hard drives

Can I install Windows 10 on a new hard drive?

Episode 1261

Matt from Los Angeles, CA

Matt dropped his laptop. Now he gets a blue screen of death and a 'hard drive damaged' message. How does he get his Windows 10 installation back if he installs a new hard drive? Leo says as long as Windows was authenticated, Windows 10 is tied to the computer. Once Matt installs a new hard drive on his computer, he can download the Microsoft Windows 10 ISO and then activate it. He should create a recovery media on a thumb drive as a safe backup. He should also check his laptop's firmware, as there may be a way to read the serial number if it's an HP.

Should I update my old Mac?

Episode 1255

Dave from San Diego, CA

Dave has an old iMac that works fine, but when he gets on some websites, it starts to lag. He could update to OS X El Capitan, but would that help? Leo says that its a good idea to update for security reasons, but it probably won't help when loading up certain websites. It really depends on the site. What's more likely is that the hard drive is slowing him down. A bad sector can really slow it down as the computer is trying to read it. Leo advises backing up his data, format the hard drive and then update to El Capitan. Dave should download El Capitan first and put it on a USB Key.

Do I need to wipe my hard drive before recycling it?

Episode 1253

Wendy from Pasadena, CA

Wendy needs to give away her old Dell computers. Does she have to worry about leaving data on the hard drive? Leo says absolutely. If she doesn't take out the hard drive, then the data could be accessed by someone. E-Waste recycling events are great, but before she does that, she should run DBAN to wipe off the hard drive. Then she can give it away with no worries.

Why am I getting driver warnings?

Episode 1251

Rene from Long Beach, CA

Rene's hard drive was about to crash so she bought a new hard drive and reinstalled Windows. It's been updating, but today she's missing drivers and getting unknown device errors. She googled the driver error and Leo stopped her right there and said that Googling drivers is a dangerous thing to do because she could get a nefarious hacked driver. He recommends always going directly to the manufacturer for the latest drivers. Rene can go to Dell and look at the specific machine. Each one has a device number. She may be missing drivers from extra USB peripheral devices.

How can I recover data from a damaged hard drive?

NewerTech Universal Drive Adapter

Episode 1249

David from Orange County, CA

David has an external 2TB Seagate Baracuda hard drive and he hasn't been able to transfer the data from it, because it's damaged. Can he roll his own data recovery or does he have to pay for it to be recovered? Leo says that there are several levels of data recovery. Level 1 is a soft error -- a data error caused by a bad block. It's easily fixable with a good utility. Level 2, on the other hand, is a physical issue. This could be a scratched drive, a bent lever, etc. If he has a level 2 error, he's going to pay ten times the amount to repair it -- often in the thousands.

What do I do with a hard drive fail warning?

Episode 1248

Ann from Oceanside, CA

Ann is getting a warning that her hard drive is failing. How can she backup her data? Leo says to get an external USB drive and just drag and drop everthing over that. What about her favorites? Leo says she can export her favorites from the browser and email them to herself.

Leo says the computer should be still under warranty and if there's a warning, then it should be replaced. It could also be a false positive. Leo has never had a hard drive fail after a warning. They usually fail without warning. So she should back it up and then take it in to be looked at.

Can I replace the hard drive in my Mac Mini?

Apple Mac Mini

Episode 1245

Denise from Santa Clarita, CA

Denise has a Mac Mini with a 2TB hard drive and she's running out of space. Leo says that's a huge hard drive and it would be very hard to fill it up like that with regular use. First, she should empty the trash. Denise also had a power outage and Leo says that could have clobbered her hard drive and ruined it. At this point, it's probably best to replace the hard drive, which would be a challenge to do with the Mac Mini. Leo recommends taking it to the Apple Store.

How can I wipe my hard drive before I donate my old computer?

Episode 1243

Paul from Lake Forest, CA

Paul has an old Windows 7 computer and he's thinking of donating it. How can he wipe the drive effectively? Leo says most places that you donate to will promise to wipe the drive for you, but it's always a good idea to do it yourself to be safe. Paul should grab an external hard drive, plug it in and then drag and drop his data directly. Once he's done, he should download DBAN (Derick's Boot and Nuke). It will wipe the drive to the standards of the Department of Defense. It's very secure.