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USB Thumb/Flash Drives - Life expectancy or reliability vs. CDs

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USB Thumb/Flash Drives - Life expectancy or reliability vs. CDs

Old 11-12-04, 08:15 PM
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USB Thumb/Flash Drives - Life expectancy or reliability vs. CDs

Hi All,

If i were to store really important files - what is more reliable? a USB key or a burnt CDR?

I remember Zip drives and Floppy's had a 5 year or so life since they were magnetic. I know CDR's will last longer than that. What about USB flash drives?

Thanks
Old 11-13-04, 12:59 AM
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Re: USB Thumb/Flash Drives - Life expectancy or reliability vs. CDs

Originally posted by MitzEclipse
I know CDR's will last longer than that.
I don't know about that. A tech magazine in Europe has been doing a CD-R longevity test and found that in some samples data was becoming corrupt after three years, depending on manufacturer and storage conditions.
Old 11-13-04, 02:09 AM
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I think CDs would last much longer than flash drives, considering the obvious technical differences between them. I feel that flash drives are really more of a temp back-up storage drive.
Old 11-13-04, 12:09 PM
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Call For Help here in Canada just did a segment about how much damage a flash drive could take. They all performed remarkeably well.
Old 11-13-04, 09:04 PM
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save those files on Gmail!
Old 11-14-04, 10:13 AM
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All I know is that I've washed (not on purpose) my Lexar 128MB Flash Drive in the washing machine three different times and it still works and has the original info on it.

It would still be a good idea to back up to various media if it's that important.

Sonic
Old 11-15-04, 02:54 AM
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Originally posted by jasonr114
save those files on Gmail!
I would, but it's sensitive data i don't want on the internet at all... i use yahoo briefcase for all my non sensitive stuff
Old 11-15-04, 05:15 AM
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Encrypt it with the free version of PGP and then store it on GMail or Yahoo..
Old 11-15-04, 07:55 AM
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Re: USB Thumb/Flash Drives - Life expectancy or reliability vs. CDs

Originally posted by MitzEclipse
Hi All,

If i were to store really important files - what is more reliable? a USB key or a burnt CDR?

I remember Zip drives and Floppy's had a 5 year or so life since they were magnetic. I know CDR's will last longer than that. What about USB flash drives?

Thanks
I don't have the data anymore, but we looked at the underlying memory technology years ago for use in electronic car odometers. We concluded they were good for decades (we weren't interested in centuries), and for the number of write cycles we would use (every mile or so).

With very large numbers of writes, the retention time does gradually deteriorate. Retention is very long at room temperatures, deteriorates somewhat at higher temperatures -- you don't need to refrigerate it, just don't put it in the oven. Also radiation (xrays, beta particles) can erase the memory and may also damage the device.

I haven't had CDs self distruct, although I've read about it. I keep mine in benign storage conditions, however, and use well known brands (with outsourcing, it is not clear whether that really guarentees much anymore.)

I certainly recommend two or more copies, ideally on different kinds of media.

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