Moe's computer running Windows 7 keeps shutting down on him. Leo says that with the age of Moe's computer, the hard drive is getting unreliable. It's time to backup his hard drive and then swap it out for a new one and reinstall Windows. It may be enough just to reinstall Windows, though. Leo does this every year as "spring cleaning." It keeps it more reliable. So he should try that first. He should backup his Documents and Settings folder to get his data. Then he can format that old hard drive and reinstall Windows.
Bob is having problems with his computer becoming unresponsive. It suddenly freezes up until he reboots it. Leo says that it may not be crashing for freezing at all. It may be an unresponsive mouse or keyboard. If the clock continues ticking, then it hasn't crashed. But if the clock is stuck, then the processor has halted. Even then, the processor may just be busy and he may just have to wait. He'll want to be sure it's really halted, though. If he reboots the computer in the middle of reindexing the hard drive, it could corrupt his drive.
Bill's hard drives keep disappearing from his computer. After he reboots, it'll say "fixing disk," and will be there for about 10 minutes before it disappears again. His SSD boot drive works fine, though. Leo says there are a lot of things it could be including hardware and cabling. He should go and look to see how its setup in BIOS. It should be something wrong with AHCI or a driver issue. Since he built the computer himself, there's no one he can call for help. Then again, the support from the major companies isn't helpful anyway.
Sam says it's time to get a new computer, and wants to know if he can bring along his old hard drive and put it in. His hard drive is pretty new, so can he swap one hard drive out and plug another in and start it up and get working? Leo says that would be nice, but it doesn't work that way. The Windows OS will look for the motherboards and chipsets and if it doesn't find that, it will have issues.
AJ opened up a laptop he hadn't used in awhile and all of his music and pictures were corrupted. A popup actually said the disk couldn't be read, and must be formatted. He tried to recover it. Why did it become corrupt? Leo says that hard drives die, and that's why you need a 3-2-1 backup strategy. 3 copies, on two different formats, with one off site.
Chris wants to know if he can have a running backup that will enable him to reboot should the hard drive crash and just pick up right where he left off. Leo says he can do it by setting up a RAID running RAID 1. He can also run SuperDuper which can create bootable backups, but it's Mac only.
Here are a few suggestions from the chatroom:
Walter is noticing half his hard drive is filled up with games and game storage. He doesn't play all that much, what is going on? Leo says that may be a false positive. He recommends looking into your hard drive details with a program called WinDerStat. It will give you a color coded break down of what your hard drive has on it. Then you can decide if there's anything taking up room that you can get rid of.
Mark bought a new computer for his daughter but the Windows Transfer Wizard transfer app doesn't work. What can he do to get her data to the new computer? Leo says that the Windows transfer utility doesn't work all the time and when it does, it may not get everything. So he just recommends getting an external hard drive or thumb drive, copying the data over and then plugging it in and copying it to the new computer. She won't get the settings or favorites, but she can get her data.
Mark is having trouble getting SpinRite to run on his Windows 8.1 machine. Leo says that SpinRite is a great utility for evaluating the hard drive. But it can't be run from Windows, he'll have to run it from a USB key. If that's not going to work due to the format of the drive (Windows 8 uses GPT) then call Gibson Research tech support. They know a ton about how to get SpinRite working.