Best backup practices and recovering lost data.
Backup and Recovery
Eric recently doubled his RAM to 4GB, running Windows 7, and lately it's been running really slow. Leo says that often backing up data, wiping the drive and reinstalling Windows will get rid of the "cruft" that can slow down a computer. It'll also refresh the drive. If that's still leaving it slow, then it's time to get a new hard drive.
Wally has a corrupted SD card and while he can get videos off it, they can't be played. Leo says that if the video file isn't complete, there's a good chance he won't be able to play it. There may be software that can rebuild the corrupted video, but what he really wants is to get every bit of the data off every sector. Leo uses Recuva by Piriform. It's very good. Then, open the files in VLC Video Player. It's the least vulnerable to file corruption issues.
Mark is a bit frustrated that he can't automatically backup videos using Carbonite. Leo says that is by design, because videos use up a lot of bandwidth. It would kill his internet access for days, weeks, or even months just to backup videos. It's fine for documents and images, but he really needs to do the math in order to do video and then determine when he wants to do it. Leo says that's why he recommends backing up to a hard drive that he can take off site.
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Sherry has to replace her XP computer. Is it possible to transfer her programs to the new computer? Leo says that moving apps really isn't doable. She can use the Microsoft settings and file assistant (Easy Transfer wizard) to move her data, but the apps really need to be installed fresh on the new computer. Leo says it's a recipe for disaster to try and transfer those. There's going to be apps she won't want to use anymore, also. Sherry should start fresh with that new computer and install the apps as she needs them.
Gene replaced a network drive on RAID 1 and when it rebuilt the RAID, it made all the drives blank! Leo says that RAID 1 (mirrored) is designed to write the same data to all drives and when one fails, it can rebuild the RAID from the other drives. Leo thinks that during the rebuild of the RAID, the drives were erased. It's not the same as partitioning and setting up, and it may not be recoverable. Leo doesn't think it's a good idea to run BIOS RAID. It's not a good choice and RAID is never a substitute for backing up. He should also make sure he replaced the correct drive.
Tom has a computer running XP and he's having issues with the accuracy of the number of files in his folders. Leo says that it sounds like the file index is corrupted. He can rebuild the index in the control panel. Windows XP's copy utility is broken also, so Microsoft's answer to that was to offer a separate file copier called "Robocopy." He could also try refreshing the folder in the folder menu. Otherwise it's probably time to upgrade to Windows 7. He should make sure to backup his data too.
Tom has a Carbonite account and when he runs it, it really drains the battery. Leo says that could be because that initial backup will keep going and not allow the laptop to go to sleep. But once it does, it may not be as drastic. Leo also says that the battery indicator isn't exactly accurate either. It's more a general idea and Leo thinks it gets better over time.
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Dave is looking for a good backup solution for both business and personal. He wants to encrypt the data and back it up. Leo says that if Dave turns on encryption on the drive, that's effective. The OS has encryption: File Vault for the Mac and BitLocker for Windows. He'll have to be sure he backs up the certificate and doesn't lose it. Third party options that work include TrueCrypt.
Red just bought a Synology NAS for the office. But now, the spotlight search on his Mac doesn't work. He has to enable and activate it through the terminal command, but even after that it takes forever to index. Leo says that NAS is network attached storage and it's great for backing up data. In Red's case, it's probably that the NAS uses a different file system than the Mac. And as such, Spotlight can't index it. While the NAS looks like a local drive, it isn't. It may also be how Red has mounted the NAS. He needs to use AFP, Apple's protocol.
Paul has a lot of movies on an external hard drive for the kids to watch, but the drive accidentally got formatted. Can he recover it? Leo says a simple erase doesn't really erase the data, it just makes the sector available for re-use. A format is more complete, though. That doesn't mean it's unrecoverable. Leo recommends Recuva. If it can't save it, nothing can. It's free, but he should make sure to get it from the original source. He should also be sure to enable the deep scan option.