Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

What are my options for resetting my Windows 10 PC?

Episode 1415

Ray from LaGrange, GA
Windows 10 Start Menu

Ray got malware, so he backed up his computer and is wondering what his options are for resetting Windows 10. Leo says there are different levels of reset in the Windows 10 recovery menu. If he selects "Reset This PC," it will wipe out everything including his personal data and applications. If he chooses "Fresh Start," it will install a clean copy of the most recent version of Windows and uninstall any applications that didn't come with Windows, and will preserve his user data. This will probably get rid of most malware.

How can I reset my iPhone without losing my health data?

Keith from Phoenix, AZ

Episode 1411

Keith wants to restore his iPhone back to factory settings without losing his health data. Leo says there are layers of resetting in the iPhone, and it's hard to erase it entirely. But he's had issues with his Apple Watch and getting text messages and wants to try starting over. Leo says to go into settings and start with the lowest level of resetting. He should start with "Reset Network Settings." If that doesn't fix it, he can try the "Reset All Settings." Only the "Erase All Content and Settings" will delete his health data.

How can I organize my files and music?

Episode 1411

G. Scott from Minnesota
Media Monkey

G. Scott wants to organize his computer backups. He's got duplicates everywhere and multiple files and versions. Leo says he used to worry about organization, but he decided it doesn't matter. He can just let go of it. He'll have multiple copies and that's a good thing. What he really wants is a definitive copy (known as the ground truth) that is off site, and the rest will be extras.

Is redundancy in backup really important?

Phil from Aurora, CO

Episode 1409

Phil wants to know if redundancy in backup is really that important. Leo says that it's vital, and not only that, but he'll need off site backup as well. Is Carbonite necessary? Leo says it's valuable, but he could also just leave a second hard drive at work or at his mother's house and just swap them from time to time.

(Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor)

Will I be able to access my photo backups after I get a new Mac with Thunderbolt?

Episode 1407

Michelle from Northridge, CA
Thunderbolt Port

Michelle has been using USB to back up the photos on her Mac, but the new Macs have Thunderbolt now. Will she be able to still back up her photos? Leo says those new Thunderbolt ports can take USB using an adapter. So this isn't an issue. Leo says that thumb drives are notoriously unreliable, though. She might want to invest in an external hard drive instead. It's good that Michelle has three copies of her photos, but it's important that she gets one off-site. Leo suggests she take one of the copies to work.

Why isn't Time Machine backing up my data?

Episode 1406

Brian from Orange County, CA
Super Duper

Brian is a wedding videographer and he's noticed that Time Machine hasn't been backing up his footage for about a year. Leo says that the first thing Brian should do is stop using Apple's Time Machine. It's terrible and everyone knows it. Leo says that Brian should rethink his strategy because he's a professional and It's even more important that he doesn't lose data. Leo advises reading Peter Krogh's DAM Book. He can also go to DPBestflow.org. He should look under resources.

What's the best backup for a home business?

Stuart from Beverly Hills, CA

Episode 1399

Stuart has a home business and wants to know the best backup option for him. Leo says that Windows 10 has backup software built in and it works well, but he's not thrilled with the backup being in a big blob of a file that he'd have to unfurl to see. Another option is to make a disc image that he can restore instantly. Imaging options include:

How can I save text messages from an old Windows Phone?

Episode 1390

Todd from Detroit, MI
Transfer My Data for Windows Phone

Todd needs an app that will allow him to backup text messages from his girlfriend's old Windows phone. Leo says that there's an app in the Windows Phone Store called Transfer My Data that will allow her to export those messages to the SD card slot on the phone. There's also an app called Message Backup. Then she can import them to an Android phone using apps in the Google Play Store.

How can I save the Windows 10 update installer to a thumb drive?

Episode 1390

Ron from Charlotte, NC
USB Thumb Drive

Ron wants to know how he can create an install disk for Windows 10 on a USB thumb drive. Leo says he can use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to do it. He should choose the pro option. Ron should remember that Windows 10 is assigned to his computer now, so he will only be able to use it on that particular computer and not another. Windows 10 is linked to his specific rig.

Another option is to create an image of his hard drive. That's like a snapshot of what the hard drive looks like, and then he can restore it immediately and have it just the way he had it.