backup and recovery

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.

Why does my computer freeze up?

Episode 1291

Bob from Burbank, CA

Bob is having problems with his computer becoming unresponsive. It suddenly freezes up until he reboots it. Leo says that it may not be crashing for freezing at all. It may be an unresponsive mouse or keyboard. If the clock continues ticking, then it hasn't crashed. But if the clock is stuck, then the processor has halted. Even then, the processor may just be busy and he may just have to wait. He'll want to be sure it's really halted, though. If he reboots the computer in the middle of reindexing the hard drive, it could corrupt his drive.

Why does it take so long to backup with Carbonite?

Episode 1287

Matt from Pasadena, CA

Matt has a regular subscription to Carbonite with one computer, and a second account which includes his external drive. It hasn't backed up everything on his 2 TB hard drive after two months. Leo says that's not unusual. Upload speeds are a lot slower than downloads. It can't use the entire speed either, otherwise it would shut down everything else online. It gently backs up, and if he does the math, it would take many months to back up photos. Once it's done with that original backup, then it just backs up the changes. That's why Leo recommends not backing up everything, just data.

How can I prevent ransomware infecting my backups?

Episode 1278

Greg from Conifer, CO

Greg wants to know if ransomware will infect and encrypt drives in multiple locations. He uses the Transporter to sync his data. Leo says it won't do that. It can't go over the internet to infect it. But if he's backing up encrypted files, those could get backed up replacing the other files. That's why versioning is so important. Carbonite has a great solution and a white paper on versioning.

(Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor)

How can I transfer my data to a new computer?

Episode 1275

Mark from Grand Rapids, MI

Mark bought a new computer for his daughter but the Windows Transfer Wizard transfer app doesn't work. What can he do to get her data to the new computer? Leo says that the Windows transfer utility doesn't work all the time and when it does, it may not get everything. So he just recommends getting an external hard drive or thumb drive, copying the data over and then plugging it in and copying it to the new computer. She won't get the settings or favorites, but she can get her data.

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

Episode 1274

Mark from Lancaster, CA

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?

Episode 1274

Gil from Los Angeles, CA

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)