I don't have any hope that my portable hard drive will last for more than 5 years even if they are handled with extreme care and no accident. I
However, I have a lot of old DVD discs which are badly kept and managed, they are 10-15 years most likely, today I play them, they are all fine.
And recently I have a stable internal hard drive that went bad suddenly and without any sign. I am very depressed.
However, burning DVD is very inconvient.. a 4TB of storage will need up to a thousand of 4.3GB DVD discs which would be a big mess.
What do you think? If you have a lot of files to archive, and would like to keep them as long as your life, will you use portable drive and moving them to a new portable drive after 2-3 years of time in hope of the newer drive will last longer or going through all the mess of burning hundreds or thousands of DVD discs?
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Most backup experts here recommend backing up to two hard drives. If one goes bonkers, you will have the 2nd hard drive that is hopefully still functional.Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence -Carl Sagan
I have my WD My Book Essential 1TB almost ten years now and there isn't any problem with it. I have very bad experience with 2,5'' HDD from Adata.
If I were you I do what was already suggested I would buy 2x4TB HDD 3,5'' with external power. Price is very similar to buy 1000 of DVDs, at least here. You get faster response, you find your file very quick with no need to search where is it. Also you will not buy 100 of boxes, another outcome.
I believe that External 3,5'' HDD 4TB from WD or Seagate are reliable. Just one more suggestion. Let them full format before using it. It take some time, but you can be sure disk is o.k.
Also burning of thousand of DVDs take long time not sure one DVD burner can do this job if you will burn all day long.
I'm using BD media as storage, bit bigger capacity but using 2 HDDs is faster and also reliable. Probably sometimes insert unused (archive hdd) to computer. It can prevent it get rusty
Also if you want connect this HDD to your TV, make sure it supports 4TB disc.
I don't like portable discs (if you mean 2,5'') because of bad personal experience. DVD also do not last forever. I suggest 3,5'' HDDs.
First, don't wait 2-3 years to transfer your files to a new drive. BACKUP NOW! And backup continually as you add new files.
Treat everything, drives, optical discs, cloud storage as temporary and volatile, accepting that everything could be lost in an instant, were corrupted during use or copying or were never backed up correctly. Use Teracopy with the verify function on when copying files. Use ViceVersa to verify that the contents of both drives are identical (you can also set it to perform a CRC check of both sets of files).
3-2-1 backup. 3 copies of your data, 2 saved on-site and 1 off-site.
As TreeTops stated, save to at least two different hard drives and store at least one off-site. You might also consider cloud storage as a THIRD backup.
Don't use premade (i.e. WD, Seagate, etc.) external drives for long term storage.* The USB interface and power supplies are cheap and prone to failure. Use internal drives with a high quality third party external case, USB dock or SATA to USB cable. If external drives are cheaper than internals (they are in the U.S.), remove the drives from the case (this may void your warranty) and use them bare.
*There are high quality third party (i.e. non hard drive manufacturer) externals from companies like Fantom and LaCie, but these cost as much or more than an internal drive and third party case together.
3.5" drives are cheaper and more robust than 2.5" drives due to the miniaturization of the mechanics. Also, some 2.5" drives use a proprietary interface that won't allow you to use it as a regular SATA drive if/when the USB interface fails.
If you like the portability of 2.5" drives, buy an internal drive and use a high quality external case. I bought several decased 2.5", 4TB drives for $60 each and use them in a $20 third party enclosure. Not only is the case better than the Seagate one, but if I need to, I can connect the drive directly as an internal if I need to recover data.
Don't use a brand new drive for backup/archiving. Use it a for a while (at least a few weeks / months) as electronics are most prone to failure when they're new.
Last edited by lingyi; 20th Sep 2018 at 14:25.
I wouldn't afraid of "premade" external discs. Yes internal with box is also solution, but there is reason for external HDD. I believe they are more durable. For examle i kicked him unintentionaly several times, so he fall and result? No damage. Internal HDD on other hand are made for using inside of PCs and do not believe durability is same. Actually earlier mentioned disc survived lot of accidents without scratch. Several disconnecting without intention and more. I mentioned Seagate to not be blame I prefer one brand.
Cloud storage. This is also way. But very much depending on (free service) how much space you have, what is your internet connection upload speed and last but not least you can easily break rules of the company maintained servers, because presuming your DVD are copyright protected. But not lawyer.
The expensive boxes for internal HDD are must have if you want go this way. But for me so called premade are better. Once you formated whole disc so surface is o.k.
Of course, depends piece from piece. Boxes are for those who has several internal HDD and can switch them. Switching can cause troubles. Don't know why profesionaly made external HDD should be worse than internal HDD in Box or dock station. My personal experience for sure avoid cheap boxes. And I will stick with BD. If needed will go with another external HDD WD.
