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Old Aug 24, 2006, 7:11 AM   #21
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I just saw this thread for the first time...

I think it's worth noting that hard drives are, by far, the WORST way to archive data. (Unless you keep the data on multiple hard drives and check them regularly.) Hard drives are extremely unreliable, and even if they seem to be OK, you have to do a complete scan of them, otherwise you don't really know if they are still good. The scans are done by a program written by the manufacturer - SeaTools for Seagate, DLG for Western Digital, DFT for IBM/Hitachi, PowerMax for Maxtor, etc. You can't simply assume that because you can hook it up and read one picture, that another picture hasn't gone corrupt. If you use a single hard drive to store your pictures... well, you'd better put them somewhere else, too, or be ready to lose them. And definitely don't assume that because the hard drive is new that you're guaranteed an amount of time before it fails - I've seen plenty of hard drives fail within the first few months.

CD/DVDs are a much better solution - and it's much cheaper to burn a pair of discs than use a pair of hard drives. The ideal way is to burn two discs - keep one around for regular use, throw the other in your fireproof safe where you store your important documents (since they take up virtually no room.) Make sure that whatever you're using to burn the discs has "Verify" turned on. With Nero, this is a simple checkbox available during the burn. That way you'll know for sure that the disc is error-free to start with. If there are any read errors, throw it out and try again.

It's not worth worrying about the lifetime of the discs too much, as future drives will just keep getting larger and it makes sense to migrate your data to the new formats. For example, I'm currently going through all the stuff I have stored on CD and putting it on DVD - not only are DVDs much cheaper on a per-meg basis than CDs now, but I can replace seven CDs with one DVD, which is important when you have literally thousands of discs floating around like I do. (Thank goodness for those giant 200+ CD wallets!) I'm sure that in a few years, I'll be migrating all these DVDs to BluRay or HD-DVD formats. I'll still have my original CDs and DVDs lying around (probably on a spindle, to save space) so as long as one is the discs is readable, I'll be all set. And in 10 years, there'll probably be yet another format that everything will get moved to.

USB drives are not immune to errors, either - memory can start becoming corrupt over time. They're pretty good, but nothing is 100%.

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Old Aug 24, 2006, 10:13 AM   #22
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This is certainly one of the BEST threads I have ever come across.

Recently I was trying to rescue all my photos taken with my digital camera;

I was trying to quickly get them out from my dying hardisk drive onto CD rewritable as quickly as possible because myhardisk was already breaking down every unpredictable moment. I was managing the procedures halfway when thehardisk broke down again; I lost a CDRW due to the sudden break down and have to start with a new one.

From this unpleasant experience, I learned that it is VERY IMPORTANT for meto BACKUP my photos before I lose them forever.

Even then, I have experiences with decayed CDs before;

Compact disks aresimply NOT RELIABLE based on what had happened to me before; I have brought computer games and installed them to my PC in the past, but sometimes the PC will break down and I have to re-install everything; at one time, I found out that the CDs containing those games are no longer usable and some of them even haveit's shiny datasurface diminished. I couldn't get back the original games and it isn't easy for me to go out andspend my money onsome fresh copy; I had lost those games for good.

I cannot figure out whatis the worry free long term solution. Currently I just have to be contended with CD RWs and put up with those.
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Old Aug 24, 2006, 11:50 AM   #23
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A number of folks have mentioned the zippered CD cases with the vinyl sleeves that hold 100, 200 or more discs. Remembering that "non-solvent-based inks" should be used to mark on the discs (or, better yet, don't write on them at all), the plasticizers which are in the vinyl are volatile and, therefore, areout-gassing from the vinyl. Seems probably that these cases are not for archival storage of your precious discs.

It is more likely that tyvek or acid-free paper sleeves are a better choice. Even polypropylene-based sleeves should be better.

Well! Always like to add fuel to the fire. :idea:
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Old Aug 24, 2006, 12:00 PM   #24
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BenjaminXYZ wrote:
Quote:
This is certainly one of the BEST threads I have ever come across.

Recently I was trying to rescue all my photos taken with my digital camera;

I was trying to quickly get them out from my dying hardisk drive onto CD rewritable as quickly as possible because myhardisk was already breaking down every unpredictable moment. I was managing the procedures halfway when thehardisk broke down again; I lost a CDRW due to the sudden break down and have to start with a new one.

From this unpleasant experience, I learned that it is VERY IMPORTANT for meto BACKUP my photos before I lose them forever.

Even then, I have experiences with decayed CDs before;

Compact disks aresimply NOT RELIABLE based on what had happened to me before; I have brought computer games and installed them to my PC in the past, but sometimes the PC will break down and I have to re-install everything; at one time, I found out that the CDs containing those games are no longer usable and some of them even haveit's shiny datasurface diminished. I couldn't get back the original games and it isn't easy for me to go out andspend my money onsome fresh copy; I had lost those games for good.

I cannot figure out whatis the worry free long term solution. Currently I just have to be contended with CD RWs and put up with those.
Just a little point - in my experience, cd-rw's are worse than cd-r's for storage.

Due to the dye (I think), RW is not meant for long term storage.



