Did my hard drive backup file get overwritten?

Episode 942

Grant from Sacramento, CA

Grant is replacing a hard drive and he's trying to restore his backup to a new drive. He only sees one backup, though. Does that mean the file got overwritten by the newer one? Leo says it's likely that all of his backups are in that one file, and that it was an incremental upgrade. So he could restore from various backups from that one "blob" file.

Why won't my Toshiba laptop set a restore point properly?

Episode 933

Audie from Los Angeles, CA

According to Leo, this is often the sign of a virus. Audie thought so too, and decided to format his hard drive and start over, but it won't format. Leo says that there must be flaws on the drive causing this, and they could be in the master boot record or another non destructible sector. He may be able to switch it out with a replacement drive - they're not that expensive. If it's not replaceable, then a recovery utility like SpinRite may be his only solution.

Why couldn't SpinRite fix my hard drive? (Part 2)

Episode 929

Jeremy from Anaheim, CA

After hours and hours of SpinRite attempting to fix Jeremy's drive, it said the operation had failed and proceeding could damage the drive. It could be that the drive is too badly damaged. SpinRite will only work on a very specific issue. It doesn't know about file systems or files, it can run on any format hard drive. It's only trying to read data from a sector, and if it can't read it, it will try harder than normal programs. In many cases it can read that data, and once it does that, it marks that sector unusable and moves the data to another readable sector.

Can I update Windows XP without using Windows Update?

Windows XP

Episode 924

Glen from Georgia

Glen has an issue reinstalling Windows XP on an old Gateway PC. He installed it, and everything works except Windows Update. Now he wants to get SP3, but wants to know how to do it without Windows Update working. Leo says to go to the Microsoft Update site and download all the updates offline. It's called a Network Installation.

According to the chatroom, a certificate update from the Flame virus blocks Windows update on older machines.

Is there a way to get images back from a failed hard drive?

Episode 880

Danielle from Charlottsville, VA

First of all, Leo says to not mess with the hard drive any more because it could make things even more difficult. It's time for the experts. In most cases, it isn't a physical problem, but a software issue. There may be bad sectors and the drive isn't able to boot up any longer. If this is the case, it won't be near as expensive and may be recoverable with a program like SpinRite.

Why is my 750GB hard drive showing that it only has 644GB available?

Episode 879

Sunana from Boulder, CO

It's normal for hard drives to show up this way, it's the difference between a binary numeric system and a decimal numeric system. Companies use the decimal system when they market these drives because it sounds better, although the operating system on the computer is reporting this space in binary. Some of that space is also dedicated to a recovery partition, which is important and Sunana should also make physical discs from that partition.