Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

How can I transfer programs to a new computer?

Episode 1467

Rick from Santa Monica, CA
Microsoft Surface Pro

Rick just upgraded to a Surface Pro with an i7 and tons of great specs. How does he move all his programs and data as easily as possible? Leo says programs are not easy at all and there's no decent tool that can do it. Data is the exact opposite — it's easy as pie. But Windows installs program files all over the place, making it difficult to move an entire program package to a new computer. That can cause what Leo calls "DLL hell" because he'll eventually get a warning that a DLL file is missing. It can also cause problems with other programs and even crash the computer.

Are encryption services really secure?

Episode 1467

Gary from Cheektowaga, NY
Encryption

Gary is an attorney and has heard of a business product called LockBin that promises to encrypt his data. Is it legit? Leo says that there are limits of privacy with an encryption service. If the service can give him his password, then it has access to all his data and it's not really reliable. If they can't give him the password because only he knows it, then he's in good shape. The downside, though, is that if he forgets it, he's out of luck.

Apple to Store iCloud Keys in China

Episode 1466

Tim Cook

In a move that is causing concern with privacy advocates, Apple has announced it will store iCloud recovery keys in China. Leo says that it's really no different from what Apple does here, but it will make it easier for the Chinese government, or any government for that matter, to gain access to someone's data. Apple does protect your privacy from selling to advertisers, but if the government really pushes, Apple will cave to what they consider an "appropriate" law enforcement request.

How can I wipe a Windows computer that's locked with a password?

Episode 1462

Don from Los Angeles, CA
Windows 10

Don recently got a used PC, but it's locked with a password. Since the password prompt comes up after the PC has loaded Windows, Leo says it's easy to wipe it and reinstall the operating system. All he needs to do is download the Windows 10 installation tool from Microsoft called the "Media Creator's Tool", and put that on a thumb drive. Then he can boot to that drive, format, and reinstall it from there.

How can I get my Windows computer to update?

Episode 1458

Rene from Corona, CA
Blue screen of death

Rene is having trouble updating Windows. It stalls out at 80%. He then reboots and it goes back to before he tried updating. Then he gets a blue screen and he can't restore or update. Leo says that not an unusual problem. If you think about it, with millions of computers, there's going to be a certain percentage that will experience issues like this, and updating while a computer is running is nontrivial. It could be something is blocking it, like a third-party antivirus app. It could also just be a bad download. Or this could be the Intel Spectre/Meltdown fix that is causing problems.

Why doesn't Word read my backup data files?

Episode 1449

Carl from Upland, CA
Microsoft Word

Carl has made backup flash drives, but he can't read the Word Office files that are on them. Leo says that the files are .DOCX files created by Word and he'll need to open them with Word. Instead, what he's seeing is "word salad" which is Word format commands that tell the software what fonts to display, indents, margins, etc. So if his other app doesn't understand the format, he should try using Word's built-in backup solution, then restore it with the other copy of his app. There could be something that gets corrupted in the transfer by just dragging and dropping.

How can I back up sensitive information to the cloud?

Episode 1444

Christian from San Diego, CA
Microsoft SharePoint

Christian is installing new computers at his accounting company. He's going to be transferring the data from one computer to another and wants to know if Google Drive will work. Leo says absolutely not. There are serious privacy issues handling a client's financial information and personal details. Carbonite is a better option that is encrypted. He'll want to be sure that the data is not only encrypted at the destination but also in transit and that the keys are well controlled, ideally only by him.

How can I image my new computer before I get started?

Episode 1443

Charles from Colton, CA
Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

Charles bought a new computer and is trying to back up his operating system before he gets going. Leo says it's a good idea to make an image right at the beginning. He can even do it on a small 8GB USB thumb drive and keep it in his pocket. The laptop will likely have a rescue utility that will enable him to create a restore rescue disc, but he can also use the Windows 10 backup feature. Just press Windows Key and type "Backup" and then go to backup settings. Then click "Backup and Restore (Windows 7)." This is actually an image backup, and it will create a system image.