backup and recovery

How do I get rid of malware on my computer?

Laptop

Episode 1136

Linda from El Segundo, CA

Linda has a Windows 7 machine that has been infected with malware. Leo says that ultimately, it's probably best to use the recovery discs that came with the computer. Most OEMs don't include original Windows install discs, but usually offer recovery discs. She could try cleaning the malware off, but usually malware invites more viruses, so it's the malware she doesn't know about that she should be concerned about.

How can I recover data from my hard drive?

Hard drive

Episode 1134

Rob from Huntington Beach, CA

Rob was using Adobe Premiere to edit his video, but he ran into problems when his external hard drive gets unplugged. Leo says that if a hard drive suddenly gets disconnected, OS X doesn't like it. Modern operating systems use a journaling setup that will save up a bunch of data before it writes to the hard drive. That's why OS X wants him to eject the drive first before disconnecting. When he disconnects while the hard drive is writing, then the hard drive writes a kind of 'word salad' to the hard drive that could corrupt it. He'll need some recovery software that can fix the file table.

Can I trust Carbonite?

Episode 1134

Greg from Glendora, CA

Greg has an issue with Carbonite. He wants to transfer his data from one computer to another, and they want to handle it for him. Can he trust them to handle the data? Leo says that Greg can do it himself, but if he's not all that technically apt, then he can absolutely trust Carbonite.

(Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor)

What happened to my backup on Carbonite?

Episode 1100

Gary from Camarillo, CA

Gary backed up some data and the deleted the original. But now Carbonite has deleted them as well. Leo says it's not a smart thing to delete his original because that makes the backup the only copy! He needs to have at least two or three copies of a file for it to be properly backed up. With Carbonite's versioning software, if it sees he's deleted an original, after 30 days it'll just delete it assuming he didn't want it anymore. Always have at least 3 copies, from two formats, one off site. That's the best way to do it.

How can I get data off my dying hard drive?

Episode 1094

Bob from Manhattan Beach, CA

Bob has an iOmega portable hard drive that's starting to die and it's got all of his backups on it. He's trying to transfer the data, but his computer keeps losing the connection. Part of the problem could be that it's only drawing power from the USB port. It may not be getting enough power from the computer. So he should try a powered USB hub. He should also try another computer, like a desktop computer. If that works, then the laptop's power port, or the interface itself, is the issue.

How can I make recovery disks on my Lenovo laptop?

Episode 1088

Win from Madison, WI

Win bought a refurbished computer from Lenovo and it doesn't come with recovery discs. Leo says that he'll have to make them. But Lenovo says that he can't do that and that he has to buy them directly from Lenovo. Leo says that's odd. It's because Microsoft pushes hardware manufacturers to sell PCs without discs because they're afraid of piracy. If he Googles "create Lenovo recovery disc," and if he has ThinkVantage, he should be able to do this.

How can I securely erase a file from my Mac?

Episode 1080

Mike from Glendale, CA

Mike has written a novel, but he has to send in his computer for repair and is worried that even if he deletes it, it'll be recoverable. How can he be sure? Leo says to first make sure he's made at least three copies of it so it's backed up. Then he can erase the computer by using Apple's built-in "secure erase" feature. He'll have to reboot the Mac and hold down Command and R keys, and then launch Disc Utility. There's a secure erase feature in there that will write over the drive several times and remove all the data. Nobody will be able to recover that.