Back-up/Archive of Digital Photographs...Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by pgrogan, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. pgrogan

    pgrogan Guest

    What are people doing for the long term storage of digital photos?

    CDs/DVDs have a life of about 2-5 years
    Hard Drives 3-5 years

    Am I supposed to back up my personal photos to tape?
    pgrogan, Jan 29, 2006
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  2. pgrogan

    C J Southern Guest

    I write mine to CD - not sure where you get 2 - 5 years from - my research
    suggests quality brands are rated somewhere in the region of 75 years (if
    cared for properly), with a new range rated at 300 years.

    DVDs on the other hand I'm a bit more weary of.
    C J Southern, Jan 29, 2006
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  3. Tape would be a good albeit expensive option.

    For small operations, I use and suggest a USB drive case to keep a duplicate
    of sensitive data. Don't rely on the drive holding all your stuff without it
    being stored elsewhere too.

    The drive gets plugged in every week or so, so even though it gets power
    cycled often in relation to its life, overall, it'll last longer than leaving
    it in all the time.

    I never bought into the CD/DVD life expectancies of many years, I wouldn't
    trust them past several years. If it's any more, it's an unexpected bonus.
    Sure they're probably getting better, but I'm not going to trust them just to
    find out that disk fails at the most inopportune moment.

    Personally, I have a raid-5 redundant setup. Every time a drive fails, I
    replace it. No data loss, with no downtime. (well, there's two days of
    background re-syncronising to restore the raid setup though) So as long as
    they keep selling SATA drives over the years, I can keep my data intact.
    John Tserkezis, Jan 29, 2006
  4. pgrogan

    C J Southern Guest

    It's still a risky proposition, unless you're also taking other precautions.
    Have you considered ...

    - Fire?
    - Theft?
    - Malfunction (software? controller?) that scrambles some/all critical data
    - Power spike / PSU Malfunction - fries all drives in 1 foul swoop.

    I've had clients who have lost data through all of these means.
    C J Southern, Jan 29, 2006
  5. pgrogan

    nrh Guest

    In C J Southern <> scribed:
    Bird flu, perhaps? ;-)

    nrh, Jan 29, 2006
  6. pgrogan

    nrh Guest

    In C J Southern <> scribed:
    More sleep needed then, perhaps? ;-)

    nrh, Jan 29, 2006
  7. I use three removable harddisks.
    - One is off site, and gets replaced with a more up-to-date version every
    - One is in the safe, and gets replaces with a more up-to-date version
    every week.
    - One is in my computer and gets an update at night (my computer is always
    on for e-mail, web, etc. Otherwise, you have to remember to sync the
    disk before you to turn off the computer).

    Of course, Murphy will figure out a way to destroy all 4 copies of my data.
    So making enough prints is probably a good idea too.
    Philip Homburg, Jan 29, 2006
  8. pgrogan

    nrh Guest


    Wow! Can I have all the discarded one's please! I have to make mine last
    around 3 YEARS! ;-)

    nrh, Jan 29, 2006
  9. pgrogan

    Jim Redelfs Guest

    I use two, 250gb hard-disk drives, each partitioned in thirds.
    Huh? I'd like to see your reference on that. While it is generally accepted
    that optical media has a finite life span, I understand it is MUCH longer than

    I believe that the TECHNOLOGY to access data from an optical disk created
    TODAY will be nonexistent well before the data becomes corrupt.
    Magnetic technology. I'll buy that.
    Nah. That's just more magnetic media, albeit OLD and slow.

    In any case, one should UPGRADE their archives to current technology AT LEAST
    every 5-7 years.
    Jim Redelfs, Jan 29, 2006
  10. I have RW DVD's that I used for archiving 5+ years ago that are
    perfectly fine. If they are stored properly and handled with care they
    will last a very long time, IMO.
    I have old 2-3 gigabyte IDE hard drives that are nearly 10 years old
    that still have there original files. All that is needed is to hook
    them up to an IDE connection and they even boot up to the old Windows
    3.11 operating system (severely driver impaired though). :)
    You got that right. I HATED tape backup drives. Talk about unreliable,
    they were by far the worst backup system I every used.
    I think any backup system that utilizes a USB connection will be good
    for a number of years. I think this means of data transfer will be
    around for years and years with very good backwards compatibility for
    current USB connections built into future computer systems.
    Michael Johnson, PE, Jan 29, 2006
  11. I meant to say RW CD's.
    Michael Johnson, PE, Jan 29, 2006
  12. pgrogan

    Peter Guest

    I write mine to CD - not sure where you get 2 - 5 years from - my research
    Really? I'd seriously doubt these figures. No CD-R has lasted more than
    couple of years on me.

    Peter, Jan 29, 2006
  13. pgrogan

    Peter Guest

    - Power spike / PSU Malfunction - fries all drives in 1 foul swoop.
    Or even worse... fish flu! 8-D
    Peter, Jan 29, 2006
  14. pgrogan

    C J Southern Guest

    Perhaps you've got an undiagnosed issue with your writer? I can't say I've
    ever had an issue with even the cheap brands.

    I accept that the published figures are usually maximum figures, but
    none-the-less I would expect that something thats designed to last 300 years
    shouldn't have an issue lasting the next 30 or 40 years I've got left on
    this planet.
    C J Southern, Jan 29, 2006
  15. pgrogan

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    I have CD-Rs that have been sitting in my car, undergoing the extreme
    temperature changes of a car interior, longer than that. In fact, I have
    yet to have a CD-R go bad on me. For some reason, I still don't really
    trust them as a long-term backup solution.

    But the real problem with them (and with DVDs) is that they don't store
    enough data to be useful for backing up images. I'd need a pretty big
    stack of DVDs to make a single backup of my image library. Hard drives
    are the only practical solution.
    Jeremy Nixon, Jan 29, 2006
  16. pgrogan

    pgrogan Guest

    pgrogan, Jan 30, 2006
  17. pgrogan

    Proconsul Guest

    The "expert" who wrote that article is braindead....and wrong.....

    I've got CDs that are older than five years that are still perfect....

    Nothing lasts forever, but I don't buy the "short life" described in
    the article.....

    Proconsul, Jan 30, 2006
  18. pgrogan

    Tom Guest

    just watch out for chimney flu.. when that one burns out it could take


    Does anyone use a remote backup service? If so do you encrypt your
    stuff first? Cost?
    Tom, Jan 30, 2006
  19. Or 200 years. Depending on who you believe.
    Somewhere around there, yes.
    No, that's less good than hard drives in general.

    What you need to do is *monitor your archive*. We have not yet
    reached the position where a digital "archive" can be created once and
    left sitting around unattended with any reasonable expectation of

    I try to keep at least three copies of photos, in at least two
    different locations. When I burn multiple optical disks of photos, I
    try (with intermediate success) to use *different brands* of media for
    the two copies. And while good CDs or DVDs last a long time, you
    can't always reliably count on every single one lasting that long.

    (Personally, I've never had a single CD or DVD die as soon as 5 years).
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jan 30, 2006
  20. Then something really weird is going on. My oldes CD-Rs are over 10
    years old, and I haven't had a single one go bad on me yet.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jan 30, 2006
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