SSD

What computer should I buy?

Sylvia from Lake Forest, CA

Episode 1422

Sylvia wants to get a new computer but can't decide between a laptop and a desktop. Leo says that in general, a desktop is best for business. A laptop is for personal use. Since Sylvia does video and photo editing, she also should get Adobe's Creative Cloud. She'll also need a minimum of 16GB of RAM, but for video, 32 would be even better.

What's a good, repairable laptop?

Episode 1409

Jerry from Hatfield, PA
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s

Jerry runs a dart tournament and he runs it on a spreadsheet through his mobile phone. He wants to use a laptop instead to make it easier for him. Which one should he buy, and can he have two internal drives in it? Leo says that can be done and he'll want to use an SSD for his primary drive. They have special software called wear leveling that extends the life of the SSD. They are more reliable than spinning hard drives because there are no moving parts.

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

Michelle from Northridge, CA

Episode 1407

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.

Should I replace my hard drive with an SSD?

Episode 1406

Jim from Las Vegas, NV
SSD

Jim has an HP Pavilion laptop and he thinks his hard drive is about to fail. Should he put a solid state drive in it? Leo says that SSDs are much faster than spinning hard drives, and are more reliable. The question is, can the Pavilion support it? Ideally, he'll need a SATA 2 drive. SATA 3 would be even better if it supports it. Then there's the question of whether he can install it himself or would he have to pay for a tech to do so. It'll have to be in ideal shape and size than the existing hard drive. If all that works, then he should absolutely get one.

What's a good laptop for college?

Episode 1402

Paul from Los Angeles, CA
Dell XPS 15

Paul is going to college to study mechanical engineering and he needs a good laptop that can handle the work load. Leo says ideally, he'll get more bang for his buck with a PC. He'll also get more choices. Also, it's always best to check with the college or university for what they prefer. They may require more powerful hardware and specific software. He'll also want an SSD because it'll boot up faster.

How can I clone my old hard drive?

Episode 1398

Bill from Winnetka, CA
SSD

Bill's company has a third party server running Windows 8 Pro and SQL server. He wants to update the hard drive to an SSD, but there's latency issues. Leo says that since he's running proprietary point of sale software, the logjam could be there since they are concerned with piracy. It may mean that he can't just clone the drive and then restore it to the new one without having to reinstall that POS software. But ideally, each drive will come with a drive cloning utility that will make a direct copy that he can run. Once he does, then he can swap them out.

Can I defragment an SSD?

Episode 1393

Sean from Pennsylvania
SanDisk SSD

Sean has a nine year old desktop loaded with software. Will he be able to get updates to Windows XP to end of life? Leo says there's a good chance of that. He just won't get anything through SP2.

He also wants to know if he'll have to defrag his SSD. Leo says no, he won't need to, but he can do it to force TRIM to speed up the SSD.

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

Episode 1376

Jeff from Valley Village, CA
HDD

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.