Best backup practices and recovering lost data.
Backup and Recovery
Robert has a Dell Inspiron running Windows 10, but his restore point keeps getting deleted. Leo says that Microsoft deprecated System Restore recently, and Leo says it has never really worked when you needed it the most. You can still use it, but you need to re-enable it. Windows Key + Restore. Here's a link from the chatroom about this issue, but it's a few years old.
Diane hears that Google Photos is going to end on January 5th. Leo says that's not accurate. Google Photos will be ending their free unlimited photo storage on June 1st. However, until then, you can store unlimited photos that will remain free forever. After that, the 15GB limit will apply to any new photos, music, all your docs, and email. But Google's pay tier is pretty affordable if you need more space.
There are other options like Shutterfly and Amazon Prime.
Chuck wants to know if he can connect a USB drive to his router. Leo says the router has to support it. It's not really "plug and play." And if it does support it, it may be pretty slow. But it can be accessed from any computer on the network, so it's kinda like a cheap NAS. If the router is open-source compatible, then Leo recommends going with DD-WRT or Tomato for the firmware. They have NAS features that could be most helpful.
Joey wants to know about Amazon's AWS and S3 storage. He can't figure it out. Leo says that there are several levels of S3 storage, including Glacier. And S3 is used by DropBox and others as their back end. It's a bit techy, but it's designed for home use. Fast to backup, but very slow to download and restore. It's like cold storage. It's become the biggest part of Amazon's business, with over a third of cloud services run by AWS.
Amazon also offers cloud computing, with such services as Macintosh in the Cloud, and others.
Spencer removed a hard drive from his RAID array and now he's having issues. Leo says some of the data needed from the reboot was on the missing hard drive. Can he just repartition the RAID? Leo says that the safest thing to do is copy off the data and then reinstall Windows. Then restore. That should copy the master boot record and get it all back to normal.
Vernon is thinking about upgrading to the new M1 Macbook Pro. But he would really like a desktop. Leo says to wait until the new M1 iMacs come out. No need to get another Intel machine at this point. Leo suspects that next Spring will bring a bevy of new desktops coming with not only the M1 chip but an even more powerful model with more RAM.
What about a NAS? Leo says you can take that old Desktop and convert it into a homebrew NAS using FreeNAS and multiple drives, but Leo says a five-bay Synology NAS is a better option.
Frederick wants to create a central location to house all the photos and videos for everyone in the family. Leo says if he wants to be responsible for it all, then Apple Photos can handle it. But everyone may want to keep their own accounts. Google Photos has similar features to Apple Photos, but it's cloud-based. And he can share unlimited free storage up until June 1st. Then each person can upload to a family album from their own account. Then everyone can upload and see the album. It's a great way to do it without having the burden just on the creator.
Al has a 2015 Macbook and he's running out of space, so he can't install Big Sur. Leo says that Al should get an external drive to copy off his data to free up space. Maybe even make a bootable copy of the hard drive and then start from scratch with Big Sur after erasing the drive. Then restoring the data. So get a terabyte external drive and try that. Time Machine is also a good option with that external drive. That's Apple's own way.
But is Big Sur worth it? Not for an older Mac. So if he's up to Catalina, that's good enough for that 2015 Mac.
Larry just built a new gaming computer. Now he wants to restore a backup so he doesn't have to install all his programs that are on his old computer. His options are to either clone or restore from a backup. What's the difference? Leo says that a cloned drive is an image of the hard drive which can then be blasted back onto a drive. But that's not a good option for cloud backup. Good for a local backup on an external drive. Microsoft stores cloning in the legacy backup settings.
Other imaging options include:
Doug is a singing voice teacher who recently upgraded his Macbook Air with the new Apple M1 design. Leo says that Doug is the ideal candidate for the M1. But what Doug is experiencing is issues with his backups being restored. What Leo recommends is to use the old computer to upload all photos and videos to iCloud. Use the most recent version. The way the old iPhoto used to store them is in a big blob. Go to the Pictures folder and R/C on the library. Select "open contents." There he will see the original photos folder. Copy that over.