backing up

Why can't I read my external hard drive?

Hard drive

Episode 1494

Ted from El Paso, TX

Ted has an external hard drive that his laptop cannot read, even though the computer can see the drive. Leo says that since the computer can see the drive, the USB connection is working. So it's likely the drive is corrupted. He can crack open the external case, and Leo recommends going to iFixIt.com and input his drive model to find out how to fix it. Then he can connect it directly and run something like SpinRite to see if he can repair it.

Can I fix my crashed hard drive?

Hard disks

Episode 1486

Chip from Cherry Hill, NJ

Chip has a failed hard drive and doesn't really want to spend over $500 to repair it. Is there a way to do it himself? Leo says that a hard drive dying can mean a lot of things. It could be a hardware failure or it could be a software failure. It could be a corrupt sector on the boot record. Software failures are easy to fix and inexpensive. Hardware failures will cost a lot. Drivesavers charge a lot because they have a clean room with all the parts, and can replace bad parts and recover the data.

What happened to my files on my external hard drive?

Hard drives

Episoide 1473

Bonnie from Costa Mesa, CA

Bonnie bought a new computer and when she plugged in her external hard drive, it said it was empty. Leo says that if she still has the old system, she should plug the hard drive back in and see if the files are there. If not, then something went wrong and she didn't back up her data as she thought. That's why it's always a good idea to keep the old system around for awhile until she's moved everything over. Windows 10 should be able to see the files from that XP drive no problem.

Is there a computer that doesn't come with adware?

Episode 1438

Lincoln from Palm Springs, CA

Lincoln wants to know if there's a computer he can buy that doesn't come with any trialware? Leo says that most computer companies do this to offset the cost of manufacturing them. Even Microsoft will bundle trialware in the install. Leo advises uninstalling all that stuff from the very beginning. Leo says that Microsoft is edging towards putting advertising in the OS through popups, and that's a bad thing. So Lincoln should get rid of it all, and install only the programs he always uses, then create a stock Windows install by making an image copy that he can boot up to just in case.

How can I sync both my computers without losing data?

File Sync

Episode 1378

Angelo from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Angelo bought a Toshiba Laptop with Office 365 and One Drive backup in 2013. When he started to back it up to the cloud, he bought a second computer and now he's lost a lot of data because files were removed when syncing to the secondary computer. So it's deleting files off his original computer. Microsoft doesn't know what to do about it. Leo says that's a good reason to have more than one backup. One Drive is not a backup. It's a file sync system that matches two folders, or two hard drives to make them equal. That means syncing deletes as well as copying files.

What happened to my photos after upgrading to Windows 10?

Microsoft Windows 10

Episode 1333

John from West Los Angeles, CA

John upgraded to Windows 10 on his desktop and his images are missing. Leo says this is a prime reason why you should always backup before doing an upgrade. John did, but he's still wondering what happened? Leo says it's been reported by several people and Leo says he hopes the photos were moved to another folder. It's possible that the images are in a 'Windows.old' folder or that the shared folder pointed to another folder that got deleted. Either way, it's bad behavior on the part of microsoft.

Does Windows control my RAID?

Episode 1271

Dave from Crystal Lake, IL

Dave has gotten a notice that he will be upgraded to Windows 10 on a certain date unless he cancels it. So he did. Leo says that Microsoft is really pushing for users to upgrade to Windows 10, whether they want it or not, and less savvy computer users may find they've been upgraded without their notice. It's pretty nefarious. Users do need to agree to the EULA to use it, but that's after Microsoft has installed it and if you don't want Windows 10, you'll have to uninstall it.