How to charge a computer in a car when the power goes out

Q: During the recent ice storm and power outage here in Houston, it was impossible for me to keep my laptop battery charged. I had no problem getting out to the car and charging my smartphone. Is there a way to charge a laptop in my car if it ever happens again?

A: The easiest way to charge a laptop in a car would be to purchase a special charging unit from the laptop manufacturer that is specific to the make and model of your laptop.

For example, if you have a Dell Latitude 5510, you can type the make and model of your laptop into your favorite browser, along with the words car charger, and you’ll find what Dell has to offer.

These things aren’t cheap when purchased from the manufacturer, but Amazon offers fairly inexpensive options that typically offer a variety of connectors that will suit several different types of laptops, including laptops that charge via USB-C.

Be sure to read the reviews and look for suppliers who have a good warranty and refund policy.

Q: I recently bought a new HP laptop. Unfortunately, the laptop does not have a CD ROM. Many of my software applications that I have to install are on the CD, so I’m thinking of getting an additional drive, but I don’t know what I’m looking for. Can you give some recommendations?

A: CD and DVD ROM drives are becoming rarer on newer computers. Especially on laptops.