external hard drives

Is My New Hard Drive Dead?

My Book

Episode 1705

Dan from Upland, CA

Dan bought a new 4TB external hard drive but his mac won't read it. It can see it, but Dan needs a workaround to get it working. Leo isn't a fan of giant drives because the larger they get, the less reliable they can be. But in this case, it doesn't sound like a bad drive, but a bad USB card in the enclosure. Leo suspects that the enclosure failed. So the trick will be to get an identical enclosure and card and see if it will read it. Leo also says that 4TB drive may actually be 2 TB drives in a RAID array. So look out for that. Dan says it's one drive, which is good news.

How Can I Get Data Off an Old External Drive?

NewerTech Universal Drive Adapter USB Bare Drive Adapter

Episode 1703

Gustavo from California

Gustavo has a 20-year-old Powerbook Mac that he hasn't turned on in years. He plugged in an external hard drive, and somehow the Powerbook now views the hard drive as empty. Can he recover it? Leo suspects that the age of the drive caused the drive to fail. Or the cable may have failed. Or even the external box itself. Leo recommends taking it out and connecting it to a more modern computer.

How can I find out what's taking up space on my hard drive?

Solid State Drive

Episode 1639

George from Fontana, California

George went to back up his iPhone and he got a message that he's run out of room on his laptop. What can he do? Leo recommends installing WinDerStat. It's color-coded and can show you at a glance what is taking up all that room on your laptop. Then move stuff off of it into an external hard drive. Leo also recommends buying extra space on iCloud. For $2.99 a month you can backup 50GB of space. Great deal. Backing up to it is also the easiest thing to do.

Can I get my data off a bad hard drive?

Solid State Drive

Episode 1589

Nolan from Los Angeles, CA

Nolan has a portable hard drive that can't be seen with his Mac anymore. How can he get the data off it? Leo says this is a perfect example of why you need more than one backup of your data. You can't back up your data onto a hard drive and then delete it from your computer and think you have a backup. You don't.  The best backup strategy is a 3-2-1 backup strategy. Three backups, on two different media, one off-site. That's the only way to be safe.

Why can't my PC read my new hard drive?

Episode 1561

Roger from Pasadena, CA

Roger has a 3TB drive in his tower and it's getting full. He bought a 4 TB drive to replace it. Copied everything over. Now the drive isn't being read by Windows after he installed it into his Tower. Leo says it could be the size of the drive. But Windows 10 should be able to read it. Leo recommends trying to recopy it while it's installed in the machine. Reformat the drive and try again. Or, just keep the 4TB drive as an external drive. The speed isn't all that important. So if your PC can read it externally, and your internal drive is fine, just keep it that way.

How can I get data off an old hard drive?

Newertek Universal Drive Adapter

Episode 1551

Duke from Redondo Beach, CA

Duke wants to get data off an old external hard drive that's stopped working. Leo says the drive is probably fine, but the enclosure has most likely died. Leo suggests using the NewerTech Universal Drive adapter. He can connect the drive to his computer with the adapter, and then he'll be able to access it like a regular hard drive. Then it's a simple drag and drop. He may have to break open the plastic tabs to get into the enclosure, though.

Why can't my new computer see the data on my old hard drive?

Western Digital MyPassport

Episode 1495

Bonnie from Costa Mesa, CA

Bonnie bought a new computer and plugged in her external hard drive. She can see the data on her old computer, but she can't read it on her new computer. Leo has a hunch that her WD Passport runs a proprietary utility that encrypts her data to protect it. She probably will need to install that same software on the new computer in order to see the data.

Why can't I read my external hard drive?

Hard drive

Episode 1494

Ted from El Paso, TX

Ted has an external hard drive that his laptop cannot read, even though the computer can see the drive. Leo says that since the computer can see the drive, the USB connection is working. So it's likely the drive is corrupted. He can crack open the external case, and Leo recommends going to iFixIt.com and input his drive model to find out how to fix it. Then he can connect it directly and run something like SpinRite to see if he can repair it.