How reliable are USB flash drives for long-term storage?

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Dave, Dec 23, 2004.

  1. Dave

    Dave Guest

    not be
    assumed that a person has enough freedom just because he SAYS he has
    enough. Freedom is restricted in part by psychological control of
    which people are unconscious, and moreover many people's ideas of what
    constitutes freedom are governed more by social convention than by
    their real needs. For example, it's likely that many leftists of the
    oversocialized type would say that most people, including themselves
    are socialized too little rather than too much, yet the oversocialized
    leftist pays a heavy psychological price for his high level of
    socialization.

    SOME PRINCIPLES OF HISTORY



    99. Think of history as being the sum of two components: an erratic
    component that consists of unpredictable events that follow no
    discernible pattern, and a regular component that consists of
    long-term historical trends. Here we are concerned with the long-term
    trends.

    100. FIRST PRINCIPLE. If a SMALL change is made that affects a
    long-term historical trend, then the effect of that change will almost
    always be transitory - the trend will soon revert to its original
    state. (Example: A reform movement designed to clean up political
    corruption in a society rarely has more than a short-term effect;
    sooner or later the reformers relax and corruption creeps back in. The
    level of political corruption in a given society tends to re
     
    Dave, Dec 23, 2004
    #1
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  2. Dave

    A. J. Moss Guest

    My mum has ambitions to be a writer, but has no way at present to back
    up her work. Some months ago I suggested that she use a CDRW with InCD,
    but was told by the regulars of this group that this is not the most
    reliable way to back something up long-term: it is too easy for an open
    InCD session to be corrupted.

    How reliable would it be for my mum to back up all her work to a USB
    flash drive? Realistically, she's never going to fill more than 128Mb,
    and I've offered her a good name brand (Crucial-rebranded Samsung).
    Has 5 volt EEPROM memory got a good reputation for long term storage?

    (For instance, in comparison, 3.5 inch floppy disks are ideal for
    day-to-day storage, if a little small by modern standards, but they
    aren't so reliable for storing data for years and years.)
     
    A. J. Moss, Dec 23, 2004
    #2
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  3. Dave

    Jeff Gaines Guest

    Don't know about USB flash drives but only having one backup is asking
    for trouble, there will be hours/days/weeks/months? of work in that
    128MB.

    I back up to 3 external hard drives and to DVD RAM, it's not a book but
    downloaded s/w I have paid for and about twenty years of source for
    programs I have written. I am still at risk because I have no
    facilities for keeping any backups off site.

    She needs at least two backups and facilities to keep one off site -
    perhaps at a relation's house.
     
    Jeff Gaines, Dec 23, 2004
    #3
  4. Dave

    Tiny Tim Guest

    <snip>
    My ISP gives me 250MB of webspace and I back up my data to that using FTP
    over my broadband connection. The FTP software operates in "sync" mode so it
    only uploads changed files and doesn't take too long. The advantage is that
    my stuff is...

    (a) backed up;
    (b) off-site;
    (c) the back up is backed up by my ISP;
    (d) I can access my documents from anywhere in the world
     
    Tiny Tim, Dec 23, 2004
    #4
  5. Dave

    logized Guest

    Leftism is totalitarian force. Wherever leftism is in a position
    of power it tends to invade every private corner and force every
    thought into a leftist mold. In part this is because of the
    quasi-religious character of leftism; everything contrary to leftists
    beliefs represents Sin. More importantly, leftism is a totalitarian
    force because of the leftists' drive for power. The leftist seeks to
    satisfy his need for power through identification with a social
    movement and he tries to go through the power process by helping to
    pursue and attain the goals of the movement (see paragraph 83). But no
    matter how far the movement has gone in attaining its goals the
    leftist is never satisfied, because his activism is a surrogate
    activity (see paragraph 41). That is, the leftist's real motive is not
    to attain the ostensible goals of leftism; in reality he is motivated
    by the sense of power he gets from struggling for and then reaching a
    social goal.[35]

