Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

Why aren't I getting my text messages?

Anna from Sherman Oaks, CA

Episode 1259

Anna has a mobile phone and she's having issues with missing text messages. She's told a reset will help. Leo says it could and it's not all that bad to do once in awhile. Just make sure you've backed up all your images, videos and music before you do. Apps will just reinstall. Go into settings, and look for "backup and reset." This will backup your settings and apps. Then do a factory reset, once you log back into Google, it'll install everything and you're back up and running.

How can I read a drive formatted with a Chromebook?

Barry from San Diego, CA

Episode 1258

Barry uses a Chromebook to transfer his images to an external hard drive, but now he can't open it in Windows. Leo says that issue may be that the Chromebook formatted the hard drive in a format that Windows doesn't recognize. It's likely formatted in a Linux format, like EXT 2 or 3. Barry can get an extension to Windows that will be able to translate it. Check out Ext2FsD.

How can I back up my images from my iPhone?

Episode 1252

Lisa from Cypress, CA
Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus

Lisa has a few hundred pictures on her iPhone. What can she do to prevent running out of space? Leo says that chances are, she has plenty of room right now. But what if she loses her phone? That's why Apple has iCloud. Lisa can turn on and enable iCloud and it will backup the images via Wi-Fi. She'll only get 5GB of storage for free, but an additional 50 GB is only about $20 a year.

How can I back up my photos while on vacation?

Episode 1251

Scott from Richland, WA
Apple Photos

Scott is about to go on vacation to Australia and he wants to know how iCloud works with the images on his iPad. Leo says that he can turn on iCloud Photo Library in his phone and it will upload his images when connected to Wi-Fi to save space on his phone. Can he upload from his Nikon with his iPad? Leo says he can shoot raw, but it may not go up to the cloud. They will upload high quality JPEGs. But Scott should be wary, because Nikon also adds a lower quality JPEG that it loads to the LCD for review. In many cases, the lower quality image will get copied instead.

Why did some of my photos disappear from Apple Photos?

Episode 1250

Claudia from California
Apple Photos

Claudia is finding that half of her photos have disappeared in Apple Photos. She's taken her computer into the Apple store and talked to a genius but they have no answer, except that she has a second library. But the photos aren't there either. Leo says that the second library is the old iPhotos library. But that doesn't answer why her photos have vanished. They've also disappeared from her backup. Apple wants to wipe her drive and start over. Leo says it's common for tech support to want to wipe and go back to the original install. But the problem is, she'll lose her data.

How can I recover data from a damaged hard drive?

Episode 1249

David from Orange County, CA
NewerTech Universal Drive Adapter

David has an external 2TB Seagate Baracuda hard drive and he hasn't been able to transfer the data from it, because it's damaged. Can he roll his own data recovery or does he have to pay for it to be recovered? Leo says that there are several levels of data recovery. Level 1 is a soft error -- a data error caused by a bad block. It's easily fixable with a good utility. Level 2, on the other hand, is a physical issue. This could be a scratched drive, a bent lever, etc. If he has a level 2 error, he's going to pay ten times the amount to repair it -- often in the thousands.

What's a good backup alternative to Apple's Time Machine?

Mendota from Beverly Hills, CA

Episode 1247

Mendota wants an alternative to Time Machine for backing up his computer. Leo says he's not a fan of Time Machine. He recommends SuperDuper because it can be bootable. Time Machine is a dumbed down, simpler backup solution "for the rest of us." But that ease of use is more dangerous because it's too easy to assume you've backed everything up and can restore it.

What's a good backup utility for the Mac?

Tom from Albuquerque, NM

Episode 1244

Tom recently upgraded to Windows 10 and he's really happy with it. Now he's turning his attention to his Mac. It started notifying him that he's losing disc space, but when he went to check the storage space on his computer, it has a huge folder labeled "Backup." Leo says it sounds like OS X is backing up his data to his local hard drive. Tom should just go into the System Preference pane and disable Time Machine. Leo recommends SuperDuper instead.