backup and recovery

What are my options for resetting my Windows 10 PC?

Windows 10 Start Menu

Episode 1415

Ray from LaGrange, GA

Ray got malware, so he backed up his computer and is wondering what his options are for resetting Windows 10. Leo says there are different levels of reset in the Windows 10 recovery menu. If he selects "Reset This PC," it will wipe out everything including his personal data and applications. If he chooses "Fresh Start," it will install a clean copy of the most recent version of Windows and uninstall any applications that didn't come with Windows, and will preserve his user data. This will probably get rid of most malware.

How can I backup using DropBox?

Dropbox

Episode 1386

Scott from Los Angeles, CA

Scott has been using Dropbox as a backup, but he's realized that Dropbox doesn't remove the files from his computer. Leo says that's because Dropbox syncs to the computer. He could delete the files, but sync will then delete them from Dropbox as well. Scott would have to backup to Dropbox and then remember to turn off the Sync feature. Then before he turns sync back on, he'd have to copy those files to another backup source, otherwise it'll sync deletions.

Has my computer been hacked?

Hacker

Episode 1385

Melinda from Sherman Oaks, CA

Melinda says that after she turns on her computer and goes into her browser, it takes a really long time to get to Gmail, and it goes to her eBay and other accounts. She wonders if she got hacked. Leo says perhaps. That kind of behavior points to being hacked. Maybe someone has gotten physical access to the computer. Did she make an enemy?

Did malware break my laptop?

Apple MacBook Air

Episode 1383

Janet from Santa Monica, CA

Janet has a 2014 MacBook Air and she's got malware. Leo says it's very rare to get malware on the mac, so it's unlikely. Janet is getting redirected to other sites. That's a browser hijack, not a virus. It's malware, but it's browser level malware. The laptop has also died as a result. Leo says that hardware can die, especially a laptop that's being carried around. A MacBook Air may be more prone because it's so thin. It could also just be a bad logic board or diode on it. It's not related to the malware/browser hijack issue, though. It doesn't work that way.

How can I recover data from a damaged hard drive?

Laptop hard drive exposed

Episode 1361

Adam from San Diego, CA

Adam's laptop hard drive became unreadable when a battery failure happened and he needs to get the pictures off it. Leo says that since the hard drive can still be accessed, he may be able to get them back with a recovery software utility. Piriform Recuva is the one that Leo recommends. The key thing, though, is to never write to the drive again until he manages to get the data he needs off of it.

How can I set Google Drive to backup automatically?

Episode 1339

Rick from Torrance, CA

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.

What is a good keyboard for my Android phone?

Targus Bluetooth Keyboard

Episode 1332

Mark from Santa Ana, CA

Mark wants to get a keyboard for his Android phone. Leo says that any Bluetooth keyboard will work with either Android or iOS. If he wanted to use a wired keyboard, his phone needs to support USB to Go and he would need a special connector. It's a lot easier to go with Bluetooth. Targus makes a good fold up one.

He would also like a report to see what files have been deleted from Carbonite. Leo says that Carbonite won't delete files unless he deletes them locally, which is why they give 30 days to restore them. A backup isn't a backup if he deletes the original.

Can I make an image of my computer to wipe out malware?

Episode 1323

David from Phoenix, AZ

David wants to know how malware effects reinstalling apps. Leo says that once he strips off the malware, he'll have to reinstall his apps. The only way to be sure that he's eliminated the malware is to backup his data, wipe his drive and reinstall Windows. How about an image of the drive? As long as he has a clean image, he could use that. If his computer has malware when he makes the image, he'll just restore the malware. Leo would wipe the drive, reinstall everything, update it all, and then make an image.

Imaging options include:

Should I back up my computer?

Episode 1320

Rod from New Jersey

Rod is ashamed to admit he's never backed up his computer. Leo says he's not alone. Most people don't and they don't get serious about it until they lose something. Rod is wondering if it's easy to do. Leo says sure. As we move more data in the cloud, he's probably already doing it to a certain extent without realizing it. His email is backed up. When he posts images to Facebook, it's backed up.

How can I backup multiple computers to a single drive?

Episode 1295

Cassie from Crystal River, FL

Cassie would like to carry a backup with her wherever she goes, just in case. Leo says that portable hard drives and thumbdrives are dirt cheap these days, so she can not only do that, but she can put backups in several locations off site. Can she back up multiple computers to the same drive? Leo says perhaps, but recommends doing an image instead. She should image each drive and then save those images to the backup drive. That way she can restore each separate image as required.

Leo recommends Drive Snapshot.