Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

Can I get my photos back after partitioning my hard drive?

Episode 1088

Jerry from Los Angeles, CA
hard drive

Gary put Windows 7 on an old XP machine. Leo says it was designed to upgrade from XP, so that should be just fine. He tried to alter the partition and now he doesn't have access to his photos. Leo says ideally, Gary should've backed up the photos first to an external drive. But once he repartitioned the hard drive, all the data was erased. There are two kinds of portioning: destructive and non-destructive. It sounds like Gary used the Windows partition utility which is destructive, and the photos have been erased. That's why backing up is so crucial.

How can I sync to the cloud without having issues with duplicate files?

Steve from Calabassas, CA

Episode 1086

Steve has Google Drive but he doesn't think it's organized very well for backup. Leo says it's not ideal as a backup solution. It's more of a temporary repository. Steve is having problems syncing to it, because it just keeps creating multiple copies. Leo says he could turn on Versioning in Google Docs, so that may help.

How do I make a set of Windows restore discs for my computer?

Win from Madison, WI

Episode 1080

Win has a Lenovo computer and needs to make recovery discs. Leo says that there's probably a utility on it that will allow him to do it. Lenovo might also ship him a set for a nominal fee. What about doing it before he connects it to the internet so it won't be infected? Leo says it's unlikely, but that's good thinking.

How can I securely erase a file from my Mac?

Mike from Glendale, CA

Episode 1080

Mike has written a novel, but he has to send in his computer for repair and is worried that even if he deletes it, it'll be recoverable. How can he be sure? Leo says to first make sure he's made at least three copies of it so it's backed up. Then he can erase the computer by using Apple's built-in "secure erase" feature. He'll have to reboot the Mac and hold down Command and R keys, and then launch Disc Utility. There's a secure erase feature in there that will write over the drive several times and remove all the data. Nobody will be able to recover that.

How can I recover videos off a bad SD card?

Wally from Adrian, MI

Episode 1080

Wally has a corrupted SD card and while he can get videos off it, they can't be played. Leo says that if the video file isn't complete, there's a good chance he won't be able to play it. There may be software that can rebuild the corrupted video, but what he really wants is to get every bit of the data off every sector. Leo uses Recuva by Piriform. It's very good. Then, open the files in VLC Video Player. It's the least vulnerable to file corruption issues.