Stability of data on USB flash drives - Storage

This is a discussion on Stability of data on USB flash drives - Storage ; I keep multiple backups of important personal data on various media. I want to put some data away in a safety deposit box. I have read that optical media such as CD-R and DVD-R may lose or corrupt data over ...

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Thread: Stability of data on USB flash drives

  1. Stability of data on USB flash drives

    I keep multiple backups of important personal data on various media. I want
    to put some data away in a safety deposit box. I have read that optical
    media such as CD-R and DVD-R may lose or corrupt data over a period of
    years. What about USB flash drives? How well do they retain data in the long
    term as compared to optical media?

    Thanks.

    David



  2. Re: Stability of data on USB flash drives

    Everything decays - it isn't just the chipset but all of the controller
    silicon, connectors, etc. The rate is highly variable (manufacturer,
    material quality, environment of storage (incl. level of shielding from
    solar radiation which can flip bits), usage prior to archiving, etc.). The
    vast majority of USBs are built for a particular price point as temporary
    (i.e. non-critical) storage. Optical media kept in a cool, dry, dark place
    will last multiples (2x, 3x, etc.) longer than media kept on a shelf in a
    garage in Florida.

    I would suggest that you decide on the time horizon - months, years,
    decades, and match the method to the time span.

    Pat



    "David Mayerovitch" wrote in message
    news:eCIxkYBbIHA.2268@TK2MSFTNGP02.phx.gbl...
    >I keep multiple backups of important personal data on various media. I want
    >to put some data away in a safety deposit box. I have read that optical
    >media such as CD-R and DVD-R may lose or corrupt data over a period of
    >years. What about USB flash drives? How well do they retain data in the
    >long term as compared to optical media?
    >
    > Thanks.
    >
    > David
    >



  3. Re: Stability of data on USB flash drives

    Thanks, Pat. Let me offer some specifics:

    1) The convenient media for my purposes are: Standard USB flash drive, CD-R
    and DVD-R.
    2) I would recopy the data to fresh media let's say every 3 to 5 years.
    3) Media to be stored in a cool dry dark safety deposit box in a bank in
    Canada.

    How would you rank the three media for accurate retention of the data?

    Thanks.

    David


    "Pat [MSFT]" wrote in message
    news:66E31BAA-2057-4F51-A043-47344028FA4E@microsoft.com...
    > Everything decays - it isn't just the chipset but all of the controller
    > silicon, connectors, etc. The rate is highly variable (manufacturer,
    > material quality, environment of storage (incl. level of shielding from
    > solar radiation which can flip bits), usage prior to archiving, etc.).
    > The vast majority of USBs are built for a particular price point as
    > temporary (i.e. non-critical) storage. Optical media kept in a cool, dry,
    > dark place will last multiples (2x, 3x, etc.) longer than media kept on a
    > shelf in a garage in Florida.
    >
    > I would suggest that you decide on the time horizon - months, years,
    > decades, and match the method to the time span.
    >
    > Pat
    >
    >
    >
    > "David Mayerovitch" wrote in message
    > news:eCIxkYBbIHA.2268@TK2MSFTNGP02.phx.gbl...
    >>I keep multiple backups of important personal data on various media. I
    >>want to put some data away in a safety deposit box. I have read that
    >>optical media such as CD-R and DVD-R may lose or corrupt data over a
    >>period of years. What about USB flash drives? How well do they retain data
    >>in the long term as compared to optical media?
    >>
    >> Thanks.
    >>
    >> David
    >>

    >




  4. Re: Stability of data on USB flash drives

    CD-R/DVD-R would be better than a consumer grade USB drive.

    For those curious, the Library of Congress launched a study in 1996 to
    determine the longevity of disks (natural aging & forced aging):

    http://www.loc.gov/preserv/studyofCDlongevity.pdf

    The paper has some very interesting experimental data and observations about
    how CDs age and the various factors involved (e.g. reflectivity of media).

    Even if something goes terribly awry you could still leverage a data
    recovery company to manually scan the disk and get at least some of the data
    back.


