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  1. Member
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    Feb 2016
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    Australia
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    Hi,

    I'm about to backup some old CD/DVD's that contain photo's and videos. I'll back them up to a couple of External Hard Drives and new, good quality CD/DVD's. I was also thinking that USB Flash drives (sticks) might be another backup media I could use. The reason I feel they might be quite reliable is a bit unusual. You see, I have a 23 year car that has an electronic immobilizer. Before starting the car I have to insert a device that looks similar to the old 6.35mm audio jack plugs. It stores the unlock code magnetically.

    So far, thankfully, the device has always worked. Therefore, my reasoning is that if this magnetic device has lasted 23 years of regular use and being carried around a pocket, tossed on a bench and into a draw etc., and even going through the washing machine a few times, then solid state magnetic storage must be fairly reliable. As far as I know, USB Flash drives (sticks) are classed as a solid state magnetic device. They have no moving parts, and if stored well they should last.

    Please correct me if my reasoning is flawed.

    Thanks.

    PS. I'm also looking at some of the online storage option.
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  2. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    I've had a handful of the USB sticks fail over the years, but that was mostly 'operator error.' The cases broke or they didn't make it through a wash/dry cycle.
    Only one that I recall was DOA, and that was replaced by the manufacturer.

    I'm assuming you know that a USB stick is a type of EEPROM (Electrically Eraseable Read-Only Memory) More commonly referred to as a 'Flash Drive'. No magnetics involved.
    Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_memory

    Yes, IMO, they are very safe for data storage. But I would still back up important data to a second drive. Outside of a major EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) they are fairly indestructible compared to other media. You can also use SD or Micro SD cards as they have similar characteristics and are more compact. They just need a reader, usually through a USB port.

    Online storage is OK, but can fail, or if you can't connect to them when you want, maybe useless in some circumstances. Besides, I have enough data floating around.
    I don't trust them.

    Probably the downside of most USB Flash drives is that they are a bit slow to add and read data from. But so are SD cards.

    Other members may have better info.

    And welcome to our forums.
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  3. Member
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    Flash memory is not suitable for long term storage. The charge in the cells leaks over time and must be regularly refreshed and the leakage becomes worse as memory densities become greater.

    Samsung had a problem a couple of years ago with their 840 drives where older files became slow to access due to the need to do error correction and they solved the problem by updating the firmware to refresh the data more often. These drives were some of the first to use Triple Layer Cell memory and the data degradation started being noticeable once the files were a couple of months old.

    Right now your best bet for long term storage is still good quality optical media, although much can be said for using regular hard drives and instituting a regular regime of copying the data between drives to keep it "fresh".
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  4. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    It hasn't happened often, but when "not properly ejecting" a usb borks a stick, it REALLY borks it for good. Even sometimes when you were just reading the data.

    Other thing to consider is the physical usb connector "plug" can and does get bent/broken & loosened to the point of ruining the connection. I've encountered this more often than the filesystem corruption.

    Best practice: create multiple backups in multiple formats (optical disc, flash/ssd, hdd, cloud & even tape) and store in multiple locations.

    Scott
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  5. Member
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    Answer is no, maybe, possible ... the device is no ... the memory is maybe due to number of writes before failure

    Possible ... Write once and test then leave it alone in a place where temperatures do not change to much would be yes after that time
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  6. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    @Bjs, ??
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  7. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    I would never trust flash drives as reliable storage media,backup your stuff on a few different devices cause they all have their faults,dvd/blu-ray disc can get hard to read after awhile and hdd can fail to mechanical issues.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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  8. Member
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    And I thought Flash memory was just another form of magnetic storage. Anyway, I'm grateful for all your replies. I'll take the advice, "Best practice: create multiple backups in multiple formats (optical disc, flash/ssd, hdd, cloud & even tape) and store in multiple locations.

    Scott "

    Many thanks.
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