Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

Why do I have different backups of my phone on each computer?

Mark from Lancaster, CA

Episode 1274

Mark has an iPhone 5 that is backed up to iTunes, but he gets different data on when it was backed up depending on his computer. Leo says that a backup from iTunes is done to the computer, so it makes sense that multiple computers would have different local backups. He can back up to the cloud but he'll only get 5GB of iCloud storage unless he pays for more. That's enabled in the settings. Leo also recommends encrypting his backups as well. That option is also in the settings.

What happened to my data backup?

Gil from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1274

Gil signed up with Carbonite and after his computer crashed he tried to restore his data but they didn't have any data for him since 2013. Leo says that even when using a backup, it's always a good idea to check and see it's working continually. Don't just trust that any software is automatically doing what it's supposed to all the time. This is also a good reason to have a 3-2-1 backup strategy. Three different copies, on two different media formats, with one off site. That way if something goes awry, he'd have a back up of the backup.

(Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor)

Does Windows control my RAID?

Dave from Crystal Lake, IL

Episode 1271

Dave has gotten a notice that he will be upgraded to Windows 10 on a certain date unless he cancels it. So he did. Leo says that Microsoft is really pushing for users to upgrade to Windows 10, whether they want it or not, and less savvy computer users may find they've been upgraded without their notice. It's pretty nefarious. Users do need to agree to the EULA to use it, but that's after Microsoft has installed it and if you don't want Windows 10, you'll have to uninstall it.

How can I protect my business from ransomware?

Omar from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1270

Omar's business got hit by ransomware the other day. His files were encrypted and the hackers demanded money to unlock it. Omar said they didn't pay it and now the data has been erased and their most recent backup is two weeks old. Leo says that their IT guy is terrible and has made little effort to protect them. They should have had a continuous backup with versioning. He also should train his employees to use proper online behavior so they aren't victims of it.

How can I get my data back?

Abel from New York City

Episode 1269

Abel has a friend who's 2007 Thinkpad has started acting up. The fan needed replacing, so he fixed it and now after rebooting, none of the passwords work. So he used some utilities from the Ultimate Boot CD to get into the administrator account. Leo says an administrator can take control of all the files and then back them up. He could also move the data to a new account that he creates. It looks like the desktop has changed its appearance and some files have disappeared.

How can I get rid of malware?

Carolyn from Pasadena, CA

Episode 1268

Carolyn thinks she got attacked by a virus. MalwareBytes says there's over 174 viruses on her machine. Leo says there might not be. There may be malware on it, but sometimes Malware Bytes gives a false positive on cookies and calls them viruses. She'll also want to be sure that she got MalwareBytes from the >official MalwareBytes site. Carolyn really should just make a recovery, back up her data, wipe the drive, and then run the recovery utility. It's the only way to be sure that she's free of viruses.

What's a good cloud backup option?

Alan from Honolulu, HI

Episode 1265

Alan set up his RAID backup and his drive failed. Then a second failed. And now he lost everything. Alan paid a drive backup company to rebuild his RAID and get the data and he got it all back. But it cost him $11,000 to do. OUCH. Lesson painfully learned.
Leo says that while a backup RAID is a good idea, it's only one link in the backup chain. You really need to adopt a 3-2-1 backup strategy, three backups, on two different media, one off site.

How can I backup my Steel database?

Dale from Santa Monica, CA

Episode 1263

Dale uses a database program called Steel. It's being killed off and he can't get the data out of it. Leo says he'll have to be able to export it somehow in the 'save as' option. Dale says he can save it as a text file. He should look for 'comma separated values' or 'tab separated values.'

Dale should download TextWrangler from Bare Bones software. It has a setting called 'show invisible' and with luck, there will be structure to it that he can take advantage of and import it into a spreadsheet.

What cloud backup service won't give up my data to the government?

Robert from Escondido, CA

Episode 1261

Robert needs online storage or backup with privacy/security that won't surrender to the government. Leo says he'll want a "trust no one" system. SpiderOak is the one that Leo suggests. File Transporter is a cloud based solution, but it's localized to his drives and they just sync to one another. But the internet is always a risk. Plus, Leo says Robert should always encrypt his data before uploading it to the cloud.