Patrick Marshall answers your personal technology questions each week.
Q: I cut my TV cable cord and went to Fred Meyer to buy a Roku 2. I bought the older Roku 2 because it still had the RCA-style connectors and I still have a CRT TV. The Roku’s connection to the internet is via Wi-Fi. I would have preferred an Ethernet cable link but our household geography makes this impossible. Of late my viewing experience has been impaired by significant slowing. I’m getting sick and tired of seeing the word “loading.” We still use the Wi-Fi router that was installed with our initial setup four years ago. Is my current router any good? Would I improve my situation by buying a better one? If so, what should I buy?
— Bill Smalley, Ellensburg
A: I don’t recommend specific models of hardware, since to do the job correctly I’d have to be spending all my time reviewing hardware. There are worse fates, I suppose, but it just isn’t what I do.
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Still, I can tell you this. With a few exceptions, when it comes to routers you do get what you pay for. That is, if you want a router that delivers a higher-strength signal farther, you’ll need to get a model that supports the most recent 802.11ac protocol and that has multiple antennas for better reach. Expect to pay a little over $200.
While the newer router will deliver better performance, be aware that the client device (in this case your Roku 2) must also support the 802.11ac protocol for you to get the best performance. Unfortunately, the Roku 2 doesn’t support 802.11ac, so you won’t get the full benefits of your new router. Instead, you’ll be limited to the performance supported by the previous standard, 802.11n. I expect, however, that you’ll still find that to be a big improvement.
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Finally, if the distance is still too great for your new router, you can get a booster that will be sited between the router and your TV. The best boosters will cost a little over $100.
Q: Since Nov. 21, 2017, the HP Touchpoint Analytics Client Service (exe. file) has been installed without my permission on my computer, presumably through HP Help. It keeps starting at random times and running for hours. I have recently been going to Task Manager to “end task,” and that shuts it down for a while. Then it restarts. What is HP Touchpoint Analytics? Is it essential to the function of my HP Pavilion Windows 10 computer? If not, how do I get rid of it?
— Dave Fluharty
A: HP Touchpoint Analytics Client is software that collects information about the status of your computer and transmits it to HP. Some analysts have called it spyware. HP says it is simply a tool for providing customer support. Either way, numerous owners of HP computers have reported it to be slowing down their computers.
Fortunately, you can remove the software. The simplest way to do so is to hold down the Windows Key (the one with the Windows logo) and click on “R.” In the dialogue box that pops open, type “services.msc” (without the quotation marks). In the list that pops open, find the entry for HP Analytics Client and double click on it. You can then change the Startup type to “disabled.”