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Addition to Bonding's Backup Thread

Hi, I just wanted to add some information to that thread as I felt it really didn't go enough in depth about making backups to ensure that your information will be there for you long term.

First off, I'd like to say that backing up information is the responsibility of the owner and not solely on the medium or the method of storage. Too many people blindingly put too much faith into the things we store our important information on. Unfortunately that is a fault that a lot of us realize when it's much too late and the information is no longer viable.

With just some simple methods and good practices, which don't take much longer by the way, we can go back to our backups years down the line and not have to worry on it's viability.

For the average consumer, most of us rely on using medium such as CDs, DVDs, and hard drives to backup our important data to. They say that through studies, CD & DVD media is supposed to remain viable for about 10 years or so. But unfortunately through huge bulk processing, quality control is no longer a great concern as it would simply be too time consuming and too costly in order to do so. Even highly touted brands eventually fail and sometimes without notice. There have been many cases where CDs & DVDs have failed only a year or two into it's supposed 10 year stated lifespan.

As for hard drives, this is a medium that is pretty reliable, considering that you keep it in a anti-static environment, from vibrations and the elements. Large size hard drives are so cheap nowadays and will only continue to get cheaper and cheaper as the technology advances. So this method for storing data is not all that bad, considering that you follow the storage guidelines as listed above.

But no matter what type of data storage you choose there are a couple of simple things you can do to be able to retrieve that information after long term storage. As the saying goes, "You never know" that holds true with just about everything in life, holds true to data storage.

Before storing your data, using a program called Quickpar to make a small little PAR file can be a huge life saver in the event of corrupt data. It is used in conjunction when archiving your file using a program such as WinRar. Just a quick mention, that both of these files are freely available from the companies directly at their websites. A quick Google search is all that is needed to find them. So what does QuickPar and Par files do? Basically when you use QuickPar, it creates a parity volume of the file that you have archived. So in the event that your data gets corrupted, you can use that parity volume file to help fix the damaged file. The PAR file maps out the archived file and creates sort of a note on the side so you can always refer to it when something happens.

Also either re-burning your information or transferring your information to new medium every couple of years is very good practice. Technology is always rapidly evolving so you want to make sure that you will always be able to retrieve that data later on down the line. You don't want to be be stuck with old medium that you'll have a hard time trying to find a reader or a compatible connection. This will also help ensure that your data is refreshed and has less chance of becoming like stale old bread.

Lastly, check your archived data about every six months or so to make sure it is still okay. Checking one bi-annually really isn't a pain if the data stored is valuable in one way or another. Of course we normally don't store data that isn't important to us in one way or another. People today would store things like priceless family photos and videos, maybe tax information, priceless family heirloom recipes, etc. Small businesses may store things like accounting information, important data files, etc. There are many reasons why people may store data long term. But there should be no reason why they don't take simple little steps like the ones listed above to ensure the longevity of that data long into the future.

I hope that this little guide will help us to rethink the way we store our information and what we can expect from it, now and well into tomorrow.
Suggestions forum - sorry, I don't see how this is a suggestion at all.

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