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Do I need an external hard drive?

by foodfiend / September 29, 2007 10:43 AM PDT

My Dell desktop is 7 years old and and laptop is 5. I've been storing backup data on discs (I try to remember to do this every month, and I make 2 copies). I'm afraid of one of these machines suddenly "dying" and taking all of my records with it. But most of the info that I backup is retrievable from other sources (go ahead and laugh, but I still keep paper copies of my business files) so if I lost them it would be a lot of work, but I would be able to get everything back into a new computer system.

However, I bought a digital camera several months ago. I have been keeping all of the photos on discs, but I read that after a few years discs can become unstable and the photos may be lost. So should I get an external hard drive to store the photos on? So far, I've taken about 2,000 photos and these are taking up a lot of space on my laptop. How do I store them safely, and for an extended period?

And should I also be storing my business files on an external hard drive?

I was researching brands and several reviews mentioned that the user plugged in the external hd one day and it just didn't work. This happened with a few different brands and I'm wondering what happens in that case. Is the information remain retrievable (such as the thousands of photos) or would all be lost?

I apologize for sounding so "scattered". Although I am relatively comfortable with my computers and how they work, it has taken me years to be so. Any problems just put me into panic mode. I would appreciate any help that anyone can give me. Thanks!

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Might be better to write the data you can't afford to lose
by VAPCMD / September 29, 2007 12:23 PM PDT

to CDs or better DVDs.

If you don't have one could add on to the desktop or get a USB external DVD writer.

What are you backing up to now ?


External HDDs are not reliable for single source data storage. Having read the posts in storage ... that should be pretty obvious.

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I use CD-R discs
by foodfiend / September 29, 2007 1:02 PM PDT

to store photos, documents, etc. but I thought that an external hard drive would be a better solution.

"External HDDs are not reliable for single source data storage. Having read the posts in storage ... that should be pretty obvious."

Yes, that's why I posted here as I am now completely unsure how to keep my digital photos and documents "safe"!

Now, would using a DVD be a better option that a CD-R or an ext hard drive?

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DVDs would could make it easier to store data
by VAPCMD / September 29, 2007 4:23 PM PDT
In reply to: I use CD-R discs

because they hold more data per disc... 4.7GBs or 8.4GBs for dual layer DVDs.

Just keep in mind the issue for HDDs is susceptability to media damage, electronic component failure, mechanical failure, malware damage or even operator error. Whatever you have on an HDD that you don't want to lose should be backed up to something else ... the less susceptible the media is to damage or overwriting, the safer you are.


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I highly recommend an external hard drive : )
by Kahanareef / October 5, 2007 1:00 PM PDT

I highly recommend an external hard drive.

I have an internal hard drive that is hooked up to an external Case and I love it. It's 160 g and twice a month I just plug in the USB cable and back up every thing. I keep two copies and over write the earlier one each time so I always have the two latest back ups.

Great deals on ebay...

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by ludedude25 / October 6, 2007 6:16 AM PDT

External hard drives are ok but there not as good as a burnt cd or dvd.

A hard drive can fail more often than burnt media.

If your really worried about your data on disk's becoming unstable than your not storing it properly.

Keep backed up disks in their own jewel case, no stacking!, Dark covers help, Don't expose them to light for long periods of time, Low humidity, moisture, etc. Duplicate copies do exactly what you want, Double your chances of saving valuable files.

The only thing hard drive related I can think of for semi safe storage is RAID 0+1 which requires 4 hard drives spanned and mirrored.

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A big ol' THANKS...
by foodfiend / October 8, 2007 11:21 AM PDT everyone who answered. Judging from what I've read, I will choose to store all of the photos on DVDs, making three copies of each, following safe storage practices in three locations. And, because I have my grandmother's photo albums which contain decent-quality photos from as far back as the 1860's, I will also print what I consider "irreplaceable" photos and store them in archive-quality sleeves in albums. Happy

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