Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

How can I transfer files from my Windows XP computer to my Windows 7 computer?

George from Tarzana, CA

Episode 1179

George would like to know the best way to transfer his files from his old Windows XP computer to his Windows 7 system. Leo says that Microsoft has a files transfer program built into Windows that does a fairly good job. But this is a great opportunity for George to make a backup. He should go and buy a USB external hard drive, and backup everything in his Documents folder. The advantage to this is that he'll have a backup on a separate drive while transferring his files over to the computer.

How do I backup my images?

Shane from Yelm, WA

Episode 1179

Shane's internet is very slow since he's forced to dial in and connect via DSL. Leo says that DSL speeds depend on distance. He's frustrated because as a photographer, it takes him over a day to upload images and he can't do online backup because of the connection. Would external hard drives ideal for mirroring? Leo says that he'll have to do it that way, and it's best that way, especially if he sends the backed up images to another site. Leo recommends checking out dpbestflow.org by Peter Krogh.

How can I get back images when upgrading Windows?

Richard from West Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1177

Richard upgraded to Windows 8 and lost a lot of photos that he can't replace. Will that happen in Windows 10? Leo says it shouldn't happen at all. Things may happen, but always, always backup before doing any kind of upgrade. In fact, if he doesn't have three copies of his images, he doesn't really have backups at all. Always backup and include one off site. That's really the only way to keep them safe.

Should I be afraid to upgrade to OS X Yosemite?

Vicki from Anaheim, CA

Episode 1167

Vicki keeps getting notified about doing an upgrade to Yosemite. But being a private investigator, she's afraid to upgrade because it could break the software she uses. Leo says that's a legitimate fear. In general, if she's doing work on it, it's good to always be slow in performing major updates. She could consider doing it in between cases or while on vacation, perhaps. A major upgrade like that can break her software, or with a utility like iDVD, Apple may decide not to support it any longer and not include it in the next version of the operating system.

Where can I put my iPhone photos to free up space?

Episode 1158

Jessie from Long Beach, CA
Apple iPhone 6

Jessie's wife is complaining that her iPhone is running out of space. Leo says that's because of all the pictures and videos she has on that 16 GB phone. Jessie says that her previous iPhone was able to store more photos and videos than her new one. Leo says it's because the camera in the new iPhone has a larger sensor and saves larger files. There's also less space thanks to iOS 8.

Is it a good idea to reinstall OS X from time to time?

Episode 1152

Ken from Cape Girardeau, MS
Apple iMac

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.

How can I transfer the files on my old PC to my new one?

Episode 1147

Sam from San Diego, CA
File Transfer

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.