Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

How can I transfer my data to a new computer?

Mark from Grand Rapids, MI

Episode 1275

Mark bought a new computer for his daughter but the Windows Transfer Wizard transfer app doesn't work. What can he do to get her data to the new computer? Leo says that the Windows transfer utility doesn't work all the time and when it does, it may not get everything. So he just recommends getting an external hard drive or thumb drive, copying the data over and then plugging it in and copying it to the new computer. She won't get the settings or favorites, but she can get her data.

How can I get SpinRite to work on my hard drive?

Mark from Orange, CA

Episode 1275

Mark is having trouble getting SpinRite to run on his Windows 8.1 machine. Leo says that SpinRite is a great utility for evaluating the hard drive. But it can't be run from Windows, he'll have to run it from a USB key. If that's not going to work due to the format of the drive (Windows 8 uses GPT) then call Gibson Research tech support. They know a ton about how to get SpinRite working.

Why is my computer asking me to choose a boot order?

Fran from Sherman Oaks, CA

Episode 1274

Fran updated to Windows 8.1 and now she has to always choose a boot loader. Leo says that could point to a stuck F12 key. But it could also point to a changed boot order in BIOS. She should change it back to boot Windows first. Leo also suspects that the motherboard battery is dying. It can easily be replaced by popping it out. If her date isn't correct, then she'll know for sure.

Why do I have different backups of my phone on each computer?

Mark from Lancaster, CA

Episode 1274

Mark has an iPhone 5 that is backed up to iTunes, but he gets different data on when it was backed up depending on his computer. Leo says that a backup from iTunes is done to the computer, so it makes sense that multiple computers would have different local backups. He can back up to the cloud but he'll only get 5GB of iCloud storage unless he pays for more. That's enabled in the settings. Leo also recommends encrypting his backups as well. That option is also in the settings.

What happened to my data backup?

Gil from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1274

Gil signed up with Carbonite and after his computer crashed he tried to restore his data but they didn't have any data for him since 2013. Leo says that even when using a backup, it's always a good idea to check and see it's working continually. Don't just trust that any software is automatically doing what it's supposed to all the time. This is also a good reason to have a 3-2-1 backup strategy. Three different copies, on two different media formats, with one off site. That way if something goes awry, he'd have a back up of the backup.

(Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor)

Does Windows control my RAID?

Dave from Crystal Lake, IL

Episode 1271

Dave has gotten a notice that he will be upgraded to Windows 10 on a certain date unless he cancels it. So he did. Leo says that Microsoft is really pushing for users to upgrade to Windows 10, whether they want it or not, and less savvy computer users may find they've been upgraded without their notice. It's pretty nefarious. Users do need to agree to the EULA to use it, but that's after Microsoft has installed it and if you don't want Windows 10, you'll have to uninstall it.

How can I protect my business from ransomware?

Omar from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1270

Omar's business got hit by ransomware the other day. His files were encrypted and the hackers demanded money to unlock it. Omar said they didn't pay it and now the data has been erased and their most recent backup is two weeks old. Leo says that their IT guy is terrible and has made little effort to protect them. They should have had a continuous backup with versioning. He also should train his employees to use proper online behavior so they aren't victims of it.

How can I get my data back?

Abel from New York City

Episode 1269

Abel has a friend who's 2007 Thinkpad has started acting up. The fan needed replacing, so he fixed it and now after rebooting, none of the passwords work. So he used some utilities from the Ultimate Boot CD to get into the administrator account. Leo says an administrator can take control of all the files and then back them up. He could also move the data to a new account that he creates. It looks like the desktop has changed its appearance and some files have disappeared.

How can I get rid of malware?

Carolyn from Pasadena, CA

Episode 1268

Carolyn thinks she got attacked by a virus. MalwareBytes says there's over 174 viruses on her machine. Leo says there might not be. There may be malware on it, but sometimes Malware Bytes gives a false positive on cookies and calls them viruses. She'll also want to be sure that she got MalwareBytes from the >official MalwareBytes site. Carolyn really should just make a recovery, back up her data, wipe the drive, and then run the recovery utility. It's the only way to be sure that she's free of viruses.