hard drives

Why can't my computer see all of my hard drive?

Hard drive

Episode 1114

James from San Diego, CA

James just bought a 3TB hard drive, But Windows XP only sees less than a TB. Leo says that's not surprising. The bios of the computer may not see all the hard drive, but the OS is so old that it may not see it all either. For 3TB, he would need GUID. He can partition the drive into smaller chunks, though. He'll need a disk manager to do it. The XP Disk Manager should be able to handle it.

How reliable are SSDs?

SSDs

Episode 1114

Sean from Rhode Island

Sean has heard that SSDs lose sectors over time. Leo says all hard drives do that. SSDs, though, use wear leveling to make sure that all sectors wear out equally. That's why he uses all SSDs in his computers -- they're very robust. SSDs are now getting cheaper in price, too, making it affordable to use for everyone.

What's the best way to backup images to a DVD?

DVD

Episode 1113

Rick from Santa Barbara, CA

Sam has a ton of pictures and he wants to know how to back them up across multiple DVDs. Leo says that burn programs like Roxio DVD creator can do this automatically. It's great for doing them all at once.

Leo says a better and more affordable way to go is just to back them up on a 2TB hard drive or thumb drive. Then Rick won't have to worry about reburning them later.

How can I read the hard drive from an old iPod?

Apple iPod

Episode 1111

Bruce from Bethlehem, PA

Bruce has an 80GB iPod classic. The iPod died and he's pulled the drive out of it and put it in a drive adapter for minidrives. He plugged it into his USB port to try and get the music off it. Leo says that if he can see the drive, he should be able to get to it. But Bruce says that while it's in the drive manager, it says "no volume found."

What hard drive should I buy for my MacBook Pro?

Western Digital Scorpio Blue

Episode 1108

Ed from Crossville, TN

Ted is looking to replace his hard drive in his MacBook Pro. Leo has done that with all his laptops, replacing them with SSDs. It can be a challenge to replace the hard drive, depending on what model MacBook Pro he has. The modern MacBook Pros are a bit easier, although the screws are tiny and of difference lengths. Once he has opened it up, replacing the hard drive is pretty straight forward.

What to Look for When Buying a Hard Drive

Since hard drives have become a mature technology, the differences between them are more trivial. However, there are several models that are best for certain tasks. Depending on what the drive will be used for, rotation speed, reliability, storage capacity, and power consumption, may be important factors. But the most dramatic differences are between Hard Disk Drives and the newer Solid State Drives.

What hard drive should I buy?

Western Digital Black Drive

Episode 1106

Mark from Ontario, Canada

Mark is looking for a 2TB desktop hard drive. Leo says that hard drives are commodities these days, and no one brand is really better than another. Leo does use Western Digital though, the Caviar line. They're 7200 rpm and he can get them in various models. "Red" drives are for network attached storage and are slow, but reliable, "Black" drives are faster and "Green" drives are eco-friendly and lower power. The VelociRaptor models are 10,000 rpm and are great high performance drives. But now that we're in the world of SSDs, spinning hard drives are less important.

Is BitLocker good enough for encryption?

Episode 1099

Julian from Santa Barbara, CA

Julian uses BitLocker to encrypt his laptop hard drive. Is that adequate? Leo says absolutely. It's more than sufficient. And with more than 12,000 laptops being lost and stolen every week at airports, it's a wise idea to encrypt his laptop hard drive when he's traveling. But remember -- BitLocker requires certificates, so he can't lose them. It's wise to back them up or he won't be able to decrypt his drive. He should make sure that he uses a very good, random password for the encryption as well.