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Best Methods For Long Term File Storage ??

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Hi all.

Would like to ask for your thoughts on best methods for long term file storage, meaning, external hard drives or DVD/Blue Ray? Or something else?

I had always thought that external hard drives were best, at the very least because who knows when we'd need to convert those DVD or Blue Rays to a new technology.

Then I just read in another post that external hard drives corrupt files over time. Is this true? I had always thought that it was the process of dragging files and/or copy and pasting them over and over that impacted data bits and degraded the files.

What do you think is the best method for long term file storage?

As always, thanks to all of you for your input.

Much appreciated.

Hard drives suffer from bit-rot (as do some other forms of storage). It can occur in a couple of cases, such as improper storage, flooding, etc, or cosmic rays, or other similar high energy events.

There are a couple of ways to mitigate this. First, keep a copy on several different storage devices, preferably of different types. This helps mitigate one of them going bad. If it's all hard drives, get ones with serial numbers which aren't right near each other, which can help mitigate if a particular lot of hard drives has issues (it happens, manufacturing isn't perfect).

Further, you can use a filesystem or storage mechanisms which provide a high level of error correction and detection. You can use something like Par2/Parchive which provides parity and checksuming which can detect, and often correct for bit-rot errors.

A good archiving solution will including multiple storage media, and proper storage of that media. In general, a high quality tape backup with proper storage tends to be the best, very long term archival mechanism and is still very popular and widely used in various enterprise backup/archive solutions.

thanks very much

I simply archive all my files onto DVDs. If there are important files that I worry about, I make sure to archive them onto several copies for redundancy (I do this over a period of time) so as to avoid possible disc errors. All discs are then catalogued (with a cataloguing app for quick search and retrieval at a later time), then stored onto large 200+ disc binders and placed in metal file drawers. Simple as that. No issues thus far. And yes. I archive an extra copy of select important files onto Lacie 1+ TB external hard drives.

I keep two copies on separate external hard drives.


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