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  • Patch Lady – the battery problem

    Posted on May 13th, 2019 at 22:57 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Technology and batteries have a love hate relationship with each other. We need batteries to power many of our laptops and devices. Yet we still rely on battery technology that when it’s not working right could lead to dangerous conditions. A year ago Amazon contacted me proactively about several USB battery blocks I had. The batteries could explode. So they send me prepaid shipping boxes to safely send back the batteries and refunded me in full for my purchase. I had purchased my bricks several years before so I was surprised with out Amazon handled the recall. It was efficient and quite frankly, given the age of the battery bricks, generous.

    Surface devices are not immune to battery issues. There are numerous threads in various forums about bulging screens that are as a result of battery issues. While there are threads about successful resolutions with units swapped out for refurbished units, there are also other threads where customers have been given conflicting information and some have had to pay to fix the issue. The tell tale signs of an impacted system is a screen that no longer fits well with the rest of the unit.

    Calling up support appears to be a bit of Russian roulette. Depending on your location, support may tell you that you have to pay for the service. Or they may fully replace the unit at no charge. Some will even tell you that there’s no problem at all with a bulging battery:

     

    However as Barb Bowman points out, other tech companies like Best Buy inform their customers that bulging batteries are indeed a problem and they should be handled very carefully. If you are impacted by or suspect you have a unit that has a bulge, the best way to handle the issue is to immediately stop using the device. If you have a Microsoft store near you, take it back to the Microsoft store. If you do not have a Microsoft store near you (the closest one to me is four hours away), the best thing to do is to call Microsoft during business hours and discuss the issue of the bulging screens. If you receive a support personnel that does not handle the bulging screen issue seriously, call back and try with another support personnel or better yet ask to speak to a supervisor. You may also try to get service online.

    Surface devices are notoriously hard to repair. So much so that the ifixit site indicates they are difficult to get into and cannot be upgraded. The Surface Pro 6 has a repairability of 1 out of 10.

    Surface devices aren’t the only ones with battery issues. Even Macbooks have had to start a replacement program to deal with their bulging problems. Lenovo’s had to replace impacted batteries that failed. HP had to expand a recent recall due to battery issues.

    Bottom line, take a look at your laptop. No matter the brand, no matter the price tag. If you start to see your screen bulge, or see a yellow tint on the screen, don’t try to fix the computer yourself, contact the vendor of the laptop and see what they can do for your issue. Batteries shouldn’t fail. And when they do, it can be dangerous. Sign up for notifications from your laptop vendor or keep an eye on recall notices.

    If your device is under warranty, or in the case of Surface devices, less than three years old, chances are very good that you will get a replacement.

  • A note about newsletter subscriptions

    Posted on May 13th, 2019 at 09:36 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you’re an AskWoody Plus member — you can see the gold ribbon next to your picture – you should be receiving AskWoody Plus Newsletters in the mail on Monday morning (U.S. time). You’ll also get Alerts from time to time, as news breaks.

    Plus keeps this site going.

    If you’re a Plus member and you aren’t getting Newsletters, shoot me mail! CustomerSupport@AskWoody.com.

    There’s a bug in our subscription renewal system that may affect people who re-registered about the time their original subscriptions expired. I can manually check to see if you’re affected and, if so, get you back on track. Meanwhile, I’m trying to track down the bug.

    If you want to change your email address, it’s a two-step process (one of the joys of maintaining separate databases for the Lounge and for the Newsletters):

    To change your AskWoody email address — the one that’s used primarily for password change requests — log on, then click the My account link in the upper right. Choose Account details. Change your email address to whatever you like and click Save changes.

    To change the delivery address for newsletters — at the bottom of any newsletter or alert, you’ll see a line that says

    Update your email address or password

    Click on the link that says Update and you can change your newsletter delivery address there.

    Some day we’ll have all of this tied together. Some day.

    If you’re still using your email address to log on to AskWoody, you need to get that changed. Again, shoot me mail at CustomerSupport@AskWoody.com. I’ll get you a “proper” AskWoody acount and your Plus membership will continue unabated. Promise.

  • MS-DEFCON 2: Keep the May 2019 patches off your machine for now

    Posted on May 13th, 2019 at 07:43 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Tomorrow’s Patch Tuesday and, if it’s like other Patch Tuesdays for the past year or two, it’ll be accompanied by howls of pain.

    Don’t be an unpaid beta tester. Get Windows Update locked down.

    We’re at MS-DEFCON 2: Patch reliability is unclear. Unless you have an immediate, pressing need to install a specific patch, don’t do it.

    Full details in Computerworld.

  • Woody’s Windows Watch: Sticking with Windows 7? You aren’t alone.

    Posted on May 13th, 2019 at 02:55 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you plan on keeping Windows 7 beyond its expiry date, January of next year, you aren’t alone. Hundreds of millions of PCs will continue to use Win7, in spite of Microsoft’s exhortations to the contrary.

    Here’s a look at how the Win10 upgrade effort is proceeding – and what I’m doing with the Seven Semper Fi machine to keep the wolves at bay.

    In AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.17.0 — mailed out this morning to all AskWoody Plus members.

  • Langalist: Remove vendor-installed junkware, vet “Update needed” and booting a Virtual PC

    Posted on May 13th, 2019 at 02:41 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Fred continues his LangaList streak, tackling three subjects:

    • How to uninstall pre-installed junk on a Win10 PC
    • Is that “Security update needed” popup bogus?
    • Can you use a Virtual PC to boot your computer?

    Interesting questions. Insightful answers.

    Out this morning in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.17.0, delivered free to all Plus members.

  • Deanna’s Freeware Spotlight: USBFlashCopy

    Posted on May 13th, 2019 at 02:12 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I bet you have a gazillion USB drives hanging around. I do, and I’m constantly trying to figure out which one(s) I can re-use without destroying something valuable. There’s a solution: Back up your USB drives before you obliterate them.

    Freeware guru Deanna from OlderGeeks.com has a solution: USBFlashCopy automatically backs up your USB drives (and memory cards) when they’re plugged into your PC.

    Full instructions out this morning in AskWoody Plus Newsletter issue 16.17.0.

     

  • Troubleshooting: Use system images to fix major PC hassles

    Posted on May 13th, 2019 at 02:01 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Windows 10 has a built-in (and ancient) whole-disk backup tool called System Images. It works, most of the time, but you need to know about the gotchas. You can also use System Restore points – as long as you had the foresight to turn them on in advance.

    Michael Lasky takes you through the built-in basics in the new AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.17.0 — out this morning to Plus members.