Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost 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)

How can I restore a deleted note on my iPhone?

Episode 1276

Brooke from California
Apple iPhone 6s

Brooke wants to know how she can restore a note that she accidentally deleted from her iPhone. She tried to restore it from her backup, but that deleted everything. Leo says the first thing is to turn off the phone so it doesn't backup. Hopefully it was backed up to iCloud, as it does normally. Chances are, however, that it's probably too late if she's restored from an old backup already. But if backup to iCloud was enabled, that's really her only hope.

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.