Jonathan plugged in an external drive but he can't see it on his Mac. It wants it to re-initialize. Leo says it could be a host of things from the drive, to the cable, to the USB port, to even a software error. So he'll have to break it down. First, unplug the drive and plug it into a new port. If he's using a USB hub, try directly into the computer instead. Make sure if it's a powered drive that it's getting power. Jonathan can run Disk Utility on the Mac and see if it sees the drive. If he sees it there, then that means that the drive is starting to fail or the formatting is corrupted.
external hard drives
Terry wants to backup his home movies with Carbonite. He did it manually the first time, but will Carbonite automatically do it after the first time? Leo says that he'll have to pay extra for that feature, and he'll have to be sure his photo and video file folder is selected. They do it this way because video takes a very long time to backup. It will hog his bandwidth for quite awhile, all the time. Terry will also want to be sure he has plenty of bandwidth.
Dennis' computer has a Western Digital Passport external hard drive that mounts, but it can't be read it or ejected. Then it crashes the computer. Leo says that it's a USB device that isn't fully mounting. It's probably an issue with either the USB controller on his computer, or the cable itself. Dennis should try using a different USB cable first. Then he should try plugging it into another USB port and see if he can replicate the issue. The USB driver may also be corrupted.
Sak is using an old Acer computer as a backup drive for his data. Will there be a point where it will die? Leo says yes. It always will sooner or later with age. The older the computer is, the more likely it will fail. He really won't want to rely on a single backup source. He needs two, preferably three. He should grab an external hard drive and copy all that data onto it. Then bring that off site.
Scott wants to know if he can take the hard drive out of an old computer and then put it into a new one. Leo says yes, but he should only use it as a data drive. He could probably put it in an external USB enclosure so he can plug it in when he needs to. He could install it as a secondary hard drive as well. If he wants to use software from that hard drive, that's a lot more problematic due to registry issues. He may be able to dual boot from the older driver, but the device drivers won't work. So he'll have to work around that and use a boot manager.
Mark says that iTunes' user interface is horrible, and with iTunes 11, he can't get rid of a podcast. When he deletes it, iTunes reloads it! Leo says that other people report that it's deleting their music! So it's very manic. Mark says that iTunes won't load the playlists onto an iPad Nano because it deletes the media in the playlist. Leo says that is a known bug and it baffles Leo as to why Apple hasn't fixed that bug.
Carl does video editing in Final Cut Pro and can't seem to find his files on Windows. Leo says that it's likely a file formatting issue. Windows PCs can't read Mac drives. Macs can read Windows drives, if its formatted in FAT. Leo suggests reformatting the drive on Windows to EXT-FAT. That way both platforms will be able to read it. Carl should copy the data off, format the external drive and then put the data back on. That way he won't need special translation software to read it.
Eric's daughter dropped her laptop and now it won't read her external hard drive. Has she lost all her data? Leo says not necessarily. What he suspects is that the cable, or the connector in the enclosure is broken. The drive itself is probably just fine since they are engineered to disengage when dropped.
Art has a 3TB hard drive that he uses as a backup, but now he doesn't have access rights to the hard drive. Leo says that can happen if he moved from one Windows installation to another. What it sounds like is that Windows locked it because it thinks it's owned by a different account. Microsoft has a tech note on how to gain possession of files through an Administrator account. But if he's using a slide out hard drive, it can get locked, and that's a serious problem.
Fred got a MyCloud hard drive as a gift. Is that a good external hard drive? Leo says yes, but he should make sure he connects it via Ethernet to the computer. He can also use it as his cloud based hotspot.
If Fred just wants a large external hard drive, Leo recommends trading this MyCloud drive in for that instead. For the same price, he should be able to get twice the storage, and they'd be faster as well.