Patrick Marshall answers your personal technology questions each week.
Q: Every few weeks for about a year, my computer keeps trying to update from Windows 10 version 1709 to version 1803 “Creators Update.” Each time it goes through the update progression with multiple reboots and then hangs up and I have to power off and back on. It then removes the update and restores to the version 1709. Sometimes it actually comes up in a state without any network connections and loses my settings (e.g., my login PIN).
It might be related to when I copied the OS from the hard drive to a Samsung 250 GB SSD so it would boot faster. I unplugged the hard drive when this problem started and that has had no effect. The computer runs perfectly otherwise. It is a Gateway DX4860 with an I5-2320 processor and 16GB DDR3 memory. The SSD has 95GB of free space. Do you have any ideas for things to try to get the Win 10 version 1803 to load?
— David Weiss, Bellevue
A: Yes, I suspect that, as you suspect, your update problem is related to your having copied the operating system to another drive. In fact, I’m very surprised that Windows loads at all from that new SSD. When you install Windows it records information about your computer’s hardware and configures itself accordingly. If you move that copy of Windows to a new computer or a new drive there will likely be conflicts. There are a few programs, however, that can help you make the move to an SSD drive safely. You can find detailed instructions here: https://st.news/digitaltrends.
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Since you’ve already copied the OS to the SSD drive, however, I’d say you’re left with two choices. First, you can install Windows from scratch on the SSD drive. Alternatively, you can reinstall your old hard drive. Assuming it still has a smoothly working Windows on it, you can then follow the instructions mentioned above.
Q: I recently subscribed to a virtual private network service and after setting it up on our two laptops I discovered that my password manager — LastPass — no longer worked. When I called the VPN service they advised that yes, it was incompatible. My question is, with a VPN service how am I going to get our password manager to work? We were hacked last year and I am really gun-shy regarding weak passwords and need the random 12-16 character passwords that are created by the password manager.
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A: Actually, I also use both LastPass and a VPN. I’ve had no problems getting LastPass to work while connected to my VPN, and I tested using VPN servers both in the United States and in Canada. Which leaves me wondering whether your particular VPN is doing something that is blocking LastPass. I don’t know what VPN you’re using, but I’m using NordVPN.
If you simply can’t get LastPass to work with your VPN, there’s another possible solution. While using your VPN you should still be able to log into your LastPass Vault and have access to your stored user names and passwords. That way you can look up your login information for websites you want to visit while using your VPN. (I don’t know about you, but I only use my VPN when I’m on public Wi-Fi and not on my own secure Wi-Fi.)