hard drives

Should I get a Mac with a Fusion drive?

Apple iMacs

Episode 1381

Edward from Hollywood, CA

Edward is thinking about buying a 27" iMac with a fusion drive because he hears it's faster. Leo says it is, but only faster than a spinning drive. It's not faster than a solid state drive. It made a lot of sense a few years ago, but now it really doesn't because SSDs have gone down in price.

If Edward needs a large drive, it's OK, but Fusion is only slightly faster than a spinning drive. It's better to get an SSD and then add an external drive via Thunderbolt. Leo doesn't care for Fusion technology. It really doesn't give the benefits they want people to think it does.

Why can't I read my external hard drive?

NewerTech USB 3.0 Universal Drive Adapter

Episode 1381

Dennis from Santa Monica, CA

Dennis' computer has a Western Digital Passport external hard drive that mounts, but it can't be read it or ejected. Then it crashes the computer. Leo says that it's a USB device that isn't fully mounting. It's probably an issue with either the USB controller on his computer, or the cable itself. Dennis should try using a different USB cable first. Then he should try plugging it into another USB port and see if he can replicate the issue. The USB driver may also be corrupted.

Why can't my computer see all of my hard drive?

Hard Drive

Episode 1379

Irwin from The Bronx, NY

Irwin's hard drive died, so he replaced it with a 3TB drive. But his computer can't see all of it. He's running Windows 10. Leo says it may be a hardware limitation of his computer that's preventing it from seeing all the hard drive. Leo advises waiting until Tuesday with the Windows 10 Creator's Update. It could fix the problem. He'll also want to be using UEFI to boot to it. If not, there are third party partition managers that can fix it.

What should I do about my data if I'm selling my computer?

HDD

Episode 1376

Jeff from Valley Village, CA

Jeff wants to do some spring cleaning by getting rid of some old computers, but is concerned about privacy and the data on the hard drives. Leo says that the easiest thing to do is to simply remove the hard drives. He could also use something like Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN) to completely wipe the drive. It erases everything by writing zeros across the drive, and then erases it again. If he does that several times, he'll be safe from everyone save the NSA. Solid State Drives, however, can be easier to get data off of.

Will my new computer use my old hard drives?

Synology DS216J NAS DiskStation on Amazon

Episode 1371

Dave from West Michigan

Dave wants to know if his old RAID hard drives can be read by his computer. Leo says it depends. If mirrored, maybe. They're identical. But maybe not. He shouldn't make any assumptions. Dave should copy the data off it and then he can take each of them and put them in their own enclosed drives, or use a new array like Synology. Synology also does a disk check periodically to keep it healthy. When he puts them in, they'll check the hard drives as they are building the raid.

When should I replace my hard drive?

Episode 1368

Dave from Merced, CA

Dave has a laptop with two hard drives with various ages. When is it a good time to replace the old drive? Leo says that hard drives fail over time. Google says that they will fail a lot at first, and then then to zero the first few years, and then about 8% a year after that. So if you're drive has been running that long, it may be one of the well put together ones. Hard drives are cheap so just keep your data backed up. Use it until it fails and when it does, your data's already backed up and ready for the new hard drive. Spinning drives also tend to fail gradually.

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

Hard drive

Episode 1367

Tom from Valdosta, GA

Tom says it takes over a day for his computer to boot up. Leo says it sounds like the startup process in the hard drive is damaged. If he can take the hard drive out and put it into a new computer, like Tom did, then perhaps it's a cable or power supply issue. Tom should try booting from the USB key and see if it takes the same amount of time. If that works, then clearly there's a driver or software issue causing it to boot up slowly.