Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

Can I backup my computer by creating an image?

Don from Montana

Episode 1347

Don wants to know if imaging is the way he should be backing up. Leo says that imaging is good for creating a version of his computer that is frozen in time, so he can just reload it. After that, he should be making incremental backups of his data. Leo advises three backups, on two different formats, with one off site. And if he has versioning, that's even better.

Why can't I get Time Machine to work in macOS Sierra?

Lance from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1343

Lance upgraded to macOS Sierra and now his Time Machine isn't working. Apple Care hasn't been able to solve the problem either. He's even reinstalled the OS and Time Machine. It just hangs about 2/3 of the way through the backup. Leo says that nobody really likes Time Machine, especially when it doesn't work. No one really knows how it works, either. If Apple can't figure it out, it's a lost cause.

How can I see what's taking up room on my hard drive?

Episode 1342

Joanne from Temecula, CA
WinDirStat

Joanne has a Windows machine and she's getting a message that her hard drive is getting full. Leo says that in Windows, she could see what's taking up space on her computer with the disk clean up utility. She can run disk clean up in Windows and it will wipe out temporary and downloaded files, clear caches, etc. There's also WinDirStat. Leo likes that because it sorts it with color so he can see it at a glance. Then he can choose what to remove.

How can I set Google Drive to backup automatically?

Rick from Torrance, CA

Episode 1339

Rick backs up his computer to Google Drive. How can he make it automatically backup? Leo says Google Drive, DropBox, etc. have a sync folder. He can just put the files he wants backed up in that sync folder and it will backup automatically. He'll have to download the Google Drive app to do it.

What about the Google Pixel? Leo says he loves it. It has a great camera, is snappy, and has a gorgeous screen.

How can I backup programs?

Judy from Texas

Episode 1336

Judy faithfully backs up her data and she has all her data in a master backup folder. She's having issues backing up program install files, though. Leo says that Carbonite should back up everything, but it may not be the default setting to backup install files. If Carbonite says that EXEs won't be backed up regardless, then one option is to ZIP up the file, and Carbonite will back up that file. It would be a good idea to backup her data to two external drives and then take one off site. Then she can swap them every time she does a backup.

Will USB become obsolete?

Episode 1335

Rowan from San Bernardino, CA
Transcend JetFlash 790 USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Rowan wonders if USB thumb drives are becoming obsolete like so many other data drives before it. Leo says that no format will last forever, but there's still plenty of life left in USB. We need to keep an eye on how technology progresses and transfer the data over when the time comes, though. Rowan will likely be able to get an adapter for USB-C, which is the current standard. The other thing he can do is use an open source backup, like TAR, which will make the backup easily transferrable. The best way is to go into the cloud, though. He should have both.