Best backup practices and recovering lost data.
Backup and Recovery
Chris is worried about storing all his stuff in the cloud. If the cloud goes down, will he lose everything? Leo says that storing in the cloud is practical because we use multiple computers and as such, he'll need to have a central storage area for all of them to contribute to. But the downside is that if he loses access to the cloud, he'll lose access to the data. That's why having a local backup is so important.
AJ opened up a laptop he hadn't used in awhile and all of his music and pictures were corrupted. A popup actually said the disk couldn't be read, and must be formatted. He tried to recover it. Why did it become corrupt? Leo says that hard drives die, and that's why you need a 3-2-1 backup strategy. 3 copies, on two different formats, with one off site.
Darlene has over 6,000 images on her phone. She's been backing them up to Google Photos, and when she signed up for iCloud Photos, it put all 6,000 images back on her phone! Leo says she can turn off the iCloud photo library, but at least leave the Photo Stream turned on. That will erase all of them from her phone. Amazon Prime is another good option for storing photos, as is Yahoo's Flickr, which offers 1TB of free storage.
Greg wants to know if ransomware will infect and encrypt drives in multiple locations. He uses the Transporter to sync his data. Leo says it won't do that. It can't go over the internet to infect it. But if he's backing up encrypted files, those could get backed up replacing the other files. That's why versioning is so important. Carbonite has a great solution and a white paper on versioning.
(Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor)
Chris wants to know if he can have a running backup that will enable him to reboot should the hard drive crash and just pick up right where he left off. Leo says he can do it by setting up a RAID running RAID 1. He can also run SuperDuper which can create bootable backups, but it's Mac only.
Here are a few suggestions from the chatroom:
Brooke wants to know how she can restore a note that she accidentally deleted from her iPhone. She tried to restore it from her backup, but that deleted everything. Leo says the first thing is to turn off the phone so it doesn't backup. Hopefully it was backed up to iCloud, as it does normally. Chances are, however, that it's probably too late if she's restored from an old backup already. But if backup to iCloud was enabled, that's really her only hope.
Mark bought a new computer for his daughter but the Windows Transfer Wizard transfer app doesn't work. What can he do to get her data to the new computer? Leo says that the Windows transfer utility doesn't work all the time and when it does, it may not get everything. So he just recommends getting an external hard drive or thumb drive, copying the data over and then plugging it in and copying it to the new computer. She won't get the settings or favorites, but she can get her data.
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.
Fran updated to Windows 8.1 and now she has to always choose a boot loader. Leo says that could point to a stuck F12 key. But it could also point to a changed boot order in BIOS. She should change it back to boot Windows first. Leo also suspects that the motherboard battery is dying. It can easily be replaced by popping it out. If her date isn't correct, then she'll know for sure.
Mark has an iPhone 5 that is backed up to iTunes, but he gets different data on when it was backed up depending on his computer. Leo says that a backup from iTunes is done to the computer, so it makes sense that multiple computers would have different local backups. He can back up to the cloud but he'll only get 5GB of iCloud storage unless he pays for more. That's enabled in the settings. Leo also recommends encrypting his backups as well. That option is also in the settings.