Drives in external cases are exactly the same as internal drives, there's no special set of drives for use in external cases. They're usually the lowest cost drives in the manufacturer's line.
The issue with "premade" external drives are the power supply (a cheap power brick which doesn't regulate the voltage) and the cheap USB interface which tends to break either from physical stress (plugging or unplugging the cable) or electrical failure.
I'm not against external drives (they're a terrific bargain in the U.S.), but from experience with dozens of externals, the interface is cheap, the case provides little protection (the only shock protection is rubber grommets over the screws or corner bumpers) and the case prone is prone to causing overheating. This of course can be overcome by a good quality third party case.
As for surviving falls, you've been very lucky. I'm guessing the drive wasn't on when it fell. I've dropped a number of external drives off the desk when they're running and they've almost always failed immediately or shortly after.
Last edited by lingyi; 20th Sep 2018 at 15:57.
just quick answer. It happened in both states. Also disconection is mentioned of course only in on state. And you will not believe, but there is not piece of ruber on it. It is whole from hard plast and have to say, here is bit dusty. Centre of city. And ventilation works perfectly. Not sign of heating. Is bit bigger so I dont think they don't know what they do. Don't think companies with its good reputation will produce their products bad from principle. I think that when you become not satisfied (bad product) you will no more buy their product. As me an Ada.. .
So no ruber that slows down fall, state on and off, severals disconections and still working perfectly.
More pieces you need that has some electronics inside more complicated. Accidents happens. And for me is internal HDD less durable than that I have. Of course do not buy cheapest almost noname products.
And since they do their job many years, I think most problem that can occur are already solved.
Simply bad product and reputation of company gone for not satisfied customers. And believe me, they need customers. Plenty of them.
Bit longer than I excepted, but logging off and will not again run my pw manager today.
DVDs may be a pain but i got some I burnt in 2005 and CD I made in 2000 that still read fine. Tried bluray but had failures after 2 years. Love the conveince of hard drives but I rather have 1 disc go bad than 4tb. I also set aside 10% and use error correction (winrar dvdisaster or multipar) when doing my discs. Save me a few timesif all else fails read the manual
lingyi is right. If you want to be sure not to lose anything you have to monitor your backups periodically, regardless of what medium you use. With a large collection that's not practical with DVDs. Consider an 8 TB collection. You can have two copies with two 8TB hard drives -- or 4000 DVDs. You can compare all the files on the two hard drives with a single file compare command requiring only a few minutes of your time to set up (several hours of computer time, obviously). But to do the same with 4000 DVDs requires you to be around to swap discs every 5 or 10 minutes. Two hard drives take ups the space of a shoe box in your closet. 4000 DVDs will take up the entire closet. Two 8 TB hard drives costs about $400. 4000 DVDs about $1000.
In common harddrives are much more reliable than dvd-r discs, nevertheless they do fail.
The fact that your dvd-r still play doesn't mean they are faultless. The player will perhaps correct small problems or you will see small artifacts. This is not a real problem for movies but is a problem for data files.
Harddrives in a disclosure are also pron to get hot witch will shorten the lifespan, and if they are constantly used/connected they will be more pron to failure.
So back to your question i would, like others said, backup to multiple (at least 2) harddrives so that you have multiple copy's and put those harddrives in a cool place but not connected to your pc or media player. Do test the harddrives once a month to ensure the motor spins up and the files are still accessible.
And remember that a backup is only as good if it works to get your data back..otherwise it is useless.
Hi ! Thank you for the very useful and detailed information.
However, now I have a total of EIGHT portable 2.5 hard drives, some are WD and some are Seagate. What do you recommend now?
Do you advise I try to take the 2.5 hard drives out and use a "high quality" external case?
By the way, where do you get 2.5" 4TB for $60 ?? On Amazon? And which brand or particular model of a high quality external case do you recommend
lingyi is in favour of internal HDD + external case
Bernix is against it
who is true? who to trust? I have a number of portable hard drives , and no external case.
Lingyi says the cheap USB interface and power cable in brand drive, sounds reasonable.
And I also strongly believe that plugging and unplugging internal drives to external case could be a
trouble, because it's a "more directly" connection and disconnection.......
I am confused...........
Pal today told me he would go with internal drivers, properly stored, without box, but with some direct sata-usb 3.0 connection.
Only trouble that can happend with so called premade HDD is when box gonne, the plate is good, you can get data from it only at some service company. But I don't believe it gone and therefore you stored it twice.
So probably best for you go with usual internal HDD keep them properly stored and just buy sata - usb 3.0 feature (not docking station, it is much primitive way). Probably best for you is use both method each once and after 5 year report. If something fails earlier you can report to us, so others can learn something.
