Backup and Recovery

Best backup practices and recovering lost data.

Will restoring a hard drive include recovery partitions?

Lynella from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1052

Lynella brought her sister's laptop in to get fixed, but she didn't make a copy of the hard drive before she did. Leo says techs usually wipe the drive or replace it and then restore the OS from a backup recovery disc. But that may not include the restore partitions that originally came with it. If they claim they restore to manufacturer specs, then it should have the recovery partition. If they refuse to restore that for her, then Lynella may be able to get recovery discs from the laptop manufacturer. Recovery discs are better anyway because then she still has it if the drive dies.

How can I find out which drive in my RAID has failed?

Episode 1051

Ed from Los Angeles, CA
RAID

Ed has a custom built Windows 7 computer with 4 1TB hard drives in RAID 1+0 configuration. He rebooted it and now the operating system is missing. RAID 1+0 is striped and mirrored, meaning that if one dies, then he can swap it out, recover the data, and continue. He's using the RAID that's in the Asus motherboard BIOS. Can he recover the data without rebuilding the RAID? The key is to find out what drive has failed. There is a RAID tool which can help, but he can't get the computer to boot.

Why is my file sharing so slow?

Jim from Huntington Beach, CA

Episode 1049

Jim had a hard drive crash and now that he's restored his data, his file sharing is horribly slow. Leo says that could be due to a problem with the file sharing servers, but if they're working OK with other computers, it may be a bad restore. Leo says it could also be a security issue in Windows or even the router itself. Jim should try bypassing the router to see if it works better. If so, a reset of the router may fix the issue.

How can I get my email in Mozilla Thunderbird backed up to Carbonite?

David from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1048

Chris uses Carbonite and wants to know if there's a better email program than Outlook. He also wants to know if that would make it better for backing up. Leo says that Outlook puts everything in one giant .pst file, but Mozilla Thunderbird breaks it out into individual files. Carbonite or any backup company just will backup whatever files he has, it won't care what program he's using. It's up to him to have it backup the right files. So as long as he backs up his Thunderbird Profile, he should be OK.

What's the best off site backup option?

Ben from Memphis, TN

Episode 1044

Ben has been following Leo's advice of 3-2-1 backup: Three backups, two different forms of media, and one off site. He uses IBM's Tivoli and backs up to an external hard drive, which he keeps in his car. He's been looking at Carbonite and CrashPlan's Code 42 as alternatives. Leo says it's interesting that Crashplan will let him send a hard drive to them and it's nice that it's free to use as well. Leo says that a lot of options are out there with similar services, including RSync and JungleDisk.

How can I recover data from a crashed hard drive?

Jim from Rosebud, AR

Episode 1041

Jim's computer drive can't be read by Windows, but it can be seen by a Mac as read only. He can see it on a friend's windows machine, too. If he plugs it in, it asks if he wants to format the drive. Leo says there's a software error that is preventing the computer to read it. The good news is that it can be fixed, but it's often too expensive to go to a specialist. GRC's SpinRite is a good utility but it's also not cheap. It does work if he absolutely needs the data.

Why does my data keep getting corrupted? (Part 1)

Willy from Chicago, IL

Episode 1037

Willy has several flash drives and portable hard drives that keep getting corrupted, and he wants to know how he can recover that data. Paying someone to recover it is expensive, so he should try using recovery software. It could also be that drives are just failing. Hard drives either fail early, or fail after about 3 years. The longer he keeps them, the more likely they are to fail.