hard drives

Why is my hardrive almost full?

Episode 1610

Rob from Woodland Hills, CA

Rob 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. 

How Can I Prepare Old Hard Drives for eWaste?

Spinning Hard Drive

Episode 1607

Roger from Pasadena, CA

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.

Why Can't Time Machine Complete My Backup?

Time Machine

Episode 1604

Kevin from Bellflower, CA

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. 

Has my hard drive crashed?

Gateway Laptop

Episode 1599

Greg from Apple Valley, CA

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.

Why is My Hard Drive Waking Up When the PC is Asleep?

Sysinternals

Episode 1598

Ralph from Altoona, PA

Ralph has a Dell computer that spins up the hard drive when it's asleep. What gives? Leo says it's probably running a program like mail in the background and it will still retrieve the email from time to time. Windows 10 also phones home from time to time to check for updates, indexing files, etc. He can always run the Microsoft Process Explorer, as part of Sysinternals, to see what's doing on. 

How can I get data off a broken hard drive?

Western Digital Blue 1TB Hard Drive

Episode 1591

Kathy from Upland, CA

Kathy dropped her external hard drive on the floor and now it's not working. It wasn't even that far. Leo says that's just bad luck: it's likely a broken arm or scratched sector. DriveSavers could fix it, but it's very expensive. And if they can't, then nobody can. This is why you back up. Leo recommends a 3-2-1 backup strategy: three backups, on two different formats, one off-site.

Why's My New Hard Drive Smaller than It Should Be?

Solid State Hard Drive

Episode 1591

Scott from Sherman Oaks, CA

Scott imaged his hard drive using EaseUS. Now he's trying to restore it to a larger hard drive, and it's reading as a smaller size. Leo says that he can repartition the hard drive using EaseUS. There are switches he can enable to do it differently. Or, use Windows Key + X: he will get the Windows 10 partition manager. From there, he can repartition it in the action menu. 

How Large of a Hard Drive can I Get for my Computer?

SATA

Episode 1590

Ron from North Carolina

Ron wants to know how large a hard drive he can put in his SATA drive system. Leo says he won't really want a hard drive that's 15TB. As drive sizes go up, the error rate goes up. So in the long run, multiple smaller drives are better. What Leo recommends getting is an SSD drive for the boot drive, and then use a spinning drive for data storage. 

How can I Clone a "Blessed" Arcade Hard Drive?

 video dart board

Episode 1588

Dana from Granada Hills, CA

Dana has a video dart board which registers a hit on a video screen after people hit the mark. It runs on Linux and he's concerned that the hard drive may die. Can he clone it?  He's read that people are having issues cloning the drive. Leo says that it may look for a serial number in the start up, and if it doesn't see it, it won't boot up. However, it may be found in the master boot record. To clone a hard drive with everything, Leo recommends CloneZilla. It supports just about every format or system. But don't do it over USB.