Jessica's desktop is about eight years old and she has nearly a TB in free space on her hard drive. But she's concerned about the age of her computer. Leo says older computers aren't as slow as newer computers like the old days. So an older computer really isn't that big a deal. The more worrisome thing is the age of your hard drive. They can crash as they get older. So replacing the hard drive will be faster and give new life to your computer. Especially with a solid-state drive or SSD.
Don was using SpinRite on his computer and he's having a problem running it without a thumb drive. Leo says Windows may be getting in the way and he recommends trying a USB key that boots to FreeDos and add SpinRite onto that. You'll boot to it and then run SpinRite from there. Then you can run SpinRite on your hard drive.
LaVerne updated her 2012 Mac to Catalina and now it's going slow and she's getting kernel panic reports. Leo says it's likely a driver that is failing. It could also be a flakey hard drive. But when she logs into the guest account, it runs just fine. Leo says that indicates a bad profile. You can wipe the drive and start over, or create a new profile and then remove the other one.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Steve wants to know what hard drive is the easiest to search data with. Leo says that all the major manufacturers use shingled data storage, which is terrible and unreliable. It's also slower. So Leo doesn't really have a favorite anymore. Use what you can get that has a decent price, and stick with name brands.