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Posted: 12/25/2005 8:16:13 PM EDT
with everything nowadays being digital (pics, movies, music, etc) i noticed i have probably close to 300 gigs of media that i would be very upset to lose. this includes the past ten years or so of family photos, hundreds of scanned photos, lots of music and lots of home movies.

i used to back everything up on cd but noticed after several years of storage the cd's looked like crap and i was not able to retrieve all of my data. i have backed up a lot of dvd and am assuming the same long term results.

how can i reliably back these up to where they will be preserved for a decent length of time? having it all on hard drives is not an option as they inevitably fail, so it is only a temporary convenient method of retrieval for now.

what will safeguard all of my data for life, or a reasonable amount of time, besides swapping from HD to HD periodically?
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 8:20:42 PM EDT
get a 400gb external USB2.0 drive @ newegg.com
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 8:25:42 PM EDT
There are external HD's that are around 1-1.5 tera-bytes these days. They are around $1500 or so but they are more than enough to store almost anything you will ever need.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 8:29:18 PM EDT
i have an external drive, are these failure prone?
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 8:30:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By daemon734:
i have an external drive, are these failure prone?



Not really. Think about it... you run your main harddrive ALL THE TIME when your computer is on, and the chance of failure is low. You run your external drive for a few minutes here and there to copy stuff to it. That reduces the chances of failure.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 8:43:05 PM EDT
i see, so its not a permanent solution, but my best bet.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 9:12:54 PM EDT
Store your DVDs and CDs in a cool, dry, DARK place (out of direct sunlight), and they will last much longer. The problem with CDs is that they are too small for storing digital media.

I have about half of what you have, but it's duplicated to three seperate places. 2 seperate file servers and a portable HD.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 9:32:29 PM EDT

Pop a new hard drive in as a slave, copy everything to it, pull it out, put it in the safe. Repeat as necessary.

You can even buy several hard drives and rotate them as backups, keeping one at work, one in a safe deposit box, etc., so no single failure or house fire will wipe everything out.

The problem with CDs is the manufacturers make more money on cheap ones. There was once a German website that rated them for archival purposes, but it disappeared (I think they bought him off). Some CDs will say archival on the box and they can be good for 100 years.

I have no archival info on DVDs. I don’t trust them as a result.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 2:19:29 AM EDT
What you do is you buy a good-sized regular internal desktop hard-drive, and also buy an empty external USB enclosure kit (make sure the kit can handle the drive's capacity, some cheaper external kits are limited to 128 Gb or whatever). For $100 you can get a 160-to-200Gb drive, and an enclosure costs maybe $25. Assembling it yourself is easy and costs quite a bit less than buying an external drive ready to go.

Then once a week: you hook this external drive up, take a couple minutes to store whatever you want on it, and then unplug it from the computer and the wall power. This drive should ONLY be connected to electricity and the computer when you are actually moving files onto it or copying files off.

A hard-drive normally lasts about 5 years before mechanically failing you see--but drives spin much of the time the PC is on, even if they aren't actually in use. This one will only be connected for about ten minutes a week or so--meaning that (in theory) it will last about a thousand times as long.

As for the magnetic coating of the hard-drive platters--they are nearly as durable as magnetic tape is. I have worked with hard-drives from the dawn of the desktop-PC age, and I never saw any of them suffer a spontaneous data-corruption error. They all still functioned perfectly, for both reading and writing as long as they had not already failed mechanically--and these were <100Mb drives that were nearly 15 years old.

...And this really only has to last you about ten years or so. By that time, there will probably be much cheaper+larger storage devices available anyway. Assuming you could get a 200Gb external drive assembled for $150, it would only cost you $15 per year over ten years, not really all that expensive when you consider it. You might even go with using two drives, for keeping two copies of everything.
~
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 5:11:12 AM EDT
Two things I've read regarding archiving data: (1) -RW media works differently, and will last longer. (2) Don't store the disks in cardboard boxes, as cardboard emits sulfur dioxide, which damages the disks.
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 5:27:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By daemon734:


i used to back everything up on cd but noticed after several years of storage the cd's looked like crap and i was not able to retrieve all of my data.



I noticed the same recently when I dug up some movies from some ~4 year old cd-r's. The quality cd's such as Verbatim worked flawlessly, but el-cheapo cd'r's were useless for anything but target practise.
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 6:05:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By daemon734:
i used to back everything up on cd but noticed after several years of storage the cd's looked like crap and i was not able to retrieve all of my data. i have backed up a lot of dvd and am assuming the same long term results.


For what is worth, I called Sony and asked them the life of a DVD, and he said that they are rated for 25 years.
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 7:57:33 AM EDT
I would back up to DVD, perhapes tape, and if you have a few bucks, you can now build a cheap (compared to scii) IDE raid box for long term storage. For around 600 bucks if you look around for deals, you can build a raid 5E 1 terabyte or 500gb storage device that would require multiple HD failures to wipe you out. Basically it stores across all 4 or 5 HD's and if one fails, you can replace it and it will rebuild the new hd to match the old one, with no data loss. I have had some at work running for nearly 5 years without any issues, other than the occasional hd replacement. Now understand these are on 24/7/365 with the only breaks they get are if there is a power outage over 30min. So if you only power this on when you want to back something up, it should last quite a bit longer. HD's don't have to be the same for replacement, just the same size or bigger.
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 8:15:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By warlord:

Originally Posted By daemon734:
i used to back everything up on cd but noticed after several years of storage the cd's looked like crap and i was not able to retrieve all of my data. i have backed up a lot of dvd and am assuming the same long term results.


For what is worth, I called Sony and asked them the life of a DVD, and he said that they are rated for 25 years.



Will the equipment be still available to read these in 25 years? Probably not.
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 11:09:16 AM EDT
I don't know, VHS tapes have been around about 20 now I think. We still have players for those. Heck 8-tracks can still be played.
I know some hardware for computers have gone away, but if you really want it, I know you can still find the 5 inch floppies and read them on some machines.
But I do know, if you are smart, you upgrade your storage media every 10 or 15 years to the next long term storage. My inlaws have been doing that. Their old 8mm tapes got changed to vhs 15 years ago, and now we are moving them to DVD. Who knows what they go to next.
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