hard drives

When should I replace my hard drive?

Dave from Merced, CA

Episode 1368

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?

Episode 1367

Tom from Valdosta, GA
Hard drive

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.

Why is my computer so slow?

Episode 1365

Roger from Pasadena, CA
SSD

Roger is having issues with his SSD. It's slowing down and takes a long time to access his data. Leo says the drive is only a year old and the computer a few years old, but there can be a drive failure, even in new SSDs. It's time to replace it. He could try running an OS from a USB key and see what happens. If he doesn't have a similar issue, that clearly shows the hard drive has a problem.

How can I access my hard drive?

Episode 1364

Terri from Temecula, CA
Hard Drive

Terri's computer is crashing multiple times and trying to reboot. Leo says it could be a myriad of issues including a flakey hard drive. That's the most likely culprit. It could also be a bad memory chip that is corrupted and causing it to load and stall. Maybe the stick has worked its way lose.

The problem is, if she brings it in, it'll get wiped and sometimes they can make it worse. She can try and run a recovery with Windows. She can also download Windows 10, put it on a USB key, and then select "Repair" when she runs the recovery. Then backup her data immediately.

Can I install an old hard drive into a new computer?

Episode 1360

Scott from Santa Monica Fwy, CA
Laptop Hard Drive Exposed

Scott wants to know if he can take the hard drive out of an old computer and then put it into a new one. Leo says yes, but he should only use it as a data drive. He could probably put it in an external USB enclosure so he can plug it in when he needs to. He could install it as a secondary hard drive as well. If he wants to use software from that hard drive, that's a lot more problematic due to registry issues. He may be able to dual boot from the older driver, but the device drivers won't work. So he'll have to work around that and use a boot manager.

What happened to my computer hard drive?

Episode 1352

Jennifer from Realto, CA
Hard Drive

Jennifer gets a boot error when she turns on her computer. Leo says that it's likely that her hard drive has died. Leo says the good news is that hard drives are cheap to replace and really easy to install. Also, since Jennifer had upgraded to Windows 10, all she needs to do is download and install Windows 10 with the media creation tool and a thumb drive. A solid state drive would speed things up too. She should make sure to get one with the same kind of connector. It could be SATA or IDE, so she should bring the bad hard drive with her. This is why backing up is such a blessing.

How can I get Dell to replace my hard drive?

Vicki from Rialto, CA

Episode 1346

Vickie's daughter had a computer and the hard drive died a month after the warranty expired. What can she do? Leo says to write Michael Dell and ask for him to address it. Leo says that the hard drive for it is under $100 and it could be replaced depending on its design. She should find out what it would cost to have them install it.

The chatroom says that the Geek Squad at Best Buy will charge $50 to install it. She doesn't have the Windows 10 disc, though. Leo says she can download it from Microsoft since that computer has already been authorized to use Windows 10.

How can I see what's taking up room on my hard drive?

Episode 1342

Joanne from Temecula, CA
WinDirStat

Joanne has a Windows machine and she's getting a message that her hard drive is getting full. Leo says that in Windows, she could see what's taking up space on her computer with the disk clean up utility. She can run disk clean up in Windows and it will wipe out temporary and downloaded files, clear caches, etc. There's also WinDirStat. Leo likes that because it sorts it with color so he can see it at a glance. Then he can choose what to remove.