SSD

What's the difference between a traditional hard drive and a solid state drive?

Michelle from Northridge, CA

Episode 1450

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.

Why won't my hard drive boot up?

Episode 1452

Jason from Goldendale, WA
NewerTech Universal Drive Adapter

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 hard drives?

Episode 1451

Gary from Buffalo, NY
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.

How can I transfer Windows 10 to a new hard drive?

Episode 1449

Bill from Upland, CA
HP Pavilion Power Desktop

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.

Should I buy an older refurbished ThinkPad?

Episode 1442

John from Indianapolis, IN
ThinkPad T470

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.

Can I clone my hard drive to an SSD?

Episode 1437

Larry from Petaluma, CA
SSD

Larry's desktop runs Windows 10 and he's planning on putting an SSD in. How does he clone his spinning drive? Leo says that most hard drives have cloning software included that he can download and run. He'll want to make sure it's a sector-by-sector copy. Then Leo recommends keeping the spinning drive as his data drive. Disc 0 will be his "C" drive. Disc 1 is the second partition. He can clone both partitions at once. Then he'll have the partitions kept in place as well.