Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

Why do I have to reauthorize my Synology backup with Time Machine?

Synology DiskStation DS216

Episode 1508

Tim from Franklin, OH

Tim uses Time Machine for his backup, but the backup fails intermittently. His Synology NAS is citing improper credentials as the cause. Leo says that encryption certificates need to be renewed from time to time, and if he's encrypting his data on backup, that could be the issue.

There is a post on Synology forums about this: Time Machine, Making it Work. Learn from my Suffering. There are some steps that can help.

Why am I backing up two copies of everything?

Second Copy

Episode 1508

Paul from Columbus, OH

Paul had a Dell XPS computer, then he got an iMac running Boot Camp. He hasn't been backing up since December. He changed the file structure when he moved to the new computer, and now his backups are duplicates instead of a select backup folder. Leo says he can tell his operating system where his home folder is in the partition. Once he's done that, he can delete the duplicates.

Should I reformat my hard drive to speed it up?

Apple iMacs

Episode 1493

Dana from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

Dana wants to know if he should reformat his iMac hard drive to make it run faster. Leo says often that's the best thing to do. Since Dave has a bootable image from Super Duper, he can do it and be back up in minutes. He should just boot from the image, then copy the image to his hard drive and he'll be back up. Sometimes it just takes a little spring cleaning. Better yet — he can get an SSD and use the hard drive as his data drive. His computer will be a lot faster with that.

What's an easy cloud backup alternative?

Microsoft OneDrive

Episode 1486

Carol from Northridge, CA

Carol had an offline cloud storage service but it crashed her computer. She'd like to know if there's alternatives out there that are fairly simple to use. BackBlaze is an option for $5 a month, but Leo says it's really not that easy to use. Carbonite is a sponsor and it's pretty easy to use. It's $72 a year, which is only $6 a month. Microsoft OneDrive is probably the simplest solution for Carol, though.

Can I fix my crashed hard drive?

Hard disks

Episode 1486

Chip from Cherry Hill, NJ

Chip has a failed hard drive and doesn't really want to spend over $500 to repair it. Is there a way to do it himself? Leo says that a hard drive dying can mean a lot of things. It could be a hardware failure or it could be a software failure. It could be a corrupt sector on the boot record. Software failures are easy to fix and inexpensive. Hardware failures will cost a lot. Drivesavers charge a lot because they have a clean room with all the parts, and can replace bad parts and recover the data.

What happened to my files on my external hard drive?

Hard drives

Episoide 1473

Bonnie from Costa Mesa, CA

Bonnie bought a new computer and when she plugged in her external hard drive, it said it was empty. Leo says that if she still has the old system, she should plug the hard drive back in and see if the files are there. If not, then something went wrong and she didn't back up her data as she thought. That's why it's always a good idea to keep the old system around for awhile until she's moved everything over. Windows 10 should be able to see the files from that XP drive no problem.

How can I get rid of duplicate images on my phone?

iCloud Photos

Episoide 1473

Glen from Malibu, CA

Glen has a ton of images on his iPhone and some are duplicates. How can he get rid of them? Apple says he has to delete them one at a time. If Glen has them backed up to iCloud with the iCloud Photo Library, he can enable "optimize disc space" on his phone. That will replace the full-size versions with smaller versions on the iPhone, while iCloud keeps the full-size versions. But once he deletes them, they get deleted from iCloud as well.

Why can't I read my hard drive?

Western Digital 6TB USB Drive

Episode 1468

Jonathan from Long Beach, CA

Jonathan plugged in an external drive but he can't see it on his Mac. It wants it to re-initialize. Leo says it could be a host of things from the drive, to the cable, to the USB port, to even a software error. So he'll have to break it down. First, unplug the drive and plug it into a new port. If he's using a USB hub, try directly into the computer instead. Make sure if it's a powered drive that it's getting power. Jonathan can run Disk Utility on the Mac and see if it sees the drive. If he sees it there, then that means that the drive is starting to fail or the formatting is corrupted.