    Pat


    "David Mayerovitch" wrote in message
    news:uqCB$kXbIHA.4208@TK2MSFTNGP04.phx.gbl...
    > Thanks, Pat. Let me offer some specifics:
    >
    > 1) The convenient media for my purposes are: Standard USB flash drive,
    > CD-R and DVD-R.
    > 2) I would recopy the data to fresh media let's say every 3 to 5 years.
    > 3) Media to be stored in a cool dry dark safety deposit box in a bank in
    > Canada.
    >
    > How would you rank the three media for accurate retention of the data?
    >
    > Thanks.
    >
    > David
    >
    >
    > "Pat [MSFT]" wrote in message
    > news:66E31BAA-2057-4F51-A043-47344028FA4E@microsoft.com...
    >> Everything decays - it isn't just the chipset but all of the controller
    >> silicon, connectors, etc. The rate is highly variable (manufacturer,
    >> material quality, environment of storage (incl. level of shielding from
    >> solar radiation which can flip bits), usage prior to archiving, etc.).
    >> The vast majority of USBs are built for a particular price point as
    >> temporary (i.e. non-critical) storage. Optical media kept in a cool,
    >> dry, dark place will last multiples (2x, 3x, etc.) longer than media kept
    >> on a shelf in a garage in Florida.
    >>
    >> I would suggest that you decide on the time horizon - months, years,
    >> decades, and match the method to the time span.
    >>
    >> Pat
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> "David Mayerovitch" wrote in message
    >> news:eCIxkYBbIHA.2268@TK2MSFTNGP02.phx.gbl...
    >>>I keep multiple backups of important personal data on various media. I
    >>>want to put some data away in a safety deposit box. I have read that
    >>>optical media such as CD-R and DVD-R may lose or corrupt data over a
    >>>period of years. What about USB flash drives? How well do they retain
    >>>data in the long term as compared to optical media?
    >>>
    >>> Thanks.
    >>>
    >>> David
    >>>

    >>

    >
    >



  5. Re: Stability of data on USB flash drives

    Thanks again, Pat. This is helpful.

    I guess a simple way of maximizing survival of data on a disk would be to
    load multiple copies of the data on it so that any corruption on one part of
    the disk would still leave other copies intact.

    David

    "Pat [MSFT]" wrote in message
    news:69DD9E75-9A5F-42D2-AD37-E8C78CA7AC85@microsoft.com...
    > CD-R/DVD-R would be better than a consumer grade USB drive.
    >
    > For those curious, the Library of Congress launched a study in 1996 to
    > determine the longevity of disks (natural aging & forced aging):
    >
    > http://www.loc.gov/preserv/studyofCDlongevity.pdf
    >
    > The paper has some very interesting experimental data and observations
    > about how CDs age and the various factors involved (e.g. reflectivity of
    > media).
    >
    > Even if something goes terribly awry you could still leverage a data
    > recovery company to manually scan the disk and get at least some of the
    > data back.
    >
    >
    > Pat
    >
    >
    > "David Mayerovitch" wrote in message
    > news:uqCB$kXbIHA.4208@TK2MSFTNGP04.phx.gbl...
    >> Thanks, Pat. Let me offer some specifics:
    >>
    >> 1) The convenient media for my purposes are: Standard USB flash drive,
    >> CD-R and DVD-R.
    >> 2) I would recopy the data to fresh media let's say every 3 to 5 years.
    >> 3) Media to be stored in a cool dry dark safety deposit box in a bank in
    >> Canada.
    >>
    >> How would you rank the three media for accurate retention of the data?
    >>
    >> Thanks.
    >>
    >> David
    >>
    >>
    >> "Pat [MSFT]" wrote in message
    >> news:66E31BAA-2057-4F51-A043-47344028FA4E@microsoft.com...
    >>> Everything decays - it isn't just the chipset but all of the controller
    >>> silicon, connectors, etc. The rate is highly variable (manufacturer,
    >>> material quality, environment of storage (incl. level of shielding from
    >>> solar radiation which can flip bits), usage prior to archiving, etc.).
    >>> The vast majority of USBs are built for a particular price point as
    >>> temporary (i.e. non-critical) storage. Optical media kept in a cool,
    >>> dry, dark place will last multiples (2x, 3x, etc.) longer than media
    >>> kept on a shelf in a garage in Florida.
    >>>
    >>> I would suggest that you decide on the time horizon - months, years,
    >>> decades, and match the method to the time span.
    >>>
    >>> Pat
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> "David Mayerovitch" wrote in message
    >>> news:eCIxkYBbIHA.2268@TK2MSFTNGP02.phx.gbl...
    >>>>I keep multiple backups of important personal data on various media. I
    >>>>want to put some data away in a safety deposit box. I have read that
    >>>>optical media such as CD-R and DVD-R may lose or corrupt data over a
    >>>>period of years. What about USB flash drives? How well do they retain
    >>>>data in the long term as compared to optical media?
    >>>>
    >>>> Thanks.
    >>>>
    >>>> David
    >>>>
    >>>

