backup and recovery

How can I save the data on my crashed hard drive?

Episode 1032

Hamit from Danburry, CT

Hamit's Western Digital MyBook external hard drive crashed after his toddler got a hold of it. It makes a terrible noise now and he can't access it. Leo says the read head or disc arm has bent or broken. Sometimes it's possible to get a last use out of it by freezing the drive for a few hours. Wrap it in plastic wrap first. But that's a last ditch hail mary.

Why is Super Duper giving me permissions errors?

Episode 1029

Tony from Buffalo, NY

Tony is having issues backing up with Super Duper with his iMac. He keeps getting permissions errors. Leo says that for some reason, some drives can become read only out of nowhere. So he will have to change it back. Tony says when he schedules a backup, even though it's locked, he gets the same error. Leo says the issue may be in the settings in Super Duper.

How can I restore data from a crashed hard drive?

Episode 1027

Paul from Columbus, OH

Paul's computer is running Carbonite and after a power outage the D drive of his computer can't be recognized and it won't backup. Leo says that Carbonite doesn't backup a second drive by default. So he'll have to go into the settings to enable it. The drive does spin up, but it just can't be recognized. Leo says that software can recover the data, but it could be that the board got fried. Fortunately, Paul had a guy that did just that and they've been able to read some of the data. Drivesavers can recover all the data, but it isn't cheap.

How can I backup my Android phone?

Episode 1019

Alex from Colorado

Alex has a Google Nexus 4 that reset on him recently and he lost all his data. He wants to know the best way to backup and restore the whole phone. The Google sync didn't restore all of his contacts and apps. Leo says that it should, but Alex says half the time it doesn't, and he doesn't know why. It could be a settings issue, so he should look into the backup and restore options to make sure it's enabled.

How can I get my hard drive to read again?


Episode 1013

Juan from Los Angeles, CA

Juan is getting a strange data CRC error. Leo says that's likely a soft error, but it may also indicate a physical error on the hard drive itself. Soft errors are easy because he can always just format the hard drive and reinstall.

Leo recommends SpinRite, which can scan the hard drive, move the data, and mark bad sectors as unusable. Then, at least he'll buy some time for that hard drive. But Leo says that hard drives are so cheap, that once he gets the data off, he should just get a new one.

Is there any way to recover data from an SSD?

Episode 1012

Richard from Westlake Village, CA

Richard's hard drive crashed, and unfortunately he doesn't have all of his data backed up. He had SuperDuper, but wasn't using it regularly. Leo says an SSD is different from a spinning drive. When it's dead, it's really dead. So the only thing he can do is get another and start over. It's not like he can run SpinRite and maybe fix it. An SSD is completely different.

Leo suggests paying for the scheduling feature of SuperDuper so he can schedule automatic and regular backups.

Be careful not to keep your backups at work!

Episode 1010

Joe from Buffalo, NY

Joe used to take his hard drive backups to work with him. When he was laid off, however, they wouldn't let him bring home anything, so he lost his backups. So he advises keeping them somewhere else. Unless you own the company. Leo says that's a very good point since they usually escort you out of the building to make sure you don't take anything company owned. This is also a reason to encrypt backups, just in case. It's also a good idea to send backups to someone else so they are off-site as well.

Do I need a separate backup for both Windows and Mac in Parallels?

Episode 1010

Theresa from Long Beach, CA

Theresa dual boots her iMac with Parallels, and is wondering if she needs to have a backup of each operating system separately. Leo says she does not, if she's running the other operating system in Parallels. If she was using Boot Camp to run each operating system natively on her Mac, then she would need to have separate backups. When she runs Windows in Parallels, it's actually running within OS X. That means, when OS X backs up, so does her installation of Windows.