Darren


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Old Aug 24, 2006, 5:18 PM   #25
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Yes, I'd agree that CD-RWs are definitely not as reliable as CD-Rs.

They're great if you want to make a quick disc of MP3s for the car (if your CD player can read MP3s) or some pictures for your DVD player (if it can read JPG, which nearly all can now), or maybe even daily backups (where you'll know that day if it's gone bad or not)... but definitely not for archiving!

One other note - if you have a CD that won't read in your drive - try another drive! I've found big differences in how well different drives cope with "iffy" CDs. No guaranteed, but you might just find that another drive to read it. Also, of course, make sure there are no obvious scratches or smudges... sometimes it's just a little gunk stuck to the data side that's making it fail.

If you want some more piece of mind, there are plenty of web services that will let you store your data there, for a certain amount a month.

One more thing you can do is make PAR2-format parity files for your pictures and burn that to the disc as well. For example, if you're burning a CD, put on 600 megs of JPGs and 100 megs of PAR2 files (or 650/50 or whatever you're comfortable with)... as long as you can read the majority of the CD, you'll be all set and the PAR2 files will repair or replace anything that's damaged. This is the best PAR2 program for Windows: http://www.quickpar.org.uk/

WinRAR also can put in a recovery record, if you RAR your JPGs, but that makes them a lot more a pain to look at off CD! But it works the same way, as long as most of the files are OK, it can repair them.


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Old Aug 25, 2006, 12:23 AM   #26
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Well, seeing as how you can get a 300GB hard drive for $80, I don't think the storage costs are all that high. I plan to get one to dump all my miniDV movies on and then just park the HD on the shelf.

With my 10MB raw files, I should be able to store close to 30,000 raw photos for $80. Again, not that much. Plus, by the time I shoot 30,000 pictures, the price for a 30TB drive will be around $80. :lol:

I just don't see it as an issue. If you want redundancy, spend another $80 and back them up twice. You're covered for just about any situation then.
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Old Aug 25, 2006, 2:33 AM   #27
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You guys have some great points there;

I will personally not place all my data's at one go on a really large memory storage system such as a hardisk. I personally feel the risk of having "lets say" a 100GB hardisk drive and then storing everything on it...what happens if the drive breaks down or become corrupted over time??? Then all the data's will also be lost in one big go.

I feel safer by storing "say 100 GB of data" on separate drives instead of storing them all on a single big solution drive. :shock:

Currently I have 5 or more CD RWs containing most of my photos and I still have more to go from the hardisk. I feel quite safe to have my photos scattered on CD RWs like this since if anything happens to one, it is only one compared to losing all. I just need a more durable source of storage for the long term. (I hope the durability of HD drives can improve over time so that I can still depend on them later on).
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Old Aug 25, 2006, 6:34 AM   #28
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Guys and gals, let not loose proportions. We're amateur photographers. And we're not immortal. Why do we remeber Ramses II? Because he forced some 100 000+ workers to work for 50 years to build him a huge pile of stones!

I had some doubts when i was about to erect a new small house for my sons. Ilooked at"Leca-bricks" which consist of three layers: stone–foam plastics–stone. I asked a knowledgable friend "How will that plastic inside the wall look in 70 years from now?" Answer: "In 70 years from now you won't give a damn!"

Kjell
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Old Aug 25, 2006, 6:50 AM   #29
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Benjamin... I totally agree. A hard drive sitting on a shelf is not immune to failure and it's not uncommon for hard drives, when they do fail, to be 100% unreadable. (Won't spin up, or head stuck, or similar.) Two of them helps but again, hard drives are incredibly, incredibly unreliable. I've been too many people lose too much data to ever trust hard drives.

And cost... well, I haven't seen a 300g drive for as cheap as $80, but no doubt they will be soon. That'll hold approx as much as 60-65 DVD-Rs (probably less)... and DVD-Rs can often be found for as cheap as 20c each in a spindle (sometimes less) - 65 DVD-Rs will then cost about $13. If you want to double your storage, that's $26... vs $160 for two hard drives which will be far less reliable. That's enough to pick up another lens or two on eBay. :G

Another option is tape backup... but the initial costs can be a little bit more. I haven't been following the costs of consumer-level tape backup but it's pretty rare for them to be used, which how cheap disc storage is.

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Old Aug 25, 2006, 7:29 AM   #30
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Leaving a hard drive on a shelf for a few years isn't any safer than being connected to your computer for the same time.
I had a hard drive in my PC for a while and once it was full, I took it out and stored it away somewhere. Recently I went to get it and found it didn't work at all.
It was totally dead and all my data was lost!
Luckily most of the data was unimportant, so I wasn't too bothered.

CD/DVD's aren't much better either.
4 months ago I burnt all of my Hong Kong holiday photos to a DVD and already (I suspect it was a dodgy burn though) quite a few of the RAW files are corrupt.
Another time I was searching for a CDRW I knew I had somewhere but when I found it, it was totally destroyed. Some kind of bug or bacteria had eaten through the dye, much like those markings you find in pieces of wood from woodworm. This happened in the sapce of a few months, imagine a few years!

I'm really not sure what I'm gonna do with my data back up now, probably stick to multiple DVD's.
PAR's are a great idea that I hadn't thought about!
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