Steve has an old Toshiba Satellite Laptop that was running really slow and he's trying to reset Windows 10. He's getting a popup to run disk utility. Leo says it sounds like the hard drive is getting flakey and needs to be replaced. Fortunately, Rick has his data backed up and the hard drives are cheap. So replace the drive and you'll be back in business. $50 for a 2TB spinning drive. But Leo says that SSDs are almost as cheap. So why not go SSD and speed that old Toshiba up?
John bought a used 2012 MacBook Pro for $280. He upgraded to an SSD drive, but the internet recovery tool for OSX put his laptop back to Mountain Lion. Leo says that's how network recovery works, and John later upgraded back up to Mojave. Leo says John did it right: Get rid of the old drive and replacing it with a new one.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Amy wants to speed up her 2010 iMac by replacing the SATA drive with an SSD. Can it be done? Leo says it can, but it's not for the faint of heart. She'll have to use a suction cup to pull off the LCD screen. Leo recommends going to Otherworld computing and watching the videos on how to do it. It could be a great project for her teenager.
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.
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.
Alan is looking for a new laptop. He wants to transcode video with it. What specs should he look for? A faster processor, more cores, more RAM, and even a faster hard drive will all make a difference.