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Author Topic: Computer Backup Question  (Read 748 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gamliel
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« on: July 08, 2013, 02:15:13 AM »

Hello
   For those knowledgeable with computers, I have a desktop which contains an important computer file I want to backup.  I was wondering between CDs, DVDs, USB sticks, etc., what is the most permanent and safest device to back this file up to.
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TheMathematician
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2013, 10:02:33 AM »

Hello
   For those knowledgeable with computers, I have a desktop which contains an important computer file I want to backup.  I was wondering between CDs, DVDs, USB sticks, etc., what is the most permanent and safest device to back this file up to.
Yes.

YOu should do multiple of the above, as well as store it on a second computer(if you have one).


Make a USB drive copy, put it on a CD/DVD(depending on the size), put it online with a service like Dropbox.

The important part is to have multiple copies of the file, so if you lose(which would be my case, more often than not) it or it gets destroyed, you have a backup to your backup.
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2013, 10:16:05 AM »


USB devices (external hard drives, flash drives) are the most convenient and easiest.  However, they may also fail (I've had that happen) and/or get misplaced (I've had that happen).

CD/DVD are more dependable, however, it is time consuming if you are backing up a lot of data, and they could potentially get damaged, as well (never had that happen).

Backup PC is a great idea.  You should set it up to simply run regular backups.  However, it too can fail (don't have an extra PC, so, never had this happen).

Best advice is to have multiple backups.  I would have CD/DVD and have a copy stored off site.  We do this work...in case the building burns down and the CD melts.
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2013, 10:31:37 AM »

Hello
   For those knowledgeable with computers, I have a desktop which contains an important computer file I want to backup.  I was wondering between CDs, DVDs, USB sticks, etc., what is the most permanent and safest device to back this file up to.
Yes.

YOu should do multiple of the above, as well as store it on a second computer(if you have one).


Make a USB drive copy, put it on a CD/DVD(depending on the size), put it online with a service like Dropbox.

The important part is to have multiple copies of the file, so if you lose(which would be my case, more often than not) it or it gets destroyed, you have a backup to your backup.

This is really good advice. I had a hard drive failure and coincidentally found that my external hard drive failed as well when I went to restore files on a new drive. Fortunately, I had also backed up my files on CDs.
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2013, 10:40:22 AM »

I would add that if you want LONG term backup, say 10 or more years for example, in addition to making multiple backups, you also need to remember to check the backups every few years. CD/DVDs deteriorate in certain environments and they are easy to scratch and technology does move on. eg no PC comes with a floppy anymore.

Also have a think about the format the files are in as well. Will there be programs around to read your important files in the future? Maybe you need to convert them to some other simpler format...

HTH
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2013, 10:43:03 AM »

What about cloud-based backups?  How secure are those...?
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2013, 08:29:32 PM »

What about cloud-based backups?  How secure are those...?

The NSA has a copy, so you're all right.  angel
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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2013, 10:46:56 PM »

Take a look at this..........

Gold Archive 74 minute CD-R with no logo in jewel case - 25 Pack

300 year shelf life
MAM-A Exclusive Matte Finish - Eliminates fingerprints an scratches on disc surface.
Recommended for Pro Audio & High-Use Archive Recording
MAM-A's exclusive GOLD recording layer
The MAM-A Phthalocyanine dye is the most resistant to light and heat.

These are used for archival purposes. 
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2013, 12:06:07 AM »

what is the most permanent and safest device to back this file up to.

I use Hotmail. Seriously. Though I guess that has limitations. Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2013, 12:23:35 AM »

Take a look at this..........

Gold Archive 74 minute CD-R with no logo in jewel case - 25 Pack

300 year shelf life
MAM-A Exclusive Matte Finish - Eliminates fingerprints an scratches on disc surface.
Recommended for Pro Audio & High-Use Archive Recording
MAM-A's exclusive GOLD recording layer
The MAM-A Phthalocyanine dye is the most resistant to light and heat.

These are used for archival purposes. 

I am not picking on you here. They may be great discs for everyday use. Especially floating around in the car in high heat, sunlight and humidity. I am just going to venture to say that if this product is a breakthough for the preservation of data they would have had more than five recommendations since 2006. One would also think that they would have  recommendations from major corporations.

The relevant link is:
http://www.mam-a.com/longevity_research

Useful data, is that it is good to keep your discs out of high intensity light and not to drop then into near boiling water. There is no justification given for their  extrapolation of the lifetime of the data contained within the disc. If you find it let me know and I will certainly retract this  statement.
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2013, 07:42:19 PM »

Take a look at this..........

Gold Archive 74 minute CD-R with no logo in jewel case - 25 Pack

300 year shelf life
MAM-A Exclusive Matte Finish - Eliminates fingerprints an scratches on disc surface.
Recommended for Pro Audio & High-Use Archive Recording
MAM-A's exclusive GOLD recording layer
The MAM-A Phthalocyanine dye is the most resistant to light and heat.

