Leo says that all traditional spinning hard drives are basically the same. They're basically like record players, but instead of vinyl, they use spinning metal plates. Those plates are magnetic, so they can be magnetized. They also have read heads, at least one per platter, which are like the needle on the record player. Except instead of reading the grooves in vinyl, they're reading the magnetic signals coming off the spinning platter. Because it's a computer, everything is recorded as 1's or 0's, and it's very easy with magnetic material to have a charge or no charge.
Jim has an HP Pavilion laptop and he thinks his hard drive is about to fail. Should he put a solid state drive in it? Leo says that SSDs are much faster than spinning hard drives, and are more reliable. The question is, can the Pavilion support it? Ideally, he'll need a SATA 2 drive. SATA 3 would be even better if it supports it. Then there's the question of whether he can install it himself or would he have to pay for a tech to do so. It'll have to be in ideal shape and size than the existing hard drive. If all that works, then he should absolutely get one.
Kathy wants a new computer with a built-in CD drive. Leo says that they're getting fewer and farther between, and both Microsoft and Apple have stopped making them. Dell's Inspiron has one, and Acer and Asus both have it. Is Costco a good place to buy them? Leo says that the advantage of Costco is both their return policy and their extended warranty. But they may be discontinued models as well. So she'll want to be sure that isn't the case.
David's hard drive is filled and he used WinDirStat to see what's filling it up. He sees that there's 25GB of "installer" files. Can he get rid of those? Leo says he suspects that those files are hot fixes for Windows and he can't really delete them because it could make his system vulnerable. Leo suggests running Windows' Disk Cleanup Utility. It's not too aggressive and will clean out temp files, download files, etc. Just press the Windows key and type "Disk." Another thing to look for is previous Windows installations.
Bill's company has a third party server running Windows 8 Pro and SQL server. He wants to update the hard drive to an SSD, but there's latency issues. Leo says that since he's running proprietary point of sale software, the logjam could be there since they are concerned with piracy. It may mean that he can't just clone the drive and then restore it to the new one without having to reinstall that POS software. But ideally, each drive will come with a drive cloning utility that will make a direct copy that he can run. Once he does, then he can swap them out.
Glenn wants to buy an SSD and move his OS onto it. How can he move all his programs and apps to it? Leo says he can clone the drive, but he'll have to be sure that Windows and all of his programs are on the C drive or Windows won't work. He'll also want to be sure he has a cleaned up hard drive, getting rid of his temp files, unwanted programs, etc.
Jevon has a new computer and he wants to know how to transfer his data from the old hard drive to the new computer? Leo says NewerTech makes a universal drive adapter so he can connect the drive without a housing and get the data off it. It's bare bones, but it will power it and turn it into a USB drive that he can browse and copy from. Or he can grab a hard drive enclosure that will enable him to connect to it as an external drive.
Mark has a bunch of 1TB hard drives and he wants to be able to categorize the contents on them. Leo says he'll want to be sure he indexes the contents and then he can create a master catalog that he can print out. The trick is to make them offline so he can index them that way.
Doug wants to know if there's a way to make recovery disks for his laptop. Leo says that most computers now come with a program that does just that and he can even put them on a USB key. But disk imaging is a great way to do this, and here's a few tools to do it: