General discussion

Converting 520 CD and 272 DVDs to external storage

Over the last 5 years I have scanned and save to cds and dvd some 4000 pictures. 2000 are my mothers (still living at 99) and cover 80 years of her life. I think it would be prudent to convert these to external drives and set them on the shelf as well. I have 520 CD and 272 DVD to convert. Looking for advice as to computer capibility and external storage to use. Such things as processor speed, type, memory, type Hd, and best brand name external storage devices. Thinking using two 500 Gig external. One for my pictures and one for my mothers pictures. Ecost has a Core i5 system with 8Gig ram and 1TB Sata HD which would seem to be a way to go considering trade off of cost and performance. External HD are not clear. Most of them reviewed seem to have some bad reviews among them. I figure this forum could help me out. Thanks Fighterpilot.

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I don't like this idea.

External drives are too unreliable. I'd rather see a duplicate set of media if it is important to keep the content. That is, sure, copy to hard drive but keep the old media for safety and backup.

Two hard drives is not backup. This is something I no longer write in detail. Why? It's IT lore and more.

As to the CPU, computer system it appears something is lost here. For the copy from CD/DVD to external I could use any 399 buck laptop to get it done. Why the killer machine?

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converting pic cd etc.

My thinking is the old cd/dvd have a limited shelf life and I can't afford the gold ones in the numbers I need. I would write the 800 disc to external drives and put the drives on the shelf as well. Keeping the old media as well.

As far as machine I figure I need about 1TB if I want to get them all in one place and than I can do some sorting and make some logical folders to arrange them. 7200 RPM Sata, 3G per second is available. Working with Tiff pictures, not Jpeg, I figured the more memory and the faster processor would be to my advantage. 8 gig of memory with Core i5 intel chip should help that. System is availble for about $600-650 dollar. Since one of my two computers just died, I was thinking of replacing with another one anyway. I have two laptops, one running vista and one with XP--I don't type worth a darn on lap tops--would have to hook a keyboard to it to use it.

It would be really labor intensive but I'm 77 years old, retired, with time on my hands. Thanks for the input. Would you care to recommend a brand name external that would give me the best chance of success? Fighterpilot

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The Cnet Storage Forum is a good indication that

External Hard Drive "life" may be far shorter than expected. DVD "life" appears to be decades.

I have a simple set of "work horse laptops." One's a Core 2 Duo with 4GB ram, the other is a nice i5 4GB ram machint. I can't write more than that amount of ram would pay off in speed.

I LIKE the 650 dollar price for an i5 8GB machine. Sounds great.

As to labor I find such work to be one of those things you do as you can. No one I know would do that full time.

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converting pictures etc

Thanks Bob for your input. If you were in my place what would you do? I guess I could get a cd/dvd copy machine and just make another set or two of my existing cd/dvds. In those machines can one copy CDs to DVDs. I could convert everything to new DVDS. That would be the least labor intensive. Fighterpilot

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Will share.

This weekend I have to duplicate about 25 CDs. I'll use CDBURNERXP and just do them as I walk past the office.

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Work ahead?

IMHO, you have a job ahead of you due to numbers of disks and the rather full or not takes some time to do. A faster PC would be nice, but it still depends on the disc drive and if you want to save to a HD, then do so. Just be aware as already stated to you, that TOO! can be a hazard as they last only so long. The whole idea being, copy and copy again to whatever source you want to save to and then safety store them. Quite frankly, using the gold discs is recommended for long storage and theses are considered the best archival storage. Next, you will want an extra disc drive and maybe make that an ext. or int. USB one just so you have it yrs. later to mount on a PC. All of this should be stored away from harm and humidity, etc. as best as possible. As for a fast PC, get what makes you happy, BUT it isn't that important as you may think. But, since you want one and it being the latest is a plus.

Check out this website and similar:

KEYWORDS: blank cds

tada -----Willy Happy

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Consider that access to those stored pictures

on any digital media will be restricted to not only the reasonable life of the media itself but the ability to find compatible hardware in the future. Think Daguerreotype. Those may be over 150 years old and some are still around but, had you archived them to 5 1/4 floppy disks 20 years ago you might have a difficult time viewing those images now.