These are used for archival purposes. 

I am not picking on you here. They may be great discs for everyday use. Especially floating around in the car in high heat, sunlight and humidity. I am just going to venture to say that if this product is a breakthough for the preservation of data they would have had more than five recommendations since 2006. One would also think that they would have  recommendations from major corporations.

The relevant link is:
http://www.mam-a.com/longevity_research

Useful data, is that it is good to keep your discs out of high intensity light and not to drop then into near boiling water. There is no justification given for their  extrapolation of the lifetime of the data contained within the disc. If you find it let me know and I will certainly retract this  statement.

These are NOT CDs for everyday use.  They are for mainly archieve purposes.  I worked with several state agencies that require that our analysis reports be burned to these types of CDs in addition to a hardcopy being mailed to them.  I will admit that exterrnal HDs & USBs are far more convient however the data/files can be easily altered. 

It's really up to the OP on what type of media to use and how they wish to access the dat\files at a later time. 

For photos, I would go for the gold CDs and keep them in a fire-proof safe or off-site.  The only issue here is, will CD-ROMs still be around and for how long?

And yes, the stories that you hear of backup tapes having nothing on them is true but I never had that problem. <knocks on wood>

Hope this helps.
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2013, 12:40:11 AM »

Take a look at this..........

Gold Archive 74 minute CD-R with no logo in jewel case - 25 Pack

300 year shelf life
MAM-A Exclusive Matte Finish - Eliminates fingerprints an scratches on disc surface.
Recommended for Pro Audio & High-Use Archive Recording
MAM-A's exclusive GOLD recording layer
The MAM-A Phthalocyanine dye is the most resistant to light and heat.

These are used for archival purposes. 

I am not picking on you here. They may be great discs for everyday use. Especially floating around in the car in high heat, sunlight and humidity. I am just going to venture to say that if this product is a breakthough for the preservation of data they would have had more than five recommendations since 2006. One would also think that they would have  recommendations from major corporations.

The relevant link is:
http://www.mam-a.com/longevity_research

Useful data, is that it is good to keep your discs out of high intensity light and not to drop then into near boiling water. There is no justification given for their  extrapolation of the lifetime of the data contained within the disc. If you find it let me know and I will certainly retract this  statement.

These are NOT CDs for everyday use.  They are for mainly archieve purposes.  I worked with several state agencies that require that our analysis reports be burned to these types of CDs in addition to a hardcopy being mailed to them.  I will admit that exterrnal HDs & USBs are far more convient however the data/files can be easily altered. 

It's really up to the OP on what type of media to use and how they wish to access the dat\files at a later time. 

For photos, I would go for the gold CDs and keep them in a fire-proof safe or off-site.  The only issue here is, will CD-ROMs still be around and for how long?

And yes, the stories that you hear of backup tapes having nothing on them is true but I never had that problem. <knocks on wood>

Hope this helps.

Thanks, I did look into this some more after your post. It is a worthwhile topic.

I did come across this paper, Optical Disc Life Expectancy: A Field Report; 2011; Barry M. Lunt, Douglas Hansen, and Matthew Linford: http://www.opticsinfobase.org/abstract.cfm?URI=ISOM/ODS-2011-OMD10

First some interesting facts
The average life expectancy of
Hard drives (not worth considering)
Magnetic tapes - 30 years
Flash drives - 10-12 years
Non-archival CDs - 25 years
Archival DVDs - 100 years
Archival CDs -300 years

The authors examined 8500 archival DVDs and 18000 archival CDs from libraries that were not circulating and kept  under controlled temperature, humidity and light.

What the authors were interested in was the minimal life expectancy (before permanent data loss occurs). What they found was that the life expectancy of archival DVDs was 7 years corresponding to an average life expectancy of 100 +/-46 years. The life expectancy of CDs was 10 years corresponding to an average life expectancy of 300 +/-138 years (sd).

I was hoping they would conclude that printed media and vinyl LPs are the best way to preserve data, but alas there was no mention.
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vorgos
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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2013, 03:46:58 PM »

This link has some interesting info...

http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/initiatives/temp-opmedia-faq.html

Quote
6. How long can I expect my recorded CDs/DVDs to last?

CD/DVD life expectancy is 2 to 5 years even though published life expectancies are often cited as 10 years, 25 years, or longer. However, a variety of factors discussed in the sources cited in FAQ 15, below, may result in a much shorter life span for CDs/DVDs. Life expectancies are statistically based; any specific medium may experience a critical failure before its life expectancy is reached. Additionally, the quality of your storage environment may increase or decrease the life expectancy of the media. We recommend testing your media at least every two years to assure your records are still readable.

and

Quote
8. What are the long-term access considerations for CDs/DVDs?

[snip]

  • The data recorded onto CDs/DVDs should not be "zipped."
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 03:48:53 PM by vorgos » Logged
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