Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

How can I transfer my programs to a new computer?

Sherry from Palm Springs, CA

Episode 1078

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.

Why did my RAID erase my data?

Gene from Olympia, WA

Episode 1078

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.

What's wrong with Windows File utility?

Tom from Riverside, CA

Episode 1074

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.

Why is Carbonite killing my laptop battery?

Tommy from Birmingham, AL

Episode 1074

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.

Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor.

How can I encrypt and backup my data?

Episode 1074

Dave from Fountain Valley, CA
Encryption

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.

Why can't my spotlight search work with my NAS?

Episode 1072

Red from Los Angeles, CA
Spotlight

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.

How can I recover a formatted hard drive?

Episode 1067

Paul from Palmdale, CA
Hard Drive

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.

How can I backup all my pictures and videos online?

Richard from Crawley, UK

Episode 1062

Richard is trying to back up about 300GB of photographs and videos. He's using Dropbox and it's expensive. He's also tried Carbonite, but it takes too long. Leo says that's because his upload bandwidth is really slow. Amazon has a more affordable option called Glacier. It costs pennies per GB, but it's cheap because he won't have access to it immediately.

Is there a utility that would actually speed up my computer?

Joe from Bellflower, CA

Episode 1062

Joe's computer is slowing down and he'd like to buy HP's speed up program. Leo says that Joe needs to be sure he's getting it from HP and not a third party because it could be malware. Leo says even a utility from HP is just a way to sell him something he doesn't need. The best thing to do is just do an annual format and reinstall. It will refresh the drive and get rid of all the "cruft" or bit rot that builds up over time. So John should backup his data, format the hard drive, reinstall Windows, and update it completely.

Can I delete image IDX files? (Part 1)

Michael from Long Beach, CA

Episode 1060

Michael has a ton of IDX files of his images. Are they safe to delete? Leo says yes, generally. It'll make searching more of a challenge, but it won't endanger the images at all. Leo says that he imports all the images to Lightroom, then he'll sync to two external hard drives. Then he takes that second hard drive to work and swaps it out every other week. That way he always has an off-site backup.

To sync his files, he can use one of the following programs: