search in Gmail. -- sucks now I you have to actually identify where you -- thirteen thousand -- South -- there's my problem there's no wildcard search. I can't search for SHA. Star shares. -- and its goal of -- search company is crappy search. And only searches Gmail and only -- -- at -- time and I have several Gmail personal account corporate account and then archive all sorts. Plus it doesn't search contacts search docs. -- -- -- My advice to everybody is check out one of these two products first of -- correctly GRE PLI and which. You -- -- to search your thumb. -- multiple accounts and it will also search your private information and FaceBook Twitter. Evernote. Sales -- the comic that I -- and no I typed about. If -- -- -- desert island -- in our all your private stuff your docs. An anti Apple I desktop applications are it's a cloud application with the desktop plug -- so replace your Gmail search field. Incredibly useful. Yeah I absolutely love it. There's another weren't -- using for a little while now there's another one called cloud magic. Which -- you search as you type which you get on Google but not on Gmail and -- Which is really nice does in. And an issue integrating Google apps with -- and yes now grappling which I prefer because it searches more than Google products. Is free and lets you go to Google apps and to corporate stuff. And Evernote and those charges fifty bucks a year. Which is the paper records and I'm campaign. And -- But it's free for just personal accounts so grappling for searching -- a lot of private stuff. They seem -- made especially for me the -- Evernote drink in it. And. Cloud magic for just. Real power searching in Google itself. Its Gmail and docs aren't and that's my road test you've got something what I. And -- -- Beautiful new -- actually mine and is doing accused on it now. I've been loving it though are I've never had an. No current Kindle. And -- thinking on an of course the Android if that. I want I love. IE I -- I -- on the Kindle but I read Kindle books on -- iPad. Ice at -- I don't -- and buy -- orchestrated this but I mean. -- ice in the back anyway yet anyway. I went to -- and not and that's glorious thing you its own little and it had a keyboard like when you have -- -- -- has keyboard. Not using it on the Kindle and 90% of the time that -- -- Wii -- Now. And that there's not -- between ethnic and all houses as -- library and bookstore. Name on you don't have a lot of published titles have. Amazon other than that I haven't checked it and -- -- She let us not a -- that's actually a live picture but Mike -- pants -- -- Really it's it's overly sarcastic and -- and I mean corrections does not necessarily equipment at Jonathan Prince. Possible this is not however rates -- club notes are so what you recommend idea but I do recommend an act idea. Donald bell ultimately little currently and even. Screens here it is keep comment area but. I I'd recommend at the touch screen is it -- -- It looks like a little wonderful product. Here hampers. -- -- -- recommended and I'd. Found that the hit in my browser to laden. -- to get to you it go to the search field and then just type the URL and it'll open -- browser. You can't actually sign in and -- IP can read news and -- so that's that's Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi three G -- and entry. -- I like that and that the next -- -- raise. And we have to talk briefly about Google plots which is Google's answer. Two FaceBook and Twitter it's like halfway between FaceBook and Twitter and it's the the way that it's it's the social network that Google should have done. Three generations ago first they had wave now first -- Orkut which nobody use which was just a rip off of FaceBook. Nobody except the Brazilians -- -- -- And then -- wave or I can't remember what anyway grave. Yeah yeah -- does whatever. The Google plus is actually quite good invitations are just now turn to -- -- and very limited beta right now it it it. Actually there and they've learned from Facebook's mistakes and they've -- very. Not just good privacy controls but understandable privacy controls as FaceBook has good privacy controls if you can find. That -- didn't get everything is making huge deal about privacy controls yet. Buy it if people cared the general public think -- in our little tech bubble right that we -- a -- but. The general public doesn't seem to care that much about their privacy if they did they would've laughed based -- a long time ago. The thing about all the privacy issues they've had in the past bright -- I don't think that's gonna be enough to get people attempting platform no. I agree with you however it is the is in essence it's necessary to do privacy better than -- what can I -- a social network today so but you're right. But the features of modernize the way you can have lethal circles of friends and or or acquaintances and in. And yes and you know hiking pictures here biking buddies family -- at same time. Well see I mean no nobody's gonna abandon FaceBook for plots but. It's actually -- credible additional social network and -- you know. Mythical god yet another social network -- but we're actually using here just a little bit a couple people of access to now and this is quite good what -- things are really do like about this. -- it has this feature which is poorly -- called hang out. Which is a video chat room and where if you're in the plus you can. Well -- it's it's I think face and those who haven't -- -- You can have multiple people in a video room. And just there. And then once somebody speaks their picture becomes the big one at the top and -- -- speaks their picture becomes -- and at the top how do you claim diet spotlight. -- really good when you talk and at -- out and while you can also disable it but automatically -- just and do I set it up a set up a chat room hang out room. With 45 people that I work with here. And he was seamless it was one of the easiest video experiences that I've ever had. And there were just chatting like we're on the same room together making faces at each other that's really quite good. So at and so little plus watch it it's it's an important service. And I can attract and I would -- -- -- wanted to tell you. That you can actually access. Google plus about signing up so somebody forgot to -- -- -- that he -- I hate it and then plus -- dot com. And you can bend like FaceBook -- -- closed behavior you are on the -- And then you'll see search results for Google plus you can see yeah that's. Because -- Google -- is very interesting idea of a public threat. Where you can take you can -- you're starting a discussion thread you can say this is public. And that would becomes. Indexed by removal. And available to anybody but it doesn't mean you're actually inside the full plus experience right it just means that a discussion that's using the plus engine is now available to everybody to see and I and I -- -- -- Name and -- -- -- their profile on a really act a certain it's going in with school profiles matching in there this is one of the problems we'll get your questions just looks like everybody. This is actually the problems of -- plus it's actually not plus this fall. But Google has all these services that use your personal data there's -- there's plots are then there's plus one. Global warming -- right hand meet left hand. Which is totally different thing. And then there is contacts. Which are different. And then there's your Google profile which is public it's different. And Google just has not yet put all these things that -- into a coherent. Product ray and then you have Lancaster to both bottom. Yet have your page by your network. I wanna see it all work together and they're just trying to tackle everything between utilities and we -- a -- -- and now. In -- -- start but it's a good start and it ought to be for their third Triad. Let's take a couple of questions what you say -- -- let's start Joshua love Salazar on my new windows PC he says. They require you to make your only system recovery disk and tore apart because they're too cheap to send you one. But he says the problem is my computer crashed before I could make one. How could I make one -- that happens here's how you make when Joshua. You call the vendor. And you get them to send you one or you send your computer back to them. With in -- rattling around in an empty box because come on computer vendors if you're going to not to go. Put the thirty cent. Yes median there of a recovery disk and require people to make -- -- the tragedy is. I've seen this happen so many times now and not just windows but it also happens with some -- products where. With in the first hour you get a major system via it was I wanna know with HP not because everything on crashes. -- what the heck I mean it's like has Steve Jobs taught you nothing. That's did it -- -- -- more for Mac and sent because it doesn't crash means you are -- -- -- far is so lo people. So anyway -- I'm sorry I don't have an answer for you on how you can recover your computer. The fault is not yours and you should not be doing the heavy lifting and I know you probably bought this computer because you need to use it. But that the answer is to call the vendor and have them and use it recovery disk or send you a new computer that they actually bother to turn on and try before they shipped it to -- And yet really -- right. -- pension rights in the chat rooms that's by the -- notebooks don't have -- The point now some netbooks -- netbooks though that's neat I challenge you oh. Get a new one can they're so cheap or not you you plug any USB hard drive or use -- that. -- -- a mark from Toronto. Related topics says. A couple of episodes back you're talking about the need to deep crap apply new PC your little application that enactment. And urban dictionary yet and there's actually great product -- -- -- -- Now if it does exactly what's posted a wonderful product. Anyway mark says if you already have your. -- window seven installation disc wouldn't it be quicker. To just do a clean Windows 7 install and just use the registration key that it's printed on the window sticker that came with the new BC. Or will that he not work with Windows 7 art look to parts -- answer first of all. The first part would that work. To set up a clean install yes. Minus the problem -- you might have drivers that came with your computer. And that come preinstalled. And crafted an optional thing or other apps that you will completely wipe out that you might want. -- but yes that is actually a very good solution take a window seven. Disk. And install a clean version of windows on your computer the question I have is can use the license that's printed on the box because that is for OEM edition of windows. Seven not the full retail version you. Presumably happen so I ask Microsoft about this and they said. Assuming that is the product key yes. You can reinstall a clean Windows 7 using that product he. But if it's or restore disk that you have if it which a lot of OEMs do. -- -- might include other other apps and stuff like that from. What. What the -- the first thing if that's a Microsoft windows -- It should work if it is a system restore disk from a different vendors computer. Don't -- and now it might be right here yet. But that's a very good solution at and if you if you like the fueling -- a brand new computer that fresh air flowing through the empty sectors. And mean it and it -- -- new. -- -- -- -- I -- in selling applications. I you know what we view it -- -- it -- -- and a total with the everybody talks about with with. OS-X. When you get a new computer. You just a time machine -- -- one and then restore from that to the new ones. I know yeah I'm looking forward to getting my new air -- and interests in clean. Random. Assistance but that com. Now anyway so mark that -- should work. Sasha from Switzerland has two part question here I'm gonna receive a new net. Notebook with in the next few weeks can you tell me the best way to migrate the content from my old notebook which is an XP machine. To the new -- which -- Windows 7 especially. My outlook -- when he and settings and my iTunes content. Well actually Microsoft has a tool that works here pretty well it's called file and settings transfer wizard and that will take care of your files and your outlook settings and your email -- -- all the Microsoft stock but that it won't do your apps when it will do you're you're all your IE settings. If you use -- which shouldn't allow. And your email settings which is the key -- and -- that -- iTunes as a different issue that's the trick here. That's so. The -- purges most of your music from iTunes. You can use I -- three down on them all you have to do is open iTunes and iTunes store. At a purchased and then you'll see all the music you purchase and that's new -- got him -- -- came with the announcement. But this will go -- this is retroactive everything you've ever purchased on iTunes yes so it has to be you it's all your music you purchase them so. If you -- music -- got -- in any other way you either need to wait for iTunes -- in September or use. -- think about solutions just do external hard drive and transparent. Now. Where is that music stored because doesn't iTunes kind of take music and child into its own corner somewhere or to just you -- in -- slash music directory. Which means that the music you ripped music -- were out for iTunes mats. For anything so if I have iTunes. And I've got a bunch of music that plays that I've ripped into it from CDs then. Where does it keep up a -- here her. Heart 00 with it but -- -- You're setting -- are -- it a could be organized into your iTunes music folder okay so you that the anything is to death not just looking your music folder -- your windows and my folder but dive into the iTunes directory and I sure before you won't get rid of -- -- computer. That you've gone through all the iTunes sub directories and got -- old musical exactly okay. I'll we have other -- questions here it's -- and who get okay I don't know just I apologize. I want to get video and audio from a laptop on a conference room table to -- PV on the wall and I would rather not have wires any suggestions. -- like some choices for connections -- HDMI component etc. it. They're so. If you how to -- -- the television in a conference room -- -- -- ready meaning you can connect to your wireless network who then. You should be able to access your PC and stream files that way. But if not then you'll need an adapter and I found one it's called the Western Digital TV live. And it'll. Make your T I hope your TV network and then that we access files from your PC and not one runs about. Like a 130 back from the investment but -- your TV is now Wi-Fi. And do you need any hardware installed on the computer side no -- over Wi-Fi yes I thought I -- So it turns any TV into -- DL and AT I can't say that that's India deal and they compute receiver yet a cool app. Still attract an analyst of the works if I'm actually tracked the 130 bucks so if you have extra thirty bucks or your business with since -- sounds like -- conference -- to the spring for let us know. Let's see. The for those who were asking what that's called that is the Western Digital TV -- -- My says my mom recently bought a Sony Blu-ray player I'm trying to find a cheap Wi-Fi adapter for her that will work with this player. The one that Sony sells a seventy dollars which is more than half the cost of the Blu-ray player which is -- 130 dollars that Costco. Well while you're really well I was visiting our try to -- Wi-Fi -- and none of them worked hard with these set up another Wi-Fi device or the cellular ago. Bombs. So you first -- all I have to say. Doing a price comparison of the the Wi-Fi adapter vs the Blu-ray player. It it I can understand how this could be so knowing to spend half. The money of a whole player -- this little dongle well it's especially if and it looks at the box makes it look like it actually why I ready. When they feel like -- ready mean. -- -- -- We have a seventy dollar attachment for their seventy dollar -- and and and Wi-Fi dongle or should -- generally must much cheaper. But I just wanna say that. Blu-ray players are priced so low that comparing anything to Blu-ray player if you're gonna feel bad so. I I think you have you know some solutions here but I would just say. If the Sony solution is the only one that works in -- seventy dollars think about your time and frustration is worth especially if as you say. You're trying to set up your mom and have this thing work and give her advice to the over the phone can actually considered in this. His seventy bucks but -- not sure if. Though you can use. At Wi-Fi access point around access point and is diesel house 14. Forty or fifty bucks and it's a cheaper solution met again at present are set up you're gonna hostage. Teacher how to connect remotely in it is -- -- the product in front of -- Though I'm wondering what exactly. Why he wanted to connect with -- violation I do it's not not -- then. And she wants Internet content maybe -- -- just. -- Apple TV. Instead of going through that and the right. Yeah I'm really tempted to get a roku. In Cuba that yeah tells me okay -- -- -- I sidetracked here tells that the -- it's -- it's surprisingly the and I used that way and have Netflix instant streaming they've been using it piling them. Looking at my laptops -- it and there's a CNET. Also beaten and dot com and yet in -- I I do Netflix streaming through my Tivo. -- which is very clunky. But -- could -- have to get you have to you know get shows. -- My iPad and shows and then I find them on the on the people channel -- a via the net that you have to cue it up yet I hate in yon -- -- -- acute. -- -- -- First though I have to get a TV that auctions or HDMI. Its own -- to -- -- -- -- -- your. -- That's -- avenue I between year old TV -- Because. I have a child in private school and that's what are -- are right Matt says mum. My questions regarding podcast subscriptions why do I have to hit -- -- for -- my subscriptions to kick off downloading the latest episodes MI doing something wrong. I would expect new -- that -- downloaded automatically whenever I'm online Americans open. So. You said double check your settings. If you go to podcasts tab in iTunes at the bottom -- -- the button and settings. Click it and you can change the frequency of how often I teens text -- up -- -- mindset to check the retirement openness they don't leave iTunes running. I -- open it and ruin me once the -- I think. It it's confusing because -- -- -- Published new episodes at different time grant invites -- iTunes checks at 12 o'clock PM and five year podcasts published at three darkening -- at the fact that. So if you exit out and -- -- at hourly. So there's as a setting to change expert yes apparently yeah okay do that do it. -- -- bill and James -- listening to CNET and other podcast -- homework and in the car but he's having issues keeping up on everything he has a Mac at home and iPhone and Windows 7 PC at work. Is there a class solution that will alert me when a new episode of -- my podcasts is available let me listen to wherever I am. And then when I go to one of the other devices would know that I've already listened to it. I realize that cloud iTunes cloud sync might fix this issue but until Apple gets that is there another solution -- that -- -- -- way. While cloud sync should is gonna do all this stuff it's. But yet James I think there are ways to do this. But for the I would just wait for -- think it'll be much easier you -- to -- Hopefully it'll work as well as as Apple advertises it will work. I have the same issue here you know I got a much different devices and I hate having. Different media and although on an Apple to their credit they finally get this -- the using -- the web the clock for what is good for which is. Taking media management -- -- local devices and putting in the clapper belongs. It's taking too long but. If he just went in a couple months I I'd say it's not really work hacking around and finding -- Red chair solution -- something which is one of the you know like in replacements via. We're not sure -- that you'll come in September of based on what was announced that it like it's should be -- -- from -- with time for few more here let me. S skip. Ahead. Are the people and skipping the New York -- -- -- quick question here from -- manage. Who said. Can you see if Donald or anyone else there has a recommendation for good portable flexible. Bluetooth keyboard for -- with the playbook. I just have to say here. That good and flexible are mutually exclusive words when it comes key ports with in this yes I'm Leo -- We have a -- and CNET labs. There are able to type on button now there are some very nice small Bluetooth keyboards. You can find -- a new -- Amazon. And they ate some of them there -- Donald shall we want for the HP tablet. Which is. That little chicklet keyboard looks like little Apple -- -- as black and satellite. I saw a bunch -- -- -- from different vendors for like 3040 bucks and if I was going for portable Bluetooth keyboard I would go for one of the ones that actually if he's on it and not. Rubber yeah milk -- candies you're gonna have -- I bought out yet. -- -- -- -- -- That's the that's the -- -- says. I liked this question is and what. I'm going to be a freshman in college next year and I will be a graphic design major growing -- -- -- -- Fortunately for this major they gave me they were a requirement my laptop they are a MacBook Pro with the following. The 2.3 gigahertz Intel Core duo 1440 by 900 pixel display two gigs of memory its -- ever. And an ATI mobility radeon X 16100 graphics card with 256 megabyte -- so this sounds like your standard graphic workstation MacBook Pro. Portable machine. After visiting the Apple Store Kalin says and best buy and looking at the Apple website I've come up with the following two scenarios number one. The original plan by the base fifteen inch MacBook Pro and just use that as my main computer. Number two. Because cable is obviously -- rebel -- after visiting the Apple Store -- -- employee I can put this idea I would buy the higher end thirteen inch MacBook Pro. Not fifteen. And in my dorm room have a speaker seventeen inch or larger screen I would connect the screen which would not be a Mac because expansion. My computer when I'm in my dorms I would have a bigger screen and working on projects. My question is what would -- to suggest of the two plans above and what type of screen which you suggests. Kayla and I think your plan B there and -- on and I am too quick get the portable -- to the MacBook Pro thirteen inch you know high end MacBook Pro I mean it's powerful machine. Yet at and I think I don't know the graphics -- the same as the as the fifteen inch but. -- -- -- Yes and then you can have a larger screen for viewing movies yes or playing video games -- needed -- strength. More than that so you have the thirteen interest -- which is a lot less size and weight to slop around. From room to room so that's it's easier on your back you will save -- chiropractic bills that. And not only do you have a bigger screen when your back in your in your room working but you have two screens. So you have that the big screen for your work and that for your your graphics stuff and then you can have on seconds in you can have your chat here I am your -- I -- -- -- gigantic proponent of dual screen. For productivity because you put your main job on one screen. And ancillary. Secondary -- the stuff on a second screen it is -- such a better really good idea -- -- yeah I have all my social networking on and off screen. And that it is he works on the so as to which monitor to get your write an Apple monitor is a way too expensive we have a bunch of monitor recommendations on CNET they're fairly recent. Looks like the sweet spot -- 23 inch monitors and they run from mum. Between three inch monitor for 250 bucks that that is like a four starts at monitor at the prices and analyze and technology has. Gotten so much battery monitors. Eric Franklin -- if -- act. Yet -- monitor look for his reviews. Air Franklin's recommendation the top choice here on the best of the 23 inch monitors is a Samsung. PX 2370. However. Check back frequently because is a very fast moving market and coupons may change the equation there for you on which -- that's the did not monitor is truly beautiful is -- really -- and it is Eric -- monitor. In the whole world in the whole universe that but. Okay. Yet so. Give that a shot and when Europe professors give you grief about you didn't get the approved machine to -- -- more productive and into better work. What's the wobble in there. Two quick ones on the Gmail saga from advice for people and Gmail. As you guys know -- -- that before moving from -- Gmail can be difficult. Samuel as well as one -- two other -- said come in your most recent episode you mentioned need for better email client -- this the recommendation here have you tried outlook 2007 using IMAP. You would you view the look and feel you're used to while using Google apps and your mail server. Or Google also offers an outlook sync option that -- mail calendar and contacts. But not tasks these are open access to consider. And we'll have a link here it's called. -- apps sync if you're -- Google apps user. And I've been trying -- -- action stalled at this morning in his personal outlook 2007 as an IMAP client -- them. If it's just not tech community if folders -- I get confused about folders and it's hard to figure out what exactly is going on however. GG. Google apps sync. As it is little piece of software that runs on your computer and kind of -- is. Gmail -- Google apps mail into outlook. Not using outlook IMAP I don't think and it's actually working pretty well. Through valued here at the moment I am I mean I'm I'm kind of going back and forth between. Who -- native web -- Thunderbird at home Olympic window seven machine has been supported. Thunderbird my windows machine here at work crashes because my machines -- crappy. Now I'm going sparrow. For personal email on my analysts on my Mac. Which is a very lightweight beautiful email client but can't handle the hundreds of emails -- get the -- as it does have that you like the station. And now this this outlook plug in -- who collapsing which -- -- -- -- -- and eventually ditch -- While I had its outlook avenues that -- for two weeks. But now that I have now Google -- sync is pulling me back -- Though. Let I don't love -- I'm just used to it. -- on the Arctic in Colorado recommends using another email service called post box which is built on thunderbird. I will try that I haven't -- a chip that's apparently -- paid app. I have kept my OS and program files on one drive and it on a second. Though one suggestion I would make is to use a label maker and physically -- the drives and unplug the OS. When you reinstall your OS it is hard to tell device zero blah blah blah from device one -- law and I speak from experience who. That sounds like the painful -- -- that you got the -- -- because these two drives right. A data drive and system drive because it's a nice way to set things up -- drive crashes at the other. You want hula. Installing new system you've got your data drive -- -- that. So you go and -- tried to reinstall windows onto your system drive and -- install on your old data drive instead. Disaster yeah label them unplug the cable -- very good idea when you're doing system reversal. Mart thank beyond and we are sorry for your pain. -- -- -- Any final words of wisdom any -- tips any what's -- what's the cool thing you're working on in how to right now I did a how to battle. Published today on how to -- on -- -- -- -- I decided my Twitter -- these -- I think back in 2007. With him for it so out of -- I'm so glad you're doing that it -- that'll be ignited after. Great will look for that and -- knew how to get sort of a Twitter. We -- How to dot cnet.com is where to find that stuff -- and you -- -- thanks for joining us in. Steve thanks for producing. Remember if you have questions for -- to the rescue send them to rescue at cnet.com and if you're watching this. Any reported immediately -- live. Wednesday's noon Pacific on live dot cnet.com until next time.