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cd conversion

Steve and Willy, you both make good points. It is like a "catch 22". Some time back I knew gold was a good way to go but cost was an issue so I at least got one set for back up rather than do nothing. Now the question is should I do one more back up in some form or another. The external drives came to me as a way to do it, easy to store, don't take up much room and maybe have a chance of not being made useless by evolving technology. It is becoming clear that I should protect all of the hard copy pictures that are around. My mother at 99 is still living and she is reluctant to let us take the pictures out of the house. Guess we need to buy a big fireproof safe. I have my cd/dvds in a humidity controlled room in a fireproof safe, which covers her 2000 pictures and my 2000 pictures. I guess I inherited my mom's propensity to take pictures which cover the family, 30 years of military service, Vietnam, and all that followed until now. The digital camera makes picture taking so easy that the number on hand continues to grow. You all have made some very good points. Thanks for you advice. Fighterpilot.

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External Storage

You might consider the Seagate GoFlex 3TB external hard drive.
Not only is it reasonably priced ($200 at one online store) but I believe it has an adapter for USB 3.0, as well. If you get a 3.0 card for a desktop, or a new laptop with USB 3.0 capability, your transfers will go much more quickly!


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Most storage media has limited life

There are those who will dispute what I am going to say to you here, but I will be describing my personal observations, not opinion. I have some 6 and 10 GB harddrives from mid 90s that i am still using for photograph storage as well as some 40 and 60 GB harddrives that are probably over 10 years old that are still functioning and are used as external harddrives (with usb/ide adapters) for pictures as well as other file backup. Since mid 80s, I have experienced two harddrive failures (both of these were Western Digital Caviar drives). I have probably used close to 100 harddrives during this time period, having maintained as many as 8 computers at one time.

I have never used "professional" CDs or DVDs and cannot comment on the longevity of these media. I have used hundreds of consumer grade CDs and DVDs and have repeatedly seen them lose information in time spans less than 5 years. I date all my computer written CDs and re-record them every 3 years to preserve their integrity.

I just bought a 16GB SDHC card. Wouldn't that make a nice long term storage device if long term content integrity were a known factor? Several thousand photographs saved on a device you can hide under a 50 cent piece!

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cd conversion

John, and Dave, appreciate your input. I had thought about the USB 3 capability. Much faster transfer as I understand it. If I end up getting a new computer I would go for one with USB 3 capability, but If not the card addition would be a good idea.

The real world experience with CDs sort of confirms my suspicions. The SDHC card is a solution I hadn't thought of. As was noted long term integrity not yet know and will computers have that capability 20 years from now. Who knows. I am leaning towards the external HD type solution which is also some what of a gamble, but better than nothing.Don't know if the predominant failure mode is from continuous running or from none use. I tend to think sitting of the shelf would result in longer life as long as environment is controlled. Thanks for the additional information.

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a few more things.

Consider this as well. If you have several hundred disks and one fails, you'll still have several hundred minus one. If you have everything on one hard drive and it fails, well, you might lose everything. At the very least, the cost of professional data recovery would far exceed the cost of archival media.

Next, if you do go the hard drive route, you might want to consider a raid array so that if one drive fails, you can still recover the pictures. You could get an inexpensive hard drive dock that accepts two drives or even get an external array with four or more drives. Of course this gets expensive, too. in any case, don't forget to check your archived disks from time to time. If the data is important to you, you need multiple copies at multiple locations (gifts to family members make an excellent choice for this sort of thing).

Next, if everything will fit on a 1TB hard disk, then the DVDs and CDs are probably around half full. While time consuming, reorganizing the scans would cut the number of DVDs required in half.

Last, are you scanning photographs or negatives? Something doesn't quite add up. 1TB for 4000 photographs is ~250MB per scan. Depending on your original picture quality, this is something like five to fifty times larger than you need. I appreciate that you may want the best archival quality, but unless every photograph was taken with very, very special film on a very, very, very expensive camera, then you can keep the tiff format, but drop the scan resolution down by a factor of five or more, and you won't lose any of the original picture quality. You should be able to fit everything on somewhere between twenty and fifty DVDs. Does that make the golds sound a bit more affordable?

