SSd drives

Why won't my laptop boot up?

iFixit

Episode 1706

Tom from Dayton, OH

Tom has a Lenovo Yoga 910, but he's getting a boot-up failure message. After trying a few times, it will boot up. Leo suspects that the hard drive is starting to fail. It's a typical problem with spinning drives. It could be that the head is sticking, a power supply problem, or that when the hard drive heats up, it starts to work as usual. Leo advises backing up your data, just in case. Easy fi: replace the hard drive.

Is My Hard Drive Failing?

iMac

Episode 1703

Tracy from Long Beach, California

Tracy's iMac takes about an hour to boot up. What's wrong? Could it be ransomware? Leo says no, it's more than likely a worn-out hard drive. Back up data and get a new hard drive. But Leo says it's not trivial to replace a hard drive in iMac. She will need a ton of special tools, including a giant suction cup. She can get the tools from iFixit.com and watch videos on how, but Leo says it's just a better idea to have Apple do it and get an SSD to replace it. Right now, she can arrange to drop off and pick up. Just call Apple to arrange.

Does an SSD drive wear out like a spinning drive?

Solid State Drive

Episode 1694

George from Santa Monica, CA

George wants to know if an SSD drive will wear out like a spinning drive? Leo says not in the same way. A spinning drive can wear out because it has a lot of moving parts that just wear out. An SSD (solid state drive) has no moving parts. But the drive can wear down over time because the memory cells have a limited number of write cycles.  Wear leveling, however, is a technique that spreads out the wear evenly, and with normal use, if it doesn't fail in the first few months, it may not ever wear out (or at least in your lifetime). So it's really apples and oranges.

Why can't my computer read the hard drive?

Bluescreen of Death :(

Episode 1662

Ed from San Diego, CA

Ed's son is getting a bluescreen of death, and when he reboots, it's not reading the disk. Leo says it's obviously a disk failure caused by a failed or corrupted sector. It's the most common failure point on a computer. The good news is that you may be able to recover the disk using SpinRite. But for the cost of that program, you can simply buy a new hard drive. So if you have nothing critical on the drive, replace the hard drive. You can get a larger one for cheaper. And while you're at it, get a solid-state drive. It'll make the computer much faster.

Can I partition an SSD drive?

Solid State Drive

Episode 1651

Larry from San Francisco, CA

Larry is building a new computer and wants to know if an M.2 SSD drive can be partitioned like a regular hard drive. Leo says when installed, M.2 drives are just like any other drive and can be partitioned as you need. Leo advises, though, that users should keep their data on a regular spinning drive and keep the SSD drive for your OS and applications. The OS really wants apps to be on the same drive, and it's easy to put a second spinning drive in. But if you partition a drive, you're setting an artificial limit on what you can put on it. So you don't really need to partition it.

How Can I Make SSDs Last?

SSD

Episode 1650

Mark from Santa Ana, CA

Mark wants to know how to prevent his SSDs from wearing out. Leo says that SSDs now use a technique called Wear Leveling to even out the wear of the memory to make them last longer. But one drawback from SSDs is that users can't really eliminate all the data when they erase it. They can't even use DBAN for it. So the drives can't be completely wiped. The best solution is to encrypt drives, so they will never be accessed. 

Can I replace the hard drive in my iMac?

iMac

Episode 1629

Steve from Beaumont, CA

Steve bought a new iMac with a Fusion Drive, but it seems as slow as his 2013 iMac. Leo says it is! It's a common problem with fusion drives. Leo says that you could have an SSD installed to replace that Fusion drive. However, you don't want to try and do it yourself because you would have to lift your screen off with a giant suction cup to get to the hard drive. You can go to MacSales.com for the hard drive you want.

Should I Record to My SSD?

Mac Mini

Episode 1604

Rich from Tuscon, AZ

Rich is an audiobook narrator, and he records huge files on his Mac Mini. Should he record to an external hard drive, rather than the internal drive? Leo says that is just silly.  The SSD has wear levelling that keeps it in a safe condition and the reliability isn't an issue. They also have error correction built in. So it will be just as fine to record to the internal drive than an external drive. Thunderbolt 3 is also just as fast as the internal drive, so either one will work. And professional grade professional software will ensure no errors happen.

Has my hard drive crashed?

Gateway Laptop

Episode 1599

Greg from Apple Valley, CA

Greg has an old Gateway laptop running Windows 7 where it automatically upgraded to Windows 10. Leo says that's a great thing as Windows 7 will go end of life in January, so you're in good shape. But Greg says his screen went blank and is spinning "diagnosing your PC." Leo says it's clearly crashed. The hard drive probably failed, so the choice is to buy a new computer or spend the money to put in a new hard drive. But that computer is pretty old. A new computer will let you do more than that 10-year-old laptop.

How Large of a Hard Drive can I Get for my Computer?

SATA

Episode 1590

Ron from North Carolina

Ron wants to know how large a hard drive he can put in his SATA drive system. Leo says he won't really want a hard drive that's 15TB. As drive sizes go up, the error rate goes up. So in the long run, multiple smaller drives are better. What Leo recommends getting is an SSD drive for the boot drive, and then use a spinning drive for data storage.