Q: My daughter’s 5-year-old laptop was working fine until Microsoft automatically updated it to Windows 10. Now, a Microsoft logo appears and then the screen goes black. Can we fix it?

Belinda Janecke, Mandeville, La.


A: Your experience highlights the flaw in Microsoft’s plan to automatically upgrade supposedly eligible PCs to Windows 10. Many readers have discovered that their Windows 7 or 8.1 PCs weren’t ready for the upgrade, and had to cope when things went awry.

Other readers who are worried about the consequences of automatically getting Windows 10 should download the free program “Never10” that blocks the upgrade (see tinyurl.com/z5n6wh8).

In your case, the upgrade has probably caused your PC to transfer your screen display to an external computer monitor, even though you don’t have one. Here are a couple of things to try:

Option one: Wait for the white cursor to appear on the black screen. Then press the CTRL key once, type your Windows password (you are typing in a password box, even though you can’t see it on the screen) and press the Enter key. Your screen should act normally after a few minutes.

Option two: Try connecting the affected laptop to an external computer monitor to see if the Windows 10 display will appear.

Once you get your screen display back, make sure this problem doesn’t occur again by following the directions (“Black screen and signed in to Windows 10”) at tinyurl.com/hm4g3fx. They will reinstall the display screen software and turn off some Windows 10 functions.

Alternatively, if the Windows 10 upgrade occurred in the last 30 days, you can return to your previous version of Windows. To do that, click the Windows 10 Start menu (icon at lower left of screen) and select Settings. In the resulting menu, click “Update & security.” In the next menu, click “Recovery.” Depending on which version of Windows you upgraded from, you’ll be given a choice of “Go back to Windows 7” or “Go back to Windows 8.1.”


Q: I read your column last week about a drone flying near a person’s house. Is it legal to shoot down a drone if it is invading one’s space and privacy?

Jesica Conrad, Bemidji


A: No. The Federal Aviation Administration says that shooting down a drone is a federal crime. That’s based on a law that makes it a felony to damage or destroy an aircraft. (See tinyurl.com/jbektzk)


Q: The cursor on my MacBook Pro laptop keeps jumping around the screen. A repair shop recommended that I buy a new Bluetooth wireless mouse, but that didn’t help. What should I do?

Victoria LaForce, Providence, R.I.


A: There are several possible causes (see tinyurl.com/j9mrwyl). The most likely are a worn-out MacBook battery (replace it) or jewelry that affects the electrical qualities of the touch pad cursor control (remove rings or bracelets). It’s also possible your wireless mouse is getting radio interference from other devices using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, or from a microwave oven or fluorescent lights. You can move farther away from those devices or try a wired mouse.


E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com. Include name, city and telephone number.