Can’t connect to this network? Here’s the fix.

Can’t connect to this network? Here’s the fix.

After upgrading to Windows 10, when I unhibernated my laptop the next morning, my wifi connection didn’t work. Forgetting the network and reconnecting didn’t help–I’d get the message that Windows 10 can’t connect to this network.

The problem seemed to be in the power management.

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New computer, old monitor

New computer, old monitor

New computer, old monitor: I see questions fairly frequently about using a new computer and older monitor together. More often than not, it’s possible to do, but you may need to know where to look for the cables and adapters you’ll need.

Here’s some help.

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HP Compaq 6910p upgrades

HP Compaq 6910p upgrades

I spent some time exploring HP Compaq 6910p upgrades because used HP Compaq 6910p laptops are dirt cheap these days. I picked one up for $75 as an alternative to a Black Friday cheapie.

If you look for one yourself, either look for one with a valid Windows 7 or Windows 10 license on it, or get one at a deep enough discount to make it worth your while.

Here’s what I did to turn an outmoded laptop from 2008 into something better than what I could have bought on Black Friday.

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Whitelist Java to provide better security and a better user experience

One of the best things you can do to improve your security in a corporate environment is to limit the use of Java, or whitelist Java. Undoubtedly there will be one or more legacy web applications your company uses that require Java, and it’s almost inevitable that at least two of them will be certified for one and only one version of the JRE, and it won’t be the same one.

Believe it or not there’s a solution to the problem of conflicting JREs, but it took me years to find it, because I had no idea that Oracle called it “Deployment Rule Set.” The secret’s out now. If you run Java, and you want security, you need Deployment Rule Set.

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Lenovo and Best Buy team up for a $149 laptop this year

Cheap laptops are nothing new this time of year–they’ve been practically a holiday tradition since 2002 when Sotec released a decent laptop for $900, which was jaw-droppingly low for the time–but this year, Best Buy is selling a Lenovo Ideapad 100s for $149.99, which, while not jaw-droppingly low given the number of $199 laptops that were available last year, is still the cheapest name-brand laptop I’ve seen. Note: Best Buy has since raised the price to $199, but Ebay has limited stock of the same item for $129.

I’ve seen some reviews, but there is one thing I haven’t seen anyone bring up yet: This is a netbook in every way, except I think we’re supposed to call them cloudbooks now. So keep that in mind. The machine is probably worth $149.99, but it made some compromises to reach that price point.

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How to boot a Toshiba Satellite from USB

Recently I needed to boot a Toshiba Satellite from USB (specifically an L505D-S5983). It didn’t automatically boot from a USB thumb drive when I plugged it in. That is often the case with name-brand PCs I’ve seen. You either have to pull up the boot menu or change the boot settings.

The easiest way to boot off USB

The easiest way to get it to boot from USB is to plug it in with the power off. Next, power it on and hit F12 until the boot menu comes up. In theory you only have to hit F12 once, but your timing has to be right. My practice is always to just hit F12 as many times as I can until it registers. When the boot menu comes up, USB will be one of the options–probably one of many options. Pick that option, and you’re off to the races.

When that doesn’t work

If the USB option doesn’t come up, try the drive in a different port. Then hit Ctrl-Alt-Del to reboot the system and hit F12 again. This time the option should be there. On some systems, a USB device has to actually be present before it will give you the option to choose booting off USB.

I don’t know for a fact that all Toshiba Satellite laptops use the F12 key to bring up the boot menu. But F12 is a safe starting point. If F12 doesn’t work, watch the screen. Odds are just before Windows starts loading, you’ll see something at the bottom of the screen that says what key to press to bring up a boot menu. That’s the key you want.

Of course it would be nice if all manufacturers would settle on a particular key to bring up the menu. I know better than to expect it to ever happen. It’s amazing we have as many standards as we do.

But now you know how to boot a Toshiba Satellite from USB. Good luck!

Why shouldn’t corporations just let software auto update?

I’ve been hearing the same new idea at work for about 10 years. The idea is pretty straightforward: Since my home PC updates itself whenever it wants and I don’t have problems, why don’t we do the same thing at work so we won’t need expensive update deployment tools?

There are generally two problems with that.

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SSDs, data loss, electricity, and hype

I’m not particularly worried about this, but under the very worst case scenario, certain solid-state disks can theoretically lose data in a week or two if they’re left without power. But that doesn’t instill panic and get clicks when you say it like that.

But you knew I was going to write about it. Let me tell you why I’m not worried.

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Build the best, most secure wifi in your neighborhood

My neighbor asked me for advice on setting up wi-fi in his new house. I realized it’s been a while since I’ve written about wi-fi, and it’s never been cheaper or easier to blanket your house and yard with a good signal.

Blanketing your house and yard while remaining secure, though, is still important.

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Lenovo is penitent, but its customers aren’t out of the woods yet

After having an incredibly bad week last month, Lenovo started saying the right things, and perhaps doing some of the right things too. But some laptops with the Superfish malware preinstalled on them are still in the supply chain, which means some people are unwittingly buying them.

This isn’t terribly surprising. But there are a couple of things you can do about it, and they’re things worth doing anyway.

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