Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

Are third party download sites safe?

Mike from Fountain, CO

Episode 1325

Mike says that Carbonite has created a new service for an additional $10 for mirror imaging. It's a great value. Leo agrees. Being able to restore from an off site image can be beneficial no matter where he is.

Mike downloaded an app from Downloads.com and now he keeps getting other apps added. Leo says that's why he should never, ever download from a third party site because they always add other stuff. It's how they make money and Leo says it's akin to malware.

(Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor)

Can I make an image of my computer to wipe out malware?

David from Phoenix, AZ

Episode 1323

David wants to know how malware effects reinstalling apps. Leo says that once he strips off the malware, he'll have to reinstall his apps. The only way to be sure that he's eliminated the malware is to backup his data, wipe his drive and reinstall Windows. How about an image of the drive? As long as he has a clean image, he could use that. If his computer has malware when he makes the image, he'll just restore the malware. Leo would wipe the drive, reinstall everything, update it all, and then make an image.

Imaging options include:

Should I back up my computer?

Rod from New Jersey

Episode 1320

Rod is ashamed to admit he's never backed up his computer. Leo says he's not alone. Most people don't and they don't get serious about it until they lose something. Rod is wondering if it's easy to do. Leo says sure. As we move more data in the cloud, he's probably already doing it to a certain extent without realizing it. His email is backed up. When he posts images to Facebook, it's backed up.

Should I use Apple's Time Machine for backup?

Jason from San Clemente, CA

Episode 1311

Jason was at the genius bar at the Apple Store yesterday with his MacBook Pro and he wants to know if Time Machine would be better than Carbonite. Leo says absolutely not. Carbonite is better because it's off site. If his house burns down, Time Machine won't really help him. Carbonite will only work when he's not doing anything. That way it won't take up resources when he needs them to. It's designed to be "nice." The Genius complained that it was using 100% of the processing power, but Leo says that's because the computer wasn't doing anything at the time.

How can I access my photos in iTunes?

Avatar from Pomona, CA

Episode 1310

Avatar is having trouble getting his pictures from his iTunes backup. Leo says that iTunes is a really old program now and Apple really needs to completely rewrite it. There is a backup icon that will enable him to back it up. On a Mac, iTunes will backup everything. On Windows, it backs the images up to "My Pictures" when connecting the phone. Avatar will need a photos app to do what he wants iTunes to do.

How can I recover deleted files from my Android phone?

Lori from San Diego, CA

Episode 1308

Lori wound up deleting all the audio files she had when she got rid of an audio recorder app. Leo says it won't be recoverable on the phone, but if she had a cloud backup, it may be. Since this just happened, it's possible to connect it via USB to a PC. She should make sure it shows up as a storage device. Then she can run a program like Recuva to recover the lost data. There's also EasyPhoneRecovery.com.

How can I back up my iTunes music?

Episode 1308

Ian from San Francisco, CA
Apple iTunes

Ian is trying to back up his iTunes folder with a flash drive, but the drive turned out to be too small. How can he tell how large his library is? Leo says to open the iTunes program and look at the bottom of the window. That will give him a general idea of how big the media folder is and how much music it contains. He can also just right click on his iTunes Media folder and select "Get Info."

How can I backup multiple computers to a single drive?

Cassie from Crystal River, FL

Episode 1295

Cassie would like to carry a backup with her wherever she goes, just in case. Leo says that portable hard drives and thumbdrives are dirt cheap these days, so she can not only do that, but she can put backups in several locations off site. Can she back up multiple computers to the same drive? Leo says perhaps, but recommends doing an image instead. She should image each drive and then save those images to the backup drive. That way she can restore each separate image as required.

Leo recommends Drive Snapshot.