Best backup practices and recovering lost data.
Backup and Recovery
Simon recently encountered the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. He suspected it may be his Chrome browser. Could it be? Leo says that modern versions of Windows don't really allow a program to call a BSOD these days. The operating system protects against it. But it could be a bad driver. Flakey hardware like a power supply or loose RAM can also cause it. But Chrome doesn't have system access to cause a BSOD. If he can replicate it, that could lead him toward the culprit. If it's crashing right away, that's usually a hardware issue.
Sean has four hard drives on his computer. He then removed all the bloatware by reinstalling Windows. But now he has a full SSD and wants to know how to migrate all his settings, bookmarks, temp files, etc. to a larger drive. How can he do that? Leo says it's nontrivial to do this. The key is to make a perfect copy of his home directory. The problem is his Windows Registry. He can't just move that over. Settings for programs and logins are stored there, and he will lose those.
Jeff is worried about whether his personal data has been compromised after his Mac was stolen. Apple says not to worry about it. Leo says that if he turned on FileVault, then he'll be OK. If he didn't, then they can hack into his Find My iMac account to find out where he lives. Leo recommends clearing out his FindMyiMac searches and block anyone who may have gotten into it. More likely, they just tried to sell it or pawned it. Apple may be able to remote wipe or brick it. But he shouldn't try and go get it. That would be dangerous. He should just turn over the data to the police.
Alan wants to know if having a recovery partition is a good idea. Leo says it is, right up to the moment the hard drive goes bad. Leo prefers to have an image on a USB key that he can blast on the hard drive when he needs it.
John has a Lenovo X5 and he put a special PIN code password into his computer. Now it won't accept the code because of the special characters he used. It also won't accept his fingerprint ID. Leo says that there should be an option to recover his account with his Microsoft ID. He should go to another computer and sign onto his Microsoft account to make sure it's working and valid. He can reset it with a new login, just in case. Then he should see if the recovery option appears.
Harvey wants to know what happened to the Windows image backup utility. Leo says it's still there, but it's oddly called Windows 7 backup. Here's a few other options:
Carlin has an iMac that's about 6 years old and it's getting slower and slower. She brought it into a technician, who said it was too old to get parts for it. Leo says that's not really accurate. It's always best to take the iMac into the Apple Store when it needs repair or upgrading, and it can be upgraded.
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.
Paula was trying to backup her desktop with Carbonite, and now she's finding that Dell and Microsoft OneDrive are overlaying their own versions of backup, fighting for her attention. How can she disable those? Leo says she can disable Dell Backup in the system tray. That's pretty simple. But it will probably restart when she turns the computer back on. So she'll have to remove it from the startup options. Leo says having both local and off site backup is a wise idea. She'll want three copies of everything at all times. As for OneDrive, it's very good, but she'll have to pay for it.
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.