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But the bigger issue is "how long is long enough"

If ten years is all you need and a hard drive lasts ten years, you've got it made. If you want to archive for the next generations and think you can put that hard drive in a vault and pull it out 40 years from now, you'd better hope that technology hasn't passed you by and that you have easy access to something that will connect to that hard drive. My bet is that you won't. This probably goes for any digital storage media in use today. I wouldn't hand down a flash card to my kids thinking they could hand it to theirs and still retrieve pictures on it even if the device would still work if it had something to plug into. If your own eyes cannot "decode" the images, the archive plan isn't going to work.

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coverting cds

Thanks Porsche10x for a well thought out analysis. The number of pictures is a WAG, but probably close. Those that I scanned were with an old Microtek Scanmaker 4 and I used Tiff format. Great scanner, good resolution, and I still use it now and than. It had a tray for slides, negatives, and photos all of which I used. Very few negatives however. The pictures are from 2000k to 6000k give or take a few. After the digital cameras came in all my pictures have been uploaded to computer and put on cds. You are undooubtedly right about the cds/dvds not being full. I wasn't very particular when i was saving them to that medium and know many are not full. And I did send copies of my mothers to my brother and sister so there are some duplicates around, if they aren't already lost.

Not sure how I was going to to it. Sort of a work in progress. Guess i was thinking load all disc into a computer. Do some minimal organizing and than write it all to a hard drive. I thought about my mothers on one hard drive and mine on another. Guess It would be prudent to write each set again to HD. Thinking about the 500 gig externals.

But your well thought out analysis has me thinking maybe I can spend more time organizing and get a good storage number and use the gold DVDs. Probably have to get a new computer to get a good DVD burner and maybe a faster one with more memory would help speed up the process. I would not rework each picture to reduce resolution. Too time consuming. Even if the discs are only half full,the number of each medium is known, 272 DVDs, and 520 CDs so at half full that would be around 700 GBs. Given the assumption 1/2 full is that a good estimate for size? Am I figuring it right or have I lost track of some zeros. At $2.00 per disc could probably get by with about $300.00
plus dollars for DVD burner upgrade. The disc are rated at 16x burn, what is the limiter on that regarding the computer? Processor, DVD burner, memory, ???

2 500GB externals for $200 would be a lot less labor intensive but I agree would have a greater risk because you lose one you lose a lot, as you said.

I'm 77 years old, retired, so have some time but not sure if I am up to writing to 150 discs. I could go with duplicating the externals again easier than 150 more discs to duplicate the discs.

What would you do. Thanks. Fighterpilot (Vietnam era).

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I think writing data discs are fairly quick.

Organizing would take more thought, therefore more time. If your objective is just to archive (maybe 2 more copies). That shouldn't take too long. As for $2 per discs, where do you get them? I get mine for about 20-30 cents (60 cents for double layer).

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converting cd

I am talking Gold plated disc. I googled Gold DVDs and most of the sites had them in the $2.00 range. Would appreciate your source for .20-30 cent one. Thanks

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First time I have heard of this. I wonder if this has been proven (the longevity I mean).

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Silver is fine too.
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silver is fine

I clicked on the slashdot link and got to a short paragraph that indicates the PDF study is here. Clicked on that and got to the IT page but didn't know which of many links to go to next to find the story. Need a little help with next step. Thanks

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The study by NIST

Is out there. Google NIST CD DVD STUDY.

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NIST study

Thanks, found it. From the CD data it is obvious that silver and gold in the equation makes a big difference. It is unfortunate that the DVD study didn't have chemical make up of the disc because D2 disc was far more stable than the other two. I think it would be safe to assume that disc D2 was ever silver or gold plated based on the results of the CD S4 disc. Thanks for the information.

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Look again at the studies.

They subjected the media to accelerated aging, high humidity and heat. For most of us, the 10+ year lifespan is more than enough until the next storage media comes along.

Today I can pull out 10+ year old non-gold media that was stored out of high heat areas and not exposed to sunlight for days on end and they read fine.

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storage medium

Interesting observation. My CD have been stored in fireproof safe in air condition house. If I knew if rather they were written by CD/DVD- or CD/DVD+ technology I would be a little more confident in their status. One article i read indicates + technology is superior with less likehood of errors etc. Thanks

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Both + and - have CRC and more correction tech.

What I find to be more important is a newer DVDRW drive. A friend thought their old discs gone until I showed they worked in a new USB DVDRD drive.

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