hard drives

How can I recover a hard drive password?

Password

Episode 1146

Alan from Orange County, CA

Alan inherited an IT job and the previous person didn't leave documentation on how to access the hard drives. He tried a password recovery tool, but it didn't help. Is there a way?

Leo says that passwords are crackable if he has physical access to the machine. LophtCrack is one such utility. PogoStick is a popular one with the chatroom. There's also KON-Boot, which is a Windows bypass tool.

What does "meantime between failures" mean?

Hard Drive

Episode 1144

Richard from Grand Rapids, MI

Richard wants to know what the "meantime between failures" means. Leo says that it's the time that a hard drive will live, or the average life span of a hard drive. But Leo says it's pretty much a made up number. They take 1,000 hard drives and run them until a handful die. Then they extrapolate how long the hard drives could last. It's mostly meaningless. Google and Rackspace have both released studies and 98% will last about 2 years, 2% die in the first year, and then they die at about 4% per year. That's just based on their experience.

Why do my Windows programs time out and say "not responding" so often?

Episode 1144

Dale from Brooksville, NY

Dale is having issues with his Windows Vista PC where programs will just stop running. He gets a time out message that the program is not responding. Leo has a hunch that the program is just running really, really slow and it's likely the hard drive is getting flakey. Leo advises backing up the data and replacing the drive. Leo recommends going with a solid state hard drive. They're getting less expensive now and it'll be far faster. Then he can use a spinning drive for his data.

Should I be concerned about a warning message to backup?

Hard drive

Episode 1141

Tom from Riverside, CA

Tom is getting an error message on his Windows computer that his hard drive may be starting to die. Should be believe it? He just bought it. Leo says to always keep his hard drive backed up, but Leo says that over-relying on Windows can be a mistake. Most hard drives have a technology called SMART which can warn him of some errors. So yes, he should be concerned and always have a backup just in case.

How can I get my crashed hard drive back?

Hard drive

Episode 1141

William from Dallas, TX

William and his Dad built their own computer together. Leo says that's a great project to do together! But his hard drive crashed. He rebooted it and now he can't do anything with the OS. Leo says that it's best to wait. Don't reset because that'll cause the hard drive to spew data across the disk. That could cause the hard drive to become corrupt. Fortunately, William has a backup. So Leo recommends doing a deep, low level format and reinstall Windows. He could try running SpinRite, but that won't solve the corruption of the file system.

Are there advantages to plugging my external drive into my router instead of my computer?

USB hard drive

Episode 1132

Mark from Chatsworth, CA

Leo says this would just be different. Instead of being a local drive to his computer, it would become a network mounted drive. Copying files would go over the Wi-Fi network, which would be fairly slow compared to being plugged into directly to the computer. The advantage is that the drive would become accessible to other computers on the network, turning it into a NAS, or Network Attached Storage.

Why does it take so long for Carbonite to backup my hard drive?

external hard drive

Episode 1130

Daryl from Los Angeles, CA

Daryl wants to know how long Carbonite will take to backup his hard drive. Leo says to take 740kbps x 60 then divide by 10. 10 KB per minute. If he does the math, it takes quite a bit of time. Carbonite knows this and as such, Daryl can request to have a hard drive sent to him and then he can back up his system and sent it back.