Allan recently bought a hard drive docking station from a manufacturer in China. Is it secure? Leo says the reality is that everything is made in China, or South Korea. China has become the factory to the world, and many are worried since spyware has been found in the past. The government has even warned that companies like Huawei aren't secure and could be owned by the Chinese Government. But even if they aren't, they have to follow the rules in China. So it comes down to whether you're someone spies can benefit from. It's called the "Threat model." Odds are, you aren't a target.
Mike wants to know how he can install a Panasonic version of Windows 10 to his hard drive. Leo says that he won't' be able to get a "Panasonic version," but he can get the drivers from Panasonic's website. So use the Windows Media Creation Tool to install Windows 10, and then add those drivers to it. A clean install is the best way to do it. Leo also recommends taking Mike's old drive and get an external enclosure for a USB drive, which makes a nice backup too.
John was using an old XP machine to recover data on a failed hard drive. But when he rebooted the XP machine, it crashed and then came back up with a profile from 5 years ago. Leo says he suspects the current profile is damaged and that points to a failing hard drive. Eventually, it'll stop booting. So time to get a new hard drive. He could run SpinRite on it. But it's $90. Not cheap. But he can run it if he has it already. It would be worth the time to do it.
Get the data off that old hard drive ASAP, and then replace it.
Mark has two Windows 10 computers, and they're both starting to lag, especially when opening apps. Leo says that usually indicates a hard drive issue. The drive is starting to fail, and the computer keeps trying until it gives up. It could also be the app itself causing lag. But generally, it's usually a hard drive issue. Leo suspects if he replaces the hard drive, it'll speed up. Especially if he gets an SSD. Look in the task manager and see what's hogging the processor. It could be Windows is indexing, or it could be malware.
Nancy has T1 drive encryption on her Samsung 1TB hard drive, but she can't see it on her laptop. Leo says she has to install special drivers that will modify the OS to encrypt the hard drive. But Leo doesn't like a third party having that kind of control. Since she had it on her old hard drive, she is aware and still has the password. So she'll have to re-download the software from Samsung. She can get it here.
Terry wants to know how to replace his hard drive to speed up his boot time. Leo says he can get a new hard drive, but Leo recommends going with an SSD drive instead. Then, he can use the Microsoft Media Creation Tool to create a USB installer from a 16GB USB key and then install Windows onto the SSD. Then restore from backup. Reinstall all the applications, since that'll make the computer run a lot faster too. Remember, it's always best to install the least amount of software possible for security. It'll also keep the computer lean and mean.
Bob wants to know why Dell tech support has gotten so bad? Leo says that's because computers have gotten so cheap, that any tech support isn't profitable to offer unless it's shipped overeas. You can purchase Gold level support, and that's going to be better, but the sad fact is, that because we want cheaper computers, there ins't going to b e any decent suport.
Roger has a bunch of old hard drives and wants to know how to wipe them so his data doesn't get compromised. Leo says that you can take the hard drives apart and hit them with a hammer, that pretty much solves the problem, but it can be a bit dangerous and platters are sometimes made of glass and can shatter. You can use a secure eraser like Derik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN). It will write over and erase the data up to 7 times. That usually makes sure the data is unrecoverable. A giant magnet will also work, like SUPER STRONG. A good eWaste recycler should have one.
Kevin just returned from an Alaska Cruise and downloaded all the photos and videos, but his Time Machine backup will not complete it due to insufficient free space. Leo says it sounds like his hard drive has run out of room. Even with 20GB of free space, Time Machine may be taking a snapshot of the drive locally, before backing it up. Choices: Free up space on the internal drive or buy a larger one.
The chatroom says that if the external drive can't be seen, Time Machine will make the backup locally. So make sure it can see the external drive.
Greg has an old Gateway laptop running Windows 7 where it automatically upgraded to Windows 10. Leo says that's a great thing as Windows 7 will go end of life in January, so you're in good shape. But Greg says his screen went blank and is spinning "diagnosing your PC." Leo says it's clearly crashed. The hard drive probably failed, so the choice is to buy a new computer or spend the money to put in a new hard drive. But that computer is pretty old. A new computer will let you do more than that 10-year-old laptop.