    >>
    >>

    >




  6. Re: Stability of data on USB flash drives

    Extra disks would probably be better.

    Pat

    "David Mayerovitch" wrote in message
    news:uZ19qHqbIHA.5128@TK2MSFTNGP05.phx.gbl...
    > Thanks again, Pat. This is helpful.
    >
    > I guess a simple way of maximizing survival of data on a disk would be to
    > load multiple copies of the data on it so that any corruption on one part
    > of the disk would still leave other copies intact.
    >
    > David
    >
    > "Pat [MSFT]" wrote in message
    > news:69DD9E75-9A5F-42D2-AD37-E8C78CA7AC85@microsoft.com...
    >> CD-R/DVD-R would be better than a consumer grade USB drive.
    >>
    >> For those curious, the Library of Congress launched a study in 1996 to
    >> determine the longevity of disks (natural aging & forced aging):
    >>
    >> http://www.loc.gov/preserv/studyofCDlongevity.pdf
    >>
    >> The paper has some very interesting experimental data and observations
    >> about how CDs age and the various factors involved (e.g. reflectivity of
    >> media).
    >>
    >> Even if something goes terribly awry you could still leverage a data
    >> recovery company to manually scan the disk and get at least some of the
    >> data back.
    >>
    >>
    >> Pat
    >>
    >>
    >> "David Mayerovitch" wrote in message
    >> news:uqCB$kXbIHA.4208@TK2MSFTNGP04.phx.gbl...
    >>> Thanks, Pat. Let me offer some specifics:
    >>>
    >>> 1) The convenient media for my purposes are: Standard USB flash drive,
    >>> CD-R and DVD-R.
    >>> 2) I would recopy the data to fresh media let's say every 3 to 5 years.
    >>> 3) Media to be stored in a cool dry dark safety deposit box in a bank in
    >>> Canada.
    >>>
    >>> How would you rank the three media for accurate retention of the data?
    >>>
    >>> Thanks.
    >>>
    >>> David
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> "Pat [MSFT]" wrote in message
    >>> news:66E31BAA-2057-4F51-A043-47344028FA4E@microsoft.com...
    >>>> Everything decays - it isn't just the chipset but all of the controller
    >>>> silicon, connectors, etc. The rate is highly variable (manufacturer,
    >>>> material quality, environment of storage (incl. level of shielding from
    >>>> solar radiation which can flip bits), usage prior to archiving, etc.).
    >>>> The vast majority of USBs are built for a particular price point as
    >>>> temporary (i.e. non-critical) storage. Optical media kept in a cool,
    >>>> dry, dark place will last multiples (2x, 3x, etc.) longer than media
    >>>> kept on a shelf in a garage in Florida.
    >>>>
    >>>> I would suggest that you decide on the time horizon - months, years,
    >>>> decades, and match the method to the time span.
    >>>>
    >>>> Pat
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>>
    >>>> "David Mayerovitch" wrote in message
    >>>> news:eCIxkYBbIHA.2268@TK2MSFTNGP02.phx.gbl...
    >>>>>I keep multiple backups of important personal data on various media. I
    >>>>>want to put some data away in a safety deposit box. I have read that
    >>>>>optical media such as CD-R and DVD-R may lose or corrupt data over a
    >>>>>period of years. What about USB flash drives? How well do they retain
    >>>>>data in the long term as compared to optical media?
    >>>>>
    >>>>> Thanks.
    >>>>>
    >>>>> David
    >>>>>
    >>>>
    >>>
    >>>

    >>

    >
    >



  7. Re: Stability of data on USB flash drives

    you might also put extra copies on something like
    http://skydrive.live.com. You could encrypt it first and
    store the pw in your safe-deposit.



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