Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

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.

Can I fix my crashed hard drive?

Episode 1486

Chip from Cherry Hill, NJ
Hard disks

Chip has a failed hard drive and doesn't really want to spend over $500 to repair it. Is there a way to do it himself? Leo says that a hard drive dying can mean a lot of things. It could be a hardware failure or it could be a software failure. It could be a corrupt sector on the boot record. Software failures are easy to fix and inexpensive. Hardware failures will cost a lot. Drivesavers charge a lot because they have a clean room with all the parts, and can replace bad parts and recover the data.

What happened to my files on my external hard drive?

Episoide 1473

Bonnie from Costa Mesa, CA
Hard drives

Bonnie bought a new computer and when she plugged in her external hard drive, it said it was empty. Leo says that if she still has the old system, she should plug the hard drive back in and see if the files are there. If not, then something went wrong and she didn't back up her data as she thought. That's why it's always a good idea to keep the old system around for awhile until she's moved everything over. Windows 10 should be able to see the files from that XP drive no problem.

How can I get rid of duplicate images on my phone?

Episoide 1473

Glen from Malibu, CA
iCloud Photos

Glen has a ton of images on his iPhone and some are duplicates. How can he get rid of them? Apple says he has to delete them one at a time. If Glen has them backed up to iCloud with the iCloud Photo Library, he can enable "optimize disc space" on his phone. That will replace the full-size versions with smaller versions on the iPhone, while iCloud keeps the full-size versions. But once he deletes them, they get deleted from iCloud as well.

Why can't I read my hard drive?

Episode 1468

Jonathan from Long Beach, CA
Western Digital 6TB USB Drive

Jonathan plugged in an external drive but he can't see it on his Mac. It wants it to re-initialize. Leo says it could be a host of things from the drive, to the cable, to the USB port, to even a software error. So he'll have to break it down. First, unplug the drive and plug it into a new port. If he's using a USB hub, try directly into the computer instead. Make sure if it's a powered drive that it's getting power. Jonathan can run Disk Utility on the Mac and see if it sees the drive. If he sees it there, then that means that the drive is starting to fail or the formatting is corrupted.

What can I do if my NAS has gone bad?

Episode 1468

Bruce from Villa Park, CA
Western Digital Sentinel DX4000

Bruce has a network attached storage (NAS) drive and he's getting an error message. He's worried he's lost the data. Leo says that if the network RAID was set to RAID 0 or "scary RAID" then there's a chance that's the case. But if it was set as "redundant" then if one drive has gone bad, replacing it will fix it. The error message Bruce is getting indicates the entire Western Digital NAS has been corrupted and the only thing he can do is reboot the NAS and see if it self-corrects. Bruce also said that the error occurred with all the drives taken out of the machine.