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Old Apr 28, 2007, 11:30 PM   #1
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Recently I pulled a 300GB hard drive out of a netgear storage device and would like to know the best way to store it for the long haul so that it can still be read whenever the need be. Should I put the drive inside anything special or just store on my book shelf unit........ I have all the photos stored on CDs and Dvds but want to make sure this still works as a backup in 5 or 10 years......

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Old Apr 29, 2007, 9:12 AM   #2
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An article I read recently (at a data recovery site), stated that drives that sat unused for long periods of time were more likely to fail than those in constant use. They recommended firing up the drive for an hour or so about once a month.

As for storage, I would advise storing in a cool dry place.
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Old Apr 29, 2007, 10:06 AM   #3
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I would put it in a ziplock bag with some silica if I were planning to store a drive for 10 years. If for no other reason to try to avoid corrosion on the contacts. Most people have little silica bags that came with equipment. Dry the silica out before using it – you can use a microwave but there are warnings to not overheat it.

You would probably improve your chances of it working if you could find a way to power it up and exercise the heads occasionally.

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Old Apr 29, 2007, 11:32 AM   #4
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Why would you think that, in 5 or 10 years, you're going to find something you'll be able to connect it to?

When NASA sent Voyager out beyond the edges of our solar system, they enclosed a golden phonograph record, and instructions on how to make a record player, so that someday some alien civilization might be able to listen to what we had to say (as if they would care.) If Voyager were to crash in your backyard tomorrow, would you be able to listen to that record?
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Old Apr 29, 2007, 12:05 PM   #5
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TCav wrote:
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Why would you think that, in 5 or 10 years, you're going to find something you'll be able to connect it to?
What makes you think you won't? I can still connect to ten year old HDs. You would probably be a little safer with SATA, but almost every computer in the world has an ATA or SATA hard drive and they aren't likely to become obsolete anytime soon. I don't know of anything on the near horizon that is going to give us computers without HDs.

I would wager that twenty years from now you will still be able to get adapter boxes to connect our current HDs to computers.

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Old Apr 29, 2007, 12:07 PM   #6
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If Voyager crashed in my backyard tomorrow, there probably wouldn't be enough left of the record to see, let alone play. However, if it did survivie, I could listen to it - couldn't you? Vinyl is making a comeback - it's still going strong.

http://www.vinyl-renaissance.com/servlet/StoreFront

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Old Apr 29, 2007, 1:53 PM   #7
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Try connecting a PATA HDD to today's newest computers. Nowadays, everything is SATA. Even the optical drives. And while you can still find PATA PCI cards, who's to say they'll be around in 5 years. Or even PCI! Computers are losing PCI slots all the time, in favor of USB Ports. What will happen 5 years from now?

"It's hard to make predictions - especially about the future." --Robert Storm Petersen

"Telling the future by looking at the past assumes that conditions remain constant. This is like driving a car by looking in the rearview mirror." --Herb Brody

"The future will be a better tomorrow." --Dan Quayle
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Old Apr 29, 2007, 2:18 PM   #8
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rinniethehun wrote:
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Vinyl is making a comeback - it's still going strong.

http://www.vinyl-renaissance.com/servlet/StoreFront
You had to go to a small town in Kansas to make your point about Vinyl making a comeback?
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Old Apr 29, 2007, 3:51 PM   #9
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TCav wrote:
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Try connecting a PATA HDD to today's newest computers.
Could you link a motherboard that doesn't support PATA?

I looked up some current SATA motherboards and they all still had IDE/ATA133 ports for PATA drives. That might not always be the case, but with probably a billion of the things in circulation it is doubtful there won't be some support for them in the foreseeable future. If nothing else there will be aftermarket conversion boxes to whatever interface computers are using.

I have both PATA and SATA drives in external enclosures with their own power supply. The SATA unit has eSATA output, but that can easily be converted to USB. The PATA unit is already USB. As I said, I would wager there will be a way to access either of them twenty years from now.

Floppys hung around for years after they were obsolete in speed and capacity. The first vendor I looked at had two full pages of external floppy drives and they will likely be available for many years to come. Within your 5 to 10 year time frame I will likely be able to find a way to read an old floppy. You'll probably be able to read a Zip disc within that short a time frame.

There are probably a million Win98 computers with the original equipment still operating. People aren't being herded to discard stuff quite as fast as cutting edge people like yourself.

I would be more concerned about computers not being able to read FAT32 or NTFS, but not in ten years. And it won't happen overnight, so there will be plenty of time to convert and move stuff over to your 80 Terabyte holographic cube. Of course the cube will be nearly full, what with Photoshop CS19 taking a half a terabyte. The good news is that the dinky 300 Gig drive will hardly make a dent.

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Old Apr 29, 2007, 3:52 PM   #10
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Photo 5pulled a 300 MB HDD out of a netgear storage device, so it's probably PATA. He's going to have to jump through hoops to connect it to something off-the-shelf today! Forget the interface; five years from now, he's not going to be able to find a power supply for it. If it were SATA, he might stand a chance, but I wouldn't count on it.

He should make MULTIPLE copies of his photos onto MULTIPLE types and MULTIPLE brands of optical media, if he wants to have access to them in 10, or even 5 years.
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