Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

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.

Why does my system tray have an EXE file in it?

Nicki from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1291

Nicki saw an .exe file she didn't recognize in her system tray. Leo says that system trays hold icons of programs that are running and if she hovers over them, she should get some information. It could also be an error. It's causing security issues and Windows won't load her antivirus. It could be an infection, so she should update her antivirus or use Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool.

Why does it take so long to backup with Carbonite?

Matt from Pasadena, CA

Episode 1287

Matt has a regular subscription to Carbonite with one computer, and a second account which includes his external drive. It hasn't backed up everything on his 2 TB hard drive after two months. Leo says that's not unusual. Upload speeds are a lot slower than downloads. It can't use the entire speed either, otherwise it would shut down everything else online. It gently backs up, and if he does the math, it would take many months to back up photos. Once it's done with that original backup, then it just backs up the changes. That's why Leo recommends not backing up everything, just data.

Is my data safe in the cloud?

Chris from Miami, FL

Episode 1284

Chris is worried about storing all his stuff in the cloud. If the cloud goes down, will he lose everything? Leo says that storing in the cloud is practical because we use multiple computers and as such, he'll need to have a central storage area for all of them to contribute to. But the downside is that if he loses access to the cloud, he'll lose access to the data. That's why having a local backup is so important.

What happened to the images and music on my hard drive?

AJ from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1281

AJ opened up a laptop he hadn't used in awhile and all of his music and pictures were corrupted. A popup actually said the disk couldn't be read, and must be formatted. He tried to recover it. Why did it become corrupt? Leo says that hard drives die, and that's why you need a 3-2-1 backup strategy. 3 copies, on two different formats, with one off site.

How can I stop iCloud from putting all my photos back on my phone?

Episode 1281

Darlene from Seattle, WA
Apple Photos

Darlene has over 6,000 images on her phone. She's been backing them up to Google Photos, and when she signed up for iCloud Photos, it put all 6,000 images back on her phone! Leo says she can turn off the iCloud photo library, but at least leave the Photo Stream turned on. That will erase all of them from her phone. Amazon Prime is another good option for storing photos, as is Yahoo's Flickr, which offers 1TB of free storage.

How can I prevent ransomware infecting my backups?

Greg from Conifer, CO

Episode 1278

Greg wants to know if ransomware will infect and encrypt drives in multiple locations. He uses the Transporter to sync his data. Leo says it won't do that. It can't go over the internet to infect it. But if he's backing up encrypted files, those could get backed up replacing the other files. That's why versioning is so important. Carbonite has a great solution and a white paper on versioning.

(Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor)