Best backup practices and recovering lost data.
Backup and Recovery
Ken has a old Intel iMac. Should he be reinstalling OS X occasionally to keep it running well? Leo says that he could, but it's not as important on a Mac as a Windows PC. This is largely because it doesn't have a registry. But he can do it if he wants, and it's really easy to do now. Once a year or two, it's a good idea to clear out the machine and start over. He should just make sure to back up his data first though.
Leo says Microsoft has a Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, but Leo doesn't like that as much. Leo recommends just getting an external hard drive, and copy over everything in My Documents, My Pictures, and all of the "My" folders. Then he can copy that all onto the new system, and in the process, he'll be making a backup. He'll have his files on his old machine, the external drive, and the new machine.
Chris ordered the 2TB Time Capsule from Apple and he wants to know if Carbonite backup that much data. Leo says that Carbonite is unlimited backup, but he should remember that it takes a very long time to back that up because he's using upstream bandwidth which is considerably slower than his download speeds.
(Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor)
Richard is looking to get a personal cloud device. He's wondering if he can store virtually anything in his computer in it. Leo says he could, but he wouldn't. There are a lot of options including one from Western Digital, PogoPlug, and File Transporter. The idea of having a personal cloud solution like this is that Richard would own the drive that all the data is stored on.
Tom is getting an error message on his Windows computer that his hard drive may be starting to die. Should be believe it? He just bought it. Leo says to always keep his hard drive backed up, but Leo says that over-relying on Windows can be a mistake. Most hard drives have a technology called SMART which can warn him of some errors. So yes, he should be concerned and always have a backup just in case.
William and his Dad built their own computer together. Leo says that's a great project to do together! But his hard drive crashed. He rebooted it and now he can't do anything with the OS. Leo says that it's best to wait. Don't reset because that'll cause the hard drive to spew data across the disk. That could cause the hard drive to become corrupt. Fortunately, William has a backup. So Leo recommends doing a deep, low level format and reinstall Windows. He could try running SpinRite, but that won't solve the corruption of the file system.
Kyle uses Carbonite and he has been having corruption issues with his backup. When he tries to restore it, he can't because it's corrupted. Leo says that Carbonite has great support and they use "versioning," with their backups. They often have off site backups that he can't see. Leo recommends calling up Carbonite to ask them if they have his backups in deep storage.
That's a risk with backups of any kind. Hard drives can become corrupt. If he starts with a bad file, then there's really a tough road to hoe to get it back. But if anyone can, Carbonite can.
Michele uses Carbonite and she's concerned about how long the backup lasts. Leo says that if she deletes the original on the local drive, the backup drive will be removed about three months later. But if she's syncing it, it'll delete it immediately. Generally, though, backups don't get deleted right away. That's the whole idea.