hard drives

Why won't my laptop boot up?

iFixit

Episode 1706

Tom from Dayton, OH

Tom has a Lenovo Yoga 910, but he's getting a boot-up failure message. After trying a few times, it will boot up. Leo suspects that the hard drive is starting to fail. It's a typical problem with spinning drives. It could be that the head is sticking, a power supply problem, or that when the hard drive heats up, it starts to work as usual. Leo advises backing up your data, just in case. Easy fi: replace the hard drive.

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.

Is My Hard Drive Failing?

iMac

Episode 1703

Tracy from Long Beach, California

Tracy's iMac takes about an hour to boot up. What's wrong? Could it be ransomware? Leo says no, it's more than likely a worn-out hard drive. Back up data and get a new hard drive. But Leo says it's not trivial to replace a hard drive in iMac. She will need a ton of special tools, including a giant suction cup. She can get the tools from iFixit.com and watch videos on how, but Leo says it's just a better idea to have Apple do it and get an SSD to replace it. Right now, she can arrange to drop off and pick up. Just call Apple to arrange.

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.

Why Can't My Mac See My External Drive?

Episode 1699

Rick from North Hollywood, CA

Rick is backing up his photos and after formatting the drive, his Mac can't see it anymore. Leo says it sounds like Rick formatted for the wrong format. He wants to re-format it with exFAT. That makes it readable on both macOS and Windows. Also, choose MBR compatibility or GBT. There's also a utility called PARAGON and FUSE that will teach the Mac to write to NTFS. But reformat that drive in exFAT and you should be OK. It may also be that Rick partitioned the drive, but didn't format it. You have to do both.

Is my hard drive failing?

Spinning Hard Drive

Episode 1696

Michael from San Diego, CA

Mike has a Western Digital hard drive. But it keeps disconnecting and he has to run check disk to get it to appear again. Leo says that's a clear sign that the drive is beginning to fail. You could run SpinRite to recover the drive, sure, but it's cheaper to buy a new one. But if the data is critical, SpinRite can definitely help.

Does an SSD drive wear out like a spinning drive?

Solid State Drive

Episode 1694

George from Santa Monica, CA

George wants to know if an SSD drive will wear out like a spinning drive? Leo says not in the same way. A spinning drive can wear out because it has a lot of moving parts that just wear out. An SSD (solid state drive) has no moving parts. But the drive can wear down over time because the memory cells have a limited number of write cycles.  Wear leveling, however, is a technique that spreads out the wear evenly, and with normal use, if it doesn't fail in the first few months, it may not ever wear out (or at least in your lifetime). So it's really apples and oranges.

What SSD drive should I get for my computer?

Solid State Drive

Episode 1688

Gabriel from Brooklyn, NY

Gabe bought a new desktop computer last week, and he wants to know what SSD he should put in. Leo says to see if your computer supports MVNE. M.2 is a specific physical socket that looks more like RAM, rather than an SSD drive slot. But M.2 is still an SSD. Samsung EVO is very good. Leo tried out a cheaper Sabrent drive, and it works fine. So it comes down to what your desktop supports and then go with that. If it's PCI, then go with PCI 3. That's the fastest.

Why can't my son's computer read a 5TB hard drive?

Seagate 5TB External USB 3.0 Hard Drive

Episode 1686

Gary from Gary, IN

Gary bought his son a 5TB hard drive. He put several movies on it too. But when he put it in the computer, it says to format the hard drive. Leo says to double-check the USB cable to be sure it isn't bad. It's possible that Gary formatted it incorrectly.  But make sure that his Windows 7 OS is updated. Leo says to plug it back into Gary's computer and see if he can read it. If so, then it may be a drive size issue. Also, GPT formatting will confuse Windows 7. Chances are, his machine can't read a 5TB drive. It's too big.