Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

Can I upgrade my iMac?

Episode 1511

Carlin from Redondo Beach, CA
Apple iMac

Carlin has an iMac that's about 6 years old and it's getting slower and slower. She brought it into a technician, who said it was too old to get parts for it. Leo says that's not really accurate. It's always best to take the iMac into the Apple Store when it needs repair or upgrading, and it can be upgraded.

How can I securely wipe my hard drive?

Episode 1510

Andrew from Los Angeles, CA
Hard drive

Andrew misses FDisk in MSDOS. He liked typing from the command line. Leo says that FDisk still exists in Windows, and when he deletes a partition with it, the data isn't lost, it just loses the structure of partition information. If he wants to erase all the data, Leo recommends Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN). It erases the data, overwrites the hard drive, erases it and overwrites it again. Seven times. So there's no way the data can be recovered.

Why can't I backup with the software I want?

Episode 1509

Paula from Studio City, CA
Microsoft OneDrive

Paula was trying to backup her desktop with Carbonite, and now she's finding that Dell and Microsoft OneDrive are overlaying their own versions of backup, fighting for her attention. How can she disable those? Leo says she can disable Dell Backup in the system tray. That's pretty simple. But it will probably restart when she turns the computer back on. So she'll have to remove it from the startup options. Leo says having both local and off site backup is a wise idea. She'll want three copies of everything at all times. As for OneDrive, it's very good, but she'll have to pay for it.

Why do I have to reauthorize my Synology backup with Time Machine?

Episode 1508

Tim from Franklin, OH
Synology DiskStation DS216

Tim uses Time Machine for his backup, but the backup fails intermittently. His Synology NAS is citing improper credentials as the cause. Leo says that encryption certificates need to be renewed from time to time, and if he's encrypting his data on backup, that could be the issue.

There is a post on Synology forums about this: Time Machine, Making it Work. Learn from my Suffering. There are some steps that can help.

Why am I backing up two copies of everything?

Episode 1508

Paul from Columbus, OH
Second Copy

Paul had a Dell XPS computer, then he got an iMac running Boot Camp. He hasn't been backing up since December. He changed the file structure when he moved to the new computer, and now his backups are duplicates instead of a select backup folder. Leo says he can tell his operating system where his home folder is in the partition. Once he's done that, he can delete the duplicates.

Should I reformat my hard drive to speed it up?

Episode 1493

Dana from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Apple iMacs

Dana wants to know if he should reformat his iMac hard drive to make it run faster. Leo says often that's the best thing to do. Since Dave has a bootable image from Super Duper, he can do it and be back up in minutes. He should just boot from the image, then copy the image to his hard drive and he'll be back up. Sometimes it just takes a little spring cleaning. Better yet — he can get an SSD and use the hard drive as his data drive. His computer will be a lot faster with that.

What's an easy cloud backup alternative?

Episode 1486

Carol from Northridge, CA
Microsoft OneDrive

Carol had an offline cloud storage service but it crashed her computer. She'd like to know if there's alternatives out there that are fairly simple to use. BackBlaze is an option for $5 a month, but Leo says it's really not that easy to use. Carbonite is a sponsor and it's pretty easy to use. It's $72 a year, which is only $6 a month. Microsoft OneDrive is probably the simplest solution for Carol, though.