Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

How can I create a boot recovery CD?

Matt from Ventura, CA

Episode 1202

Matt wants to create restore discs for his computer. Leo says that's always a good idea, so that he can restore back to the factory configuration before he starts diagnosing. Making one on a USB key is a great option. He can also buy recovery discs from the manufacturer if he'd rather not do it. Leo recommends the Ultimate Boot CD and HiRen (or HBCD). Both should be free. It has some great utilities.

How can I access all my data from multiple devices?

Marian from Santa Ana, CA

Episode 1189

Marian needs to connect five wireless devices to the same storage. Leo says that the easiest would be to buy storage in the cloud. iCloud would be the best option for Marian's Apple needs, and she can direct data to be automatically backed up to iCloud and then access all of it from any of her devices. Videos is going to be a challenge, though. But for images, Apple's new Photos app does it all automatically once she turns on iCloud Drive. It'll also put size appropriate versions for her device automatically, which will save space.

Can I clone my MacBook Pro drive and install it on my Mac Pro?

Brennan from Orange County, CA

Episode 1185

Brennan has a 2012 MacBook Pro running Mountain Lion. He also has a 2010 Mac Pro. He uses both for audio engineering. He has everything set up, and he wants to know if he could clone the MacBook Pro and then put that onto his Mac Pro. Leo says he may be able to. He could try making a bootable drive from a USB key and then selecting that when booting up the Mac Pro to see if it works. OS X should be smart enough to install any missing drivers. Otherwise he can always run the OS X installer and reinstall the OS directly

How can I get Carbonite to work?

Tom from Huntington Beach, CA

Episode 1185

Tom is having issues with backup. He's been using Acronis True Image and over time it starts to create errors. Leo says that imaging is great for creating a moment in time, so if something goes wrong, he could blast that image back on the hard drive and he'll be back up and running in minutes. But if it's versioning, and doing incremental backups, it can get corrupted. So it's a good idea to start fresh from time to time.

Do I need a hard drive backup if I'm backing up to the cloud?

Jim from Sacramento, CA

Episode 1184

Jim has heard that physical media is dead and everything is going to the cloud. How does that affect a 3-2-1 backup strategy? Leo says that while it's right that data is moving to the cloud, it can be slow to get back. Having local backups in addition to a cloud backup is a good idea. So he should have an online hard drive, a near line hard drive backup, and then his off site cloud backup. Leo still recommends having a hard drive backup that he can get to.

How can I back up my text messages?

Marti from San Juan Capistrano, CA

Episode 1184

Marti has an old mobile phone from 2010 and is looking to get a new phone, but she wants to be able to get her text messages backed up. How can she do that? Leo says Marti's biggest problem is the age of her phone. There are apps that could possibly do it, like BitPim, but they're buggy. She could forward the texts to herself, or email them to herself.

She could also check to see if she can save texts to her SIM card. If she has that, she could save a few at a time and then move them over. But without a USB connector, Marti's stuck with forwarding her texts and paying for it.

How can I keep my iCloud separate from my family's?

Episode 1182

Rick from Torrance, CA
iCloud

Rick has several iMacs and wants to be able to work between them, but he's concerned with multiple logins and iCloud accounts. Leo says it's a mess that Apple has created because they don't know how to merge iCloud accounts. He can share it with family sharing, but then he can't keep his own data separately. The answer is to have an iCloud account that is associated with only his login. That makes the data isolated and safe.

How can I save my apps with Carbonite?

Alan from California

Episode 1181

Alan wants to know if he can backup his apps as well as his data with Carbonite. Leo says not really. Generally, the problem with trying to backup apps is the DLLs and other files that he can't fully get all of. It's better to just do an image backup of the entire hard drive. Use Carbonite to save his data, and image the hard drive to preserve the apps and how he has his computer set up.