hard drives

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.

Why is my computer taking so long to boot up?

Windows 10

Episode 1672

David from Wichita Falls, Texas

David turns his computer on, and occasionally, it takes its time booting up. After a few times booting up longer, it will boot up quicker. Leo says the number one culprit is a failing hard drive. The drive may have bad sectors that Windows is having issues reading. Once in awhile could also indicate an update of some sort. Leo says that David should keep an eye on it and if it gets worse, consider backing up your data and getting a new hard drive. Or you could also reinstall Windows first, and see if that repairs the OS. Another thing to do is turn off Windows Fast Start.

Why can't my computer read the hard drive?

Bluescreen of Death :(

Episode 1662

Ed from San Diego, CA

Ed's son is getting a bluescreen of death, and when he reboots, it's not reading the disk. Leo says it's obviously a disk failure caused by a failed or corrupted sector. It's the most common failure point on a computer. The good news is that you may be able to recover the disk using SpinRite. But for the cost of that program, you can simply buy a new hard drive. So if you have nothing critical on the drive, replace the hard drive. You can get a larger one for cheaper. And while you're at it, get a solid-state drive. It'll make the computer much faster.

How Can I Get Data Off a Corrupted Drive?

SpinRite

Episode 1659

Ivan from Brisbane, AUS

Ivan has a 2 drive NAS that has files he needs, but the RAID 1 hard drive are reading as corrupted. He believes it is the corruption of one, synced to the other. Leo says that the hardware is probably fine, there's just corruption in the files themselves. But it could be a physical issue making it worth using SpinRite to repair it. However, if the corruption has spread, that points to a software error in the files, not the hardware itself.

Can I partition an SSD drive?

Solid State Drive

Episode 1651

Larry from San Francisco, CA

Larry is building a new computer and wants to know if an M.2 SSD drive can be partitioned like a regular hard drive. Leo says when installed, M.2 drives are just like any other drive and can be partitioned as you need. Leo advises, though, that users should keep their data on a regular spinning drive and keep the SSD drive for your OS and applications. The OS really wants apps to be on the same drive, and it's easy to put a second spinning drive in. But if you partition a drive, you're setting an artificial limit on what you can put on it. So you don't really need to partition it.