Q: My two-year-old TiVo DVR (digital video recorder) is beginning to make strange noises, and I'm worried that I'll lose all my recorded TV shows if it fails. Can I back up those TV programs on a separate hard drive?
Jonathan Sutton, Minneapolis
A: It could have a failing hard drive or a worn-out cooling fan (see tinyurl.com/t4xkz69). The fan is easy to replace (see tinyurl.com/wn6t3ur). But the hard drive is more difficult, particularly if you want to save the TV shows recorded on it.
Why? Some TV shows recorded on a TiVo can't be copied to another hard drive because of copyright restrictions. Backups are difficult.
Here are some options:
• Back up your old TiVo's hard drive to the hard drive on a new TiVo via the internet. This only works for some newer TiVo models (see explore.tivo.com/how-to/transfer).
• Back up your TiVo's hard drive to a standard external hard drive, then replace the hard drive inside the TiVo. This works, but it gives your TiVo a split personality. In the future, it will record a show simultaneously on both its own hard drive and the external one (see tinyurl.com/qw5ru9l and scroll down to "external hard drive.")
• Copy your recorded TiVo shows to your PC or Mac via Wi-Fi by using the "TiVo Desktop" program. After replacing the TiVo hard drive, send the shows back to the TiVo. There are two problems with this method: You need a computer with a lot of unused hard drive space (TiVo recommends 5 gigabytes of disk space for the transfer and an additional 5 gigabytes for every hour of high-definition TV you want to store.) In addition, TiVo Desktop can be confusing (for example, the TiVo-to-PC transfer is ordered through the PC, but PC-to-TiVo transfer is ordered through the TiVo.) To automatically download TiVo Desktop, go to tinyurl.com/rlg7ajz and click on the "TiVo Desktop" link. (Then see transfer details at tinyurl.com/qw5ru9l).
• Consult a DVR repair firm, if you can find one (with new TiVo DVRs costing $200 to $400, there's not much profit in repairing them). Nationally, there's WeaKnees (tinyurl.com/vzdklon).
Q: I'm suddenly unable to e-mail a scanned document from our Brother printer-copier-scanner, a model MFC-J4510DW that was purchased in 2014. I get a message saying no e-mail program is associated with the printer-copier-scanner, but I have set one up. I use the Microsoft Outlook 2016 e-mail program on a Windows 10 PC that was bought in early 2018. What's wrong?
Susan Miller, Colorado Springs
A: Because you have had the printer-copier-scanner four years longer than you have had the Windows 10 PC, you may not be using the latest software drivers, utilities and firmware for the Brother device. (Drivers connect Windows to devices; utilities can fix connectivity problems; firmware is in the printer-copier-scanner and tells it what to do.)
Why has this become a problem now? Microsoft's continual updating of Windows 10 sometimes creates incompatibilities with older software. To fix, download new drivers, utilities and firmware (see tinyurl.com/r8jtncx). Choose between 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 10 at the top of the page (to find out which you have, see tinyurl.com/y6ac83tl).
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