Edit: I believe it is something like this https://www.alza.sk/premiumcord-usb-30-sata-converter-for-25-and-35-devices-ac-adapter-d191813.htm
But not sure 100%
Last edited by Bernix; 21st Sep 2018 at 11:59. Reason: Edit link and so
Sorry I am not a computer scientist, I am only a user, I don't want to stick to one
method and keep sticking to it only and to keep storing and rising my storage....
I think both of you and lingyi's advice make sense...
I once used 3.5 internal HDD + external case, but the problem is it's too big, not very portable, and I need to spend extra a lot for bulky case with cushion to store those
bulky drives. On top of that, I am also worried that frequent plug and unplugging from
the SATA port and power port is a problem..............
and my "feeling" is that premade portable drives have at least a layer of protection, instead of naked like an internal drive.
but I also have a belief that famous company e.g. WD and Seagate don't make good USB interface
like what lingyi says.
I think they don't need returning or satisfied customers, they are the biggest and they rule the market.
And people tend to forget and make mistakes, they will buy again, even if it fails within the warranty
For longevity, DVDs cannot be beat. Back when DVD first appeared in 1997, there were many companies that did accelerated aging tests that showed that DVDs could last for a century or more. I have the software which can test the quality of the burn, and when used on older discs, can also tell you how far the disc has degraded. The first discs I burned back then are holding up perfectly, after twenty years, so I've made it 1/5 of a century.
The magnetic surface on hard drives are also incredibly long lived. Most drive failures are from the mechanical mechanism used to rotate the platters and the heads used to read the information. One takeaway from this is that if you did have a hard drive failure, and that hard drive was your only copy, you have a pretty good chance of recovering a large portion of the data if you are willing to spend a few thousand dollars at a recovery firm that can remove the platters and read the data from them.
Heat can accelerate disk failure. Having said that, Google's data on their server farms indicates that MTBF is only mildly correlated heat. However, my own experience with external enclosures is that almost all my failures have been with drives that don't have a fan and, when stressed heavily with a lot of reading and writing, they definitely get quite hot. So, I'm in total agreement with those who recommend building your own external enclosure by buying an enclosure with a really good fan.
The other good advice given above that I'll second is that you must have two drives, with one stored off-site. Having a single point of failure for such a big collection is almost certainly going to burn you some day, unless you are already over 70 years old, in which case, you might get away with it.
If the drives are still in warranty and you don't want to remove them from the case, leave the USB cable connected to the drive, and connect and disconnect only with the other end of the cable. This will reduce wear and tear on the USB interface on the drive.
As for an external case, I recommend something like this: I use . The interface is USB A (rectangle) which is much sturdier (you'll need an USB 3.0 A to A cable) and the case is aluminum to help with cooling.
Or as Bernix posted, you can use a SATA to USB adapter. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with a docking station. Just make sure to turn it off before you insert the drive to minimize electrical shock to the drive.
I was wrong about the $60 drives, they were $70 from Ebay. They were new 4TB Seagate portable drives that were removed from the case (the seller sold the cases separately because they made more money that way). Keep searching on Ebay and Amazon, they show up occasionally.
I don't know how things are in Taiwan, but in the U.S. hard drive prices change often. If one manufacturer lowers their price (especially on externals), the other (typically between WD and Seagate, sometimes Hitachi) lowers their price too. Unfortunately, the opposite is true when prices go up.
Last edited by lingyi; 21st Sep 2018 at 13:55.
I'm letting flow this. Just still curious why do you think it is bigger mess to keep files on HDD than on 1000 DVDs. It is up to you how you organize directory structure of your HDD. There are also softwares for catalogizing your video library. So it is up to you. For me is easier find file on HDD than among 1000 of dvds. You also takling about portability. 1000 DVD without any cover is tower 1,2m heigth (in theory). Properly stored multiply 1000 with thicknes of case.
Also archive is not mention for everyday use. Once capacity of archive media is reached let it rest in peace in some folder or bookcase but preferably some better place. You are not forced (by space/value yes) to buy 4 or 8TB. You can buy the space enough to archive your nowadays film library so you don't need to plug in and unplug it every day. Just for medium condition check. And buy other discs for future purpose. Plug in and unplug can be dissaster but accidents happens. And therefore you do archives.
About movies I don't care, I care about my family videos and photos. This is most important for me. So not terabytes needed. I keep them on several places.
Last edited by Bernix; 21st Sep 2018 at 14:04. Reason: s->c
Properly stored, this lasts longer than either optical discs or magnetic disk drives. Good old linear magnetic tape.
Everything should be written on papyrus! Readable thousands of years from now!
On a serious note, a thought just popped into my head (owwww!). If the contents of a file was written down on papyrus in binary, could someone well versed in binary, without a computer, "read" the code ala The Matrix? Of course this is easy enough with text (I knew some guys who would "talk" to each other in binary using sign language), but what about something more complicated like say being able to recreate music, much less video?
