hard drives

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.

Why am I getting an error message that my recovery partition is running out of space?

Episode 1096

JR from Hewitt, TX

JR has a Lenovo computer, and has been getting error messages that his recovery partition is nearly full. Leo says that installing programs on Windows is almost always done to the C drive by default. He can choose otherwise, but it works best keeping all the programs on same drive as Windows. Leo says he shouldn't be able to put anything on the recovery drive, as it shouldn't even be visible from the operating system. The recovery partition is designed to only be slightly bigger than what is needed to hold the Windows recovery software.

How can I get data off my dying hard drive?

Episode 1094

Bob from Manhattan Beach, CA

Bob has an iOmega portable hard drive that's starting to die and it's got all of his backups on it. He's trying to transfer the data, but his computer keeps losing the connection. Part of the problem could be that it's only drawing power from the USB port. It may not be getting enough power from the computer. So he should try a powered USB hub. He should also try another computer, like a desktop computer. If that works, then the laptop's power port, or the interface itself, is the issue.

How can I recover data from a damaged hard drive?

Episode 1094

Roger from Monument, CO

Roger was moving his laptop and it fell over. Leo says that if the laptop didn't fall from such a high height, it's unlikely that he physically damaged the hard drive. More likely, the data was spewn across the drive when it rapidly disconnected, leaving it unable to boot. But that could be fixed. If something jarred loose like the circuit board, then there could be hardware damage. Getting the data off it could be expensive -- it could be thousands of dollars.