Best backup practices and recovering lost data.
Backup and Recovery
Mark is having trouble getting SpinRite to run on his Windows 8.1 machine. Leo says that SpinRite is a great utility for evaluating the hard drive. But it can't be run from Windows, he'll have to run it from a USB key. If that's not going to work due to the format of the drive (Windows 8 uses GPT) then call Gibson Research tech support. They know a ton about how to get SpinRite working.
Fran updated to Windows 8.1 and now she has to always choose a boot loader. Leo says that could point to a stuck F12 key. But it could also point to a changed boot order in BIOS. She should change it back to boot Windows first. Leo also suspects that the motherboard battery is dying. It can easily be replaced by popping it out. If her date isn't correct, then she'll know for sure.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Joseph has an old Mac and he has tons of videos, music, and other stuff on it. He's deleted a lot of it. But he still has over 172GB of files he can't find. How can he get rid of them? Leo says to download Disc Inventory X. It will show him what and where those files are and will help him get rid of them.
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.