I have an Iomega External HD, that is around 10 years old ( don't remember when I got it, but I've been online for 17 years now. And I got it when I started collecting a lot of movies, TV series and porn. lol. ) Thanks to the increase in video quality & file sizes, since I got the HD? I quickly ran out of space on it. But like you, I once had everything burned to DVDs and kept much of what I had in files store sites. I some what regret now, my decision to put all my DVD content on that HD and then erase all the DVDs to reuse. ( self burned DVDs ) Because in my rush to get everything transferred? I didn't bother to check if everything I moved, moved properly. Meaning when I went back months and even years later to watch a video or look at a set of photos? Something screwed up during the transfer. And the files were corrupt. ( I still have an empty folder of photos, that are no longer photos, but just an empty shell. It's just an icon, that has no data ) Long story short? be very careful when you transfer everything from DVD to a hard drive. Check every file.
If you use DVDs: there's only one consistently reliable brand of DVDs left, Verbatim. Use their DataLife or DataLife Plus discs, not the Life series. Always run a verify pass after writing.
Regarding tape drives: be careful. Many years ago I used tape. I had spent something like US$1500 for a drive and a bunch of tapes. After a few years the tape drive died so I had to get a new one. The new drives used a new form of data compression that was incompatible with the old drives. All my old tapes were inaccessible. Fortunately, everything was still on my hard drives so it wasn't a catastrophe. Otherwise I would have had to find an older model drive that still worked. I now stick with the most common consumer media for backups. When the technology changes and it's clear the new technology is becoming the new standard (IDE to SATA for example) I migrate to the new standard.
Last edited by jagabo; 21st Sep 2018 at 19:26.
So you will soon migrate to holographic data storage?
BTW there is theory that universe is hologram. Sciencist has to inventing weird theory that can't be declined not proved. They need money, they are humans too. So theorethicaly we can be part of big data storage...
I do Blu-ray for optical storage. 25GB discs are the cheapest per GB, and even cheaper than DVD per GB. With 5x the storage of single layer DVD.
If your data would make you consider ending your life if you lost it, back it up to at least 2 backups and do it regularly, my experience of electronics left dormant for many months is they fail more than if consistently activated, I am now encoding my dvd collection to streaming files for my nas and some dvd's are not easy to read, all of these things your mileage will vary. I recently bought Goodsync software, be careful with the , deletion tick box, and am finding it very helpful, you can set up automatic backups from one source to more than one destination , if you are confident your source is reliable, its very good
Last edited by victoriabears; 21st Sep 2018 at 21:23.PAL/NTSC problem solver.
USED TO BE A UK Equipment owner., NOW FINISHED WITH VHS CONVERSIONS-THANKS
Interesting about Verbatim. I used to use Taiyo-Yuden, and stayed with them after the JVC buyout. Now, however, I'm not sure the current manufacturing facility produces the same quality.
Do you have to link for the discs you are buying? I still produce several hundred DVDs a years for clients, and I'm down to my last two hundred blanks.
I wonder if Blu-Ray would be an archiving option for the OP? Given its modest acceptance level, I don't know if drives will be as likely to be around compared to DVD which was so successful that, like CDs, you'll easily be able to find players for at least another 20-30 years. However, they sure can store a lot more data than DVD.
Ultimately, the solution is simple.
Backup up NOW and OFTEN, to different media (HDD, optical, tape, etc.).
Make multiple backups and store at least one copy in a different location
Migrate the data to new media as often as possible/affordable.
Store your media in a cool, dry, dark, shock-resistant area. For HDDs use an antistatic bag. For optical discs, use the original spindles or individual cases.*
Keep at least one set of hardware to support retrieving your media (What current motherboard supports IDE? Yes, this is where an IDE to USB converter comes in.).
Take everything posted here and other threads with a grain of salt since we all have unique experiences and circumstances that only sometimes coincides with others.
*If you're interested, visit digitalfaq.com and search for gamemanico's (remember him?) frustrating, yet sometimes hilarious near endless questions lordsmurf about storing DVDs!
Backup to flash drives or SSDs (not mentioned here, but these are NOT archival storage)
Use cheap hard drive enclosures (i.e. anything included with a drive that's less than the cost of the equivalent internal)
Rely on warranties as an indication of HDD quality (optical discs often have a lifetime replacement warranty, which means nothing when you've lost your data).
Be cheap. Collecting and archiving data costs money, not matter how you look at it. It costs less than $0.10 U.S. max to store one GB of data.**
**While it's cheaper than it ever was and it will get cheaper in the future, we're near the limits of HDD, optical disc and tape technology. Yes, there's always something new coming up, but it will always be insanely expensive in the beginning and unproven for reliability.
Last edited by lingyi; 21st Sep 2018 at 21:11. Reason: Clarification and additional info