Austin's TIVO DVR isn't working, except for flashing lights. Leo says there's a place in LA called WeakKnees, which can replace his hard drive. There's also FixMyTIVO.com, which says it could be a bad hard drive or a bad motherboard. If it's a bad hard drive, he can get a hard drive kit to replace it. But if it's a bad motherboard, then he'll have to buy a new device.
Steven's sister has a 2011 MacBook Pro with a failing hard drive. She hasn't backed it up either, and there's a lot of pictures that they want to save before the hard drive goes belly up. Leo says it's good news that the computer can still see the drive and it can be mounted. The drive may be a little "messed up" and it can't read or record the data reliably. Unfortunately, in the Mac world, there aren't many good disc utilities.
Greg's laptop is caught in a reboot loop. What can he do? Leo suspects that Greg's hard drive is failing, causing the laptop to stall during boot up. Leo says he can use SpinRite by GRC to move the data off bad sectors and mark them to avoid in the future. But the software is expensive and hard drives are cheap. If he needs to get his data, though, it's worth trying. Leo recommends that Greg buy a new drive, and he should get an SSD while he's at it.
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.
Denise's external hard drive can't be read by her Mac. How can she recover it? Leo says that there are disc recovery tools that could help Denise. One is called SpinRite, but it's a bit expensive and is difficult to use on a Mac. AlSoft's Disc Warrior is another good option, but it may not be the best option because it can only fix soft failures.
Peter is having problems connecting his Echo to the internet, but his computer is still having problems and he thinks it has died out. Leo says it's probably coincidental that the computer went down, but it may be related since Peter said the connection interrupted and a power surge may have occurred. If Windows was indexing the hard drive, it could have spewed a word salad of 1s and 0s, making the hard drive unreadable.
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.
Frank has been using the same password for years and now suddenly the password won't work on his Windows Surface. Could the hard drive be going out? Leo says that it's more likely a keyboard issue. He should check the CAPS lock, SCROLL lock and NUM lock to make sure they aren't enabled. Another thing to do is enable the feature that will allow him to see his password as he types it.
Adam's laptop hard drive became unreadable when a battery failure happened and he needs to get the pictures off it. Leo says that since the hard drive can still be accessed, he may be able to get them back with a recovery software utility. Piriform Recuva is the one that Leo recommends. The key thing, though, is to never write to the drive again until he manages to get the data he needs off of it.
Mark is having trouble getting SpinRite to run on his Windows 8.1 machine. Leo says that SpinRite is a great utility for evaluating the hard drive. But it can't be run from Windows, he'll have to run it from a USB key. If that's not going to work due to the format of the drive (Windows 8 uses GPT) then call Gibson Research tech support. They know a ton about how to get SpinRite working.