Richard wants to get an SSD for his laptop. Leo says that some laptops are upgradable and some aren't. Leo recommends going to iFixIt.com. They have tips and tutorials on how to work on laptops, mobile phones, and a wide variety of computers. If anyone knows, it's iFixit. YouTube is also a great place to find out how to do that.
Matthew gave his mother in law a Dell computer Inspiron 17R 571 running Windows 10, but it's taking 5 minutes to boot up. Leo suspects that the spinning hard drive may be starting to fail, with difficult to read sectors. It could also be software that's hanging up the bootup process. Matthew should try using the boot log to see what may be causing the issue. He can get to this by holding the Shift key while its booting, and he can choose to create a boot log on the root level of the drive named bootlog.txt.
Jim is having boot up issues with his computer. He gets an error on his SSD and Leo suspects that the drive is failing and the computer can't see the boot drive. Leo suspects that his SSD isn't meant to be a boot drive since it's an Intel hybrid drive. He shouldn't mess with it. It's not really two drives, it's one drive that appears as two.
Leo says if there's data on the drive, it's going to be tricky to recover it. The Dell recovery disks could help but chances are, he'll need a tech to get the data off it. It would be best to replace it with a dedicated SSD.
Mike wants to wipe a hybrid SSD using Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN). Is that a good idea? Leo says that SSDs are written to differently than spinning drives, and it also uses a technique called "wear leveling," which writes sectors randomly. This makes it difficult to fully and securely wipe a drive to prevent it from being recovered. He can do it to erase a drive, but it won't really remove the data. That's why Leo recommends encryption. Using BitLocker on Windows, or some other technique to secure data with encryption.
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.
Jason has an old HP Pavilion and he's upgraded it to Windows 10. Recently, it hasn't been able to start up. Leo suspects that the hard drive has started to die. Luckily, hard drives are pretty cheap. Then, to get his data back, he can get an external hard drive enclosure and move the data off it right away. The benefit is, the computer will run a lot faster, especially if he gets an SSD.
Are SSDs as reliable as spinning drives? Leo says yes. They are very robust and much faster. Will they wear out? Leo says SSDs use a technique called "wear leveling" to keep the drive consistently wearing and to extend the life of the drive. That's why Leo recommends using an SSD as the main drive, and storing data on a spinning data drive. Let the hard drive handle the constant read-write cycles, while the SSD handles all the performance.
Bill has an HP Pavilion Power Desktop that he just got a new SSD for. He wants to know how he can transfer over his Windows 10 to it. Leo says he should make a recovery drive with a USB thumb drive. Then he can put the new drive in, and use that recovery drive to reinstall Windows. Leo would also recommend keeping the old hard drive as a data drive.
John has to buy a new laptop since his 11-year-old laptop is stuck on Windows 7. Suggestions? Leo likes Dell. What about the ThinkPad T430 refurbished? Leo says that for $200, it's a pretty good deal. They're pretty rugged. John should check out the ThinkPad subreddit on Reddit. That's a great place to learn how to upgrade an older ThinkPad to keep it up to date. It's really easy to do with that particular model.
Carey wants to know what the future holds for DVDs and thumb drives. Leo says that DVDs are going away as people are preferring to stream more than playing them on optical drives. But Leo says that USB is going to be around for quite awhile.