    Consequently the leftist is never satisfied with the goals he has
    already attained; his need for the power process leads him always to
    pursue some new goal. The leftist wants equal opportunities for
    minorities. When that is attained he insists on statistical equality
    of achievement by minorities. And as long as anyone harbors in some
    corner of his mind a negative attitude toward some minority, the
    leftist has to re-educated him. And ethnic minorities are not enough;
    no one can be allowed to have a negative attitude toward homosexuals,
    disabled people, fat people, old people, ugly people, and on and on
    and on. It's not enough that the public should be informed about the
    hazards of smoking; a warning has to be stamped on every package of
    cigarettes. Then cigarette advertising has to be restricted if not
    banned. The activists will never be satisfied until tobacco is
    outlawed, and after that it will be alco hot then junk food, etc.
    Activists have fought gr
     
    logized, Dec 23, 2004
    #5
  6. Dave

    logized Guest

    USB flash drives from some manufacturers claim about 10 years memory
    retention and at least 10,000 accesses so in theory it looks good.
    BUT they can be susceptible to data corruption if unplugged whilst in use,
    they are small, so easily lost, some are flimsy and easily broken.
    It is not a good idea to rely on a single device for the backup - eg. with
    CDR backups, there would be plenty of previous discs to revert back to if
    the last backup were lost or damaged or if a previously saved version of a
    file is needed for some reason.

    Dave
     
    logized, Dec 23, 2004
    #6
  7. Dave

    Dave Guest

    Multiple backups:

    Hard drive
    then daily to USB
    then say weekly to CDR (at under 20p each they are disposable these
    days)

    also check out gmail drive:

    http://www.viksoe.dk/code/gmail.htm

    1gig of online storage for free!! about as secure as you are going to
    get at that price.
     
    Dave, Dec 23, 2004
    #7
  8. Dave

    Tiny Tim Guest

    the goals, feels (through his identification with the movement or
    organization) as if he had gone through the power process. This
    phenomenon was exploited by the fascists, nazis and communists. Our
    society uses it, too, though less crudely. Example: Manuel Noriega was
    an irritant to the U.S. (goal: punish Noriega). The U.S. invaded
    Panama (effort) and punished Noriega (attainment of goal). The U.S.
    went through the power process and many Americans, because of their
    identification with the U.S., experienced the power process
    vicariously. Hence the widespread public approval of the Panama
    invasion; it gave people a sense of power. [15] We see the same
    phenomenon in armies, corporations, political parties, humanitarian
    organizations, religious or ideological movements. In particular,
    leftist movements tend to attract people who are seeking to satisfy
    their need for power. But for most people identification with a large
    organization or a mass movement does not fully satisfy the need for
    power.

    84. Another way in which people satisfy their need for the power
    process is through surrogate activities. As we explained in paragraphs
    38-40, a surrogate activity that is directed toward an artificial goal
    that the individual pursues for the sake of the "fulfillment" that he
    gets from pursuing the goal, not because he needs to attain the goal
    itself. For instance, there is no practical motive for building
    enormous muscles, hitting a little ball into a hole or acquiring a
    complete series of postage stamps. Yet many people in our society
    devote themselves with passion to bodybuilding, golf or stamp
    collecting. Some people are more "other-directed" than others, and
    therefore will more readily attack importance to a surrogate activity
    simply because the people around them treat it as important or because
     
    Tiny Tim, Dec 23, 2004
    #8
  9. Dave

    BlackShuck Guest

    A. J. Moss got up from the bar and shouted: :
    The company I work for did some stress testing on a Disgo USB device, we
    left it 24x7 writing and reading basck CRC checking the results, and it
    lasted as long as we could be bothered to keep an eye on it, which was
    about 3 weeks, in normal used, would be many many years. I also believe
    better brands have automatic bad "sector" management. It's a pretty
    robust method of storage, much better than magnetic (i.e. floppy) or
    optical (CDR). That said, regardles of what is used for storage, a good
    regular backup regime is essential. Perhaps once a month copy the
    contents of the flash onto CDR and store it at another location...
     
    BlackShuck, Dec 23, 2004
    #9
  10. Dave

    fred Guest

    Better than a floppy for sure.

    Better still if you copy it to your own comp every now & again.

    Btw, it's flash rather than eeprom, which is a different (and less resilient)
    technology.
     
    fred, Dec 23, 2004
    #10
  11. Text is tiny. Why not get her to email her drafts out to a couple of
    people for them to keep safe? Preferably one of them to someone who
    can drive a CD writer.

    Cheers - Jaimie
     
    Jaimie Vandenbergh, Dec 23, 2004
    #11
  12. Well, get someone to read it, and tell people it's good then!

    :)

    STM
     
    Semach.the.monkey, Dec 23, 2004
    #12
  13. Dave

    Oldish sod Guest

    USB memory sticks *should* be more reliable than
    floppy disks, but in my experience of supporting them,
    there's little in it. I can't put any stats to it yet, but the
    same peops whose floppies 'go bad' seem to have
    similar problems with CDs, flash drives, 'lost' emails..
    ;)
     
    Oldish sod, Dec 24, 2004
    #13
  14. Dave

    Stuffed Guest

    When I used to try to be creative, everything would go on hard drive,
    floppy, and if possible (this was the good old days) CDR. And *every*
    substantial edit or addition would also be printed off. Seemed daft at the
    time, till the fancy high tech things broke, then it was at least all there,
    even if it was a nightmare to type back in, and probably utter crap (was a
    hobby, kept me off the streets :)
     
    Stuffed, Dec 24, 2004
    #14
  15. Dave

    sethra Guest

    A. J. Moss wrote in
    [snip]

    The USB drive would be an acceptable day-to-day backup, but *only if*
    there is another backup, updated at least weekly. Why? Flash memory is
    generally robust, but the drives are tiny and are easily misplaced or
    lost, and while they generally stand up to a fair amount of abuse, they
    *can* be damaged.

    The 2nd backup could be a cdr (burn it and close the session, do NOT use
    packet writing), a 2nd hard drive in the machine, or another possibility
    is emailing copies (note the plural) to a couple different web email
    accounts -- they could act as an offsite backup and have the added bonus
    of accessibility regardless of location.

    I suppose the deciding factor is how important the writing is to her.
     
    sethra, Dec 24, 2004
    #15
  16. Dave

    dwacon Guest

    IME, thumb drives are easy to lose. I had one with a loop that hooked to a
    lanyard... but the loop broke. I eventually found it in the bottom of my
    briefcase, but it was a wake-up call that something that small is easy to
    misplace.
     
    dwacon, Dec 24, 2004
    #16
  17. One policy is to keep a backup on your person. I use both DAT tapes and
    a tiny (about 9 x 9 x 1.2cm) USB HDD of 40GB capacity, and keep at least
    one on me always. If I have my keys, I have the backup -- and I never
    leave without keys. A USB flash "pen" is even more portable.

    I did once rely on a USB pen for backup. Plugged it into a computer once
    (possibly one that had a problem), and found the flash RAM was wiped
    clean. I don't know how it happened, but avoid relying on flash devices.
    A similar experience put me off using a formatted CDRW to copy files
    onto for backup purposes.

    Best wishes,
     
    Michael Salem, Dec 24, 2004
    #17
  18. Dave

    Jeff Gaines Guest

    Yes, I really should, perhaps I'll treat myself in the sales :)
    Whoops! That was my concern with the OP's mother relying on only one
    backup.
    Happy hols :)
     
    Jeff Gaines, Dec 24, 2004
    #18
  19. Yes, all these are plus points. One the minus side, you can never be sure
    that your data are 100% confidential. Even if they have very high security,
    there will always be insiders to worry about. There will also be commercial
    pressures to browse you data for advertising purposes. It's no secret that
    this is done for Gmail.
     
    Johannes H Andersen, Dec 24, 2004
    #19
  20. Dave

    Auntie Em Guest

    Why doesn't she just print it out using acid-free paper and archival
    ink and tuck it away in a safety deposit box at some bank. It will
    outlast her, it will.

    Em
     
    Auntie Em, Dec 24, 2004
    #20
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