ssds

How can I securely wipe my hard drive?

Hard drive

Episode 1510

Andrew from Los Angeles, CA

Andrew misses FDisk in MSDOS. He liked typing from the command line. Leo says that FDisk still exists in Windows, and when he deletes a partition with it, the data isn't lost, it just loses the structure of partition information. If he wants to erase all the data, Leo recommends Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN). It erases the data, overwrites the hard drive, erases it and overwrites it again. Seven times. So there's no way the data can be recovered.

Should I get an all-in-one computer with an i7?

all-in-one PC

Episode 1481

Mark from Akron, OH

Mark wants to know if all-in-one computers are a good deal. Leo says that Apple changed the game with the iMac and now other PC makers offer them to. They're elegant looking, but some are difficult to expand and upgrade. All-in-ones have thermal constraints as well, and some all-in-ones have a throttled processor because of the heat issue. But if he gets one, he should spring for the SSD and at least 8GB of RAM. It'll help his performance dramatically. That's really where performance is needed anyway. Then he should keep his data on a spinning external drive.

How can I transfer my old programs?

Laplink PC Mover

Episode 1481

Don from Southern California

Don has a new hard drive and wants to know how he can move his programs over to the new drive. Leo says there really isn't a way to do it other than simply reinstalling the programs. Microsoft's installation of software is all over the place and as such, it's difficult to backup a program and recover it to another hard drive. There are some application movers out there, but Leo isn't confident that work well. Funduc makes one, but his best bet is probably Laplink.

Will an SSD and more RAM improve my laptop speed?

Memory

Episode 1481

Dennis from Oceanside, CA

Dennis wants to upgrade his HP laptop. He wants to double his RAM and install an SSD. Will that help? Leo says that if he has a fast enough bus for the computer, an SSD will certainly speed things up, as an SSD has zero latency. Reads are very fast. But he won't get as much as a modern laptop. It'll still be noticeable. And he'll get at least a 10-20% boost by doubling his RAM.

How long can I still use my old iMac?

Apple iMacs

Episode 1408

Paul from Long Beach, CA

Paul is vision impaired and has an eight year old iMac. How can he update it? Leo says that as long as he can update it to the latest OS, he'll be OK, and it sounds like Paul's is updated. But sooner or later, the machine will be left behind. Should he buy a new one? Leo says these days, computers aren't that much faster from one model to another. The improvement in speed really comes with a solid state hard drive and faster memory, though.

How can I make my SSD run fast again?

Vertex 2 Solid State Drive by OCZ

Episode 1335

Paul from Del Mar, CA

Paul wants to know how to get his SSD to run as fast as it did when he first got it. Leo says that SSDs can slow down a little over time and there's a command called TRIM, which can fix it if his OS supports it. It's like garbage collection. If he runs a defrag on the SSD, it will force the drive to TRIM. Leo recommends he do this very rarely though, because it can affect the even wearing of the drive. Will it make it that much faster? Not really. It might help a little, but he'll have to decide if it's worth the trouble.

Why do my Windows programs time out and say "not responding" so often?

Episode 1144

Dale from Brooksville, NY

Dale is having issues with his Windows Vista PC where programs will just stop running. He gets a time out message that the program is not responding. Leo has a hunch that the program is just running really, really slow and it's likely the hard drive is getting flakey. Leo advises backing up the data and replacing the drive. Leo recommends going with a solid state hard drive. They're getting less expensive now and it'll be far faster. Then he can use a spinning drive for his data.