Jessica's desktop is about eight years old and she has nearly a TB in free space on her hard drive. But she's concerned about the age of her computer. Leo says older computers aren't as slow as newer computers like the old days. So an older computer really isn't that big a deal. The more worrisome thing is the age of your hard drive. They can crash as they get older. So replacing the hard drive will be faster and give new life to your computer. Especially with a solid-state drive or SSD.
Tracey's HP Split computer hard drive failed it's "smart check," and then when she turned it back on, it didn't boot up. Leo says that the smart check didn't really give Tracey any time to get her data off because drive manufacturers had dumbed down the SMART check to the point where it's nearly useless. The fact is, drives do fail, about 3% a year. And Tracey's is about six years old, so it was only a matter of time. This is why it's wise to backup your data regularly. Leo recommends iDrive (sponsor).
Carl is a photographer who is worried about getting his data should he have to "bug-out" during a disaster like the fires that have hit California. Leo says that it's a good idea to use a third party backup like iDrive to back up data, and use a NAS like Synology as well. Follow the 3-2-1 backup strategy (three backups, two different formats, one off-site) to protect the files. Especially as a professional. He can also have an external drive to save them on a 1 TB SSD or spinning drive would work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.