backup and recovery

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.

Why did my RAID erase my data?

Episode 1078

Gene from Olympia, WA

Gene replaced a network drive on RAID 1 and when it rebuilt the RAID, it made all the drives blank! Leo says that RAID 1 (mirrored) is designed to write the same data to all drives and when one fails, it can rebuild the RAID from the other drives. Leo thinks that during the rebuild of the RAID, the drives were erased. It's not the same as partitioning and setting up, and it may not be recoverable. Leo doesn't think it's a good idea to run BIOS RAID. It's not a good choice and RAID is never a substitute for backing up. He should also make sure he replaced the correct drive.

How can I backup all my pictures and videos online?

Episode 1062

Richard from Crawley, UK

Richard is trying to back up about 300GB of photographs and videos. He's using Dropbox and it's expensive. He's also tried Carbonite, but it takes too long. Leo says that's because his upload bandwidth is really slow. Amazon has a more affordable option called Glacier. It costs pennies per GB, but it's cheap because he won't have access to it immediately.

Can I delete image IDX files? (Part 1)

Episode 1060

Michael from Long Beach, CA

Michael has a ton of IDX files of his images. Are they safe to delete? Leo says yes, generally. It'll make searching more of a challenge, but it won't endanger the images at all. Leo says that he imports all the images to Lightroom, then he'll sync to two external hard drives. Then he takes that second hard drive to work and swaps it out every other week. That way he always has an off-site backup.

To sync his files, he can use one of the following programs:

Why is my file sharing so slow?

Episode 1049

Jim from Huntington Beach, CA

Jim had a hard drive crash and now that he's restored his data, his file sharing is horribly slow. Leo says that could be due to a problem with the file sharing servers, but if they're working OK with other computers, it may be a bad restore. Leo says it could also be a security issue in Windows or even the router itself. Jim should try bypassing the router to see if it works better. If so, a reset of the router may fix the issue.

What's the best off site backup option?

Episode 1044

Ben from Memphis, TN

Ben has been following Leo's advice of 3-2-1 backup: Three backups, two different forms of media, and one off site. He uses IBM's Tivoli and backs up to an external hard drive, which he keeps in his car. He's been looking at Carbonite and CrashPlan's Code 42 as alternatives. Leo says it's interesting that Crashplan will let him send a hard drive to them and it's nice that it's free to use as well. Leo says that a lot of options are out there with similar services, including RSync and JungleDisk.

Will a virus survive formatting a hard drive?

Episode 1034

Lorraine from Corona, CA

Lorraine is wiping her hard drive and reinstalling, and is worried that if she doesn't partition her hard drive correctly, a virus could survive formatting. Leo says no, that was an urban legend that has since been debunked. There have been cases of viruses that could hide in the BIOS or in the memory of a video card or printer, but Leo's never seen it happen in real life. So there's no real worry.