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Solutions: Security systems for an older laptop

Published Jun. 27, 2014

I have a Dell Latitude D620, with Windows XP Pro. It is serviceable on the road to check email and other lightweight tasks. You've recommended Windows Security Essentials and Windows Defender as good security programs. Since Microsoft ceased support of Windows XP, neither program will run on the laptop. Are there other anti-virus programs, free or paid, suitable for an older computer and Windows XP?

I would go with a well-known company that has been around for a long time (and will continue to be) — such as Norton, Kaspersky and McAfee. You're smart not to make free or fee a deciding factor. It works out to pennies a day, and I've found that you get what you pay for when it comes to software, especially when you factor in support.

I have been retired for several years, having worked to age 72, and I now spend more time traveling. All my trip photos are assembled on Windows Movie Maker, music is added, and the projects are burned to a disc. I usually make five or six copies for family and friends. Was I surprised when I got home from Washington, D.C., on Wednesday only to find the burn function was missing. I headed to the Web and found Microsoft had dropped the feature in Windows 8. What's with that?

You can use Windows Media Player to burn DVDs on Windows 8.1. Run Windows Media Player and tap the Switch to Library icon (bottom right on mine) then Go to Library. Click the Burn tab on the upper right hand side. Insert a blank disc DVD burner. Now just drag and drop the items to burn from your Player Library to the Drag Items Here area on the right. When it's ready, click Start. If you don't see your folders in the Player library, use File Explorer to right-click on the folder and select Included in Library. Read more at

My Inspiron N5050 with Windows 7, which I have had for six months, appears broken. All known available key strokes, from ON to F8, F2 and F12 lead to a "process_initialization_repair" and "launch startup repair" endless loop. Dell's website offers no help that I can find. Is there a repair disk? Does it make sense to migrate to Windows 8?

Six months? It should still be under warranty. I would call Dell support. Any repair tools should be installed on your hard drive in a separate partition, which seems to be corrupted. If this is the case, you'll need to get a DVD from Dell with the operating system/repair tools. This should be available at a nominal cost. Once you get it and boot from the DVD, you can start the installation process. At one point it will ask whether or not you want to do Upgrade or Install. Choose the Upgrade. However, if you did suffer physical disc damage, this option may not work. If after a fresh install you continue to have crashes as before, chances are there is physical disk damage and the drive will need to be replaced.

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Send questions to or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.


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