hard drives

Why does it take so long for my computer to boot up?

Dell Inspiron 17R

Episode 1462

Matthew from Austria

Matthew gave his mother in law a Dell computer Inspiron 17R 571 running Windows 10, but it's taking 5 minutes to boot up. Leo suspects that the spinning hard drive may be starting to fail, with difficult to read sectors. It could also be software that's hanging up the bootup process. Matthew should try using the boot log to see what may be causing the issue. He can get to this by holding the Shift key while its booting, and he can choose to create a boot log on the root level of the drive named bootlog.txt.

How can I get my apps off a failed hard drive?

Hard drives

Episode 1459

Gary from Castaic, CA

Gary can't boot up his computer, not even in Safe Mode. What can he do to fix it? Leo says it's probably the hard drive that's preventing the bootup, and that's why Gary is getting the blue screen of death. It can be one tiny bit or sector that can cause it. Gary could use his Windows Install Disk, and during the install process, it will give him the option of repairing the OS. It's worth a try.

Should I let Windows repair itself after a hard drive crash?

Hard drives

Episode 1458

David from San Antonio, TX

David bought a refurbished computer from Best Buy. It turned off when the battery died, and when he turned it back on, Windows wanted to do a repair. When it did that, it started wiping out his entire Windows 10 operating system. Now he's stuck on the blue screen of death and he's worried that his version of Windows 10 won't activate if he reinstalls it. Leo says it will, but before he installs anything, he should get the data from it. If it crashed once, the drive could be ready to fail.

Why won't my old computer boot up?

Hard drives

Episode 1457

Penny from Long Beach, CA

Penny has an old tower computer that she wants to get rid of. Leo suggests keeping the hard drive and donating the rest of the PC. She tried to boot it up to move the data off the hard drive, but it won't boot. Leo suggests that she check her keyboard connection. Sometimes a computer won't boot if a keyboard isn't properly connected. The BIOS battery or motherboard battery could have died. The hard drive may have gotten stuck. It's called "stiction." Penny should try taking out the hard drive and putting it into an external enclosure to see if she can still read the data.

What's the difference between a traditional hard drive and a solid state drive?

Episode 1450

Michelle from Northridge, CA

Leo says that all traditional spinning hard drives are basically the same. They're basically like record players, but instead of vinyl, they use spinning metal plates. Those plates are magnetic, so they can be magnetized. They also have read heads, at least one per platter, which are like the needle on the record player. Except instead of reading the grooves in vinyl, they're reading the magnetic signals coming off the spinning platter. Because it's a computer, everything is recorded as 1's or 0's, and it's very easy with magnetic material to have a charge or no charge.

Why won't my hard drive boot up?

NewerTech Universal Drive Adapter

Episode 1452

Jason from Goldendale, WA

Jason has an old HP Pavilion and he's upgraded it to Windows 10. Recently, it hasn't been able to start up. Leo suspects that the hard drive has started to die. Luckily, hard drives are pretty cheap. Then, to get his data back, he can get an external hard drive enclosure and move the data off it right away. The benefit is, the computer will run a lot faster, especially if he gets an SSD.

Are SSDs as reliable as spinning hard drives?

SSD

Episode 1451

Gary from Buffalo, NY

Are SSDs as reliable as spinning drives? Leo says yes. They are very robust and much faster. Will they wear out? Leo says SSDs use a technique called "wear leveling" to keep the drive consistently wearing and to extend the life of the drive. That's why Leo recommends using an SSD as the main drive, and storing data on a spinning data drive. Let the hard drive handle the constant read-write cycles, while the SSD handles all the performance.

Why is Microsoft Word running so slow?

Hard Drive

Episode 1448

George from Palmdale, CA

George gets an error message in Microsoft Word that it's not responding as he's typing. After a while it wakes up and catches up. Leo says that the keyboard has a buffer and it will catch up as the buffer dumps out. But it won't catch everything. And George has Windows 10 with Office, so there's something going on in the background that's slowing George down. Windows could be background indexing. He should check the task manager. There may also be plugins from the browser that's slowing things down.

Is it possible to build a hard drive to contain all the information in the world?

Hard drives

Episode 1445

Paul from Ohio

Paul wonders if it would be possible to build a hard drive that could hold all the information available in the world. Leo says that currently, we have hard drives large enough to hold all the information in the Library of Congress. But we really don't know how much information we really have in the world. We do know that by 2025, there will be 163 ZetaBytes (a trillion gigabytes). We're creating data at a rate of 16 trillion GB a year. The largest hard drive out there is 8,000 GB. So probably not. But that's what we have the cloud and the internet for.