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Old 01-15-2009, 10:03 PM
 
Location: Deep in the heart of Texas
1,917 posts, read 6,502,809 times
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I overheard this guy say that his IT son told him not to rely on a thumb drive as a permanent back up. He was told that they will erase after some time and to always copy to a disc. Is this true? I have my business files on a thumb drive.
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Northern Maine
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Yes, but you won't have to worry about files just dissapearing for a VERY long time. If you have a good thumb drive, the data retention on those things can reach up to 10 years, even more! Those things can literally last through two computer upgrades.

I have a flashcard (SD) I got for my camera in 2004. I replaced it with a new one, but it's STILL being used to store stuff, and it works PERFECTLY.
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:56 PM
 
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Flash drives do have a limited number of write cycles so they can be run into the ground. Better drives have wear leveling to maximize their lifespan though.

The bigger point is that you never want to trust any single medium with your data. In my years working with computers I've seen everything fail. It doesn't matter if its a floppy, a Zip disk, a hard drive, a CD or DVD, or flash. They'll all die. That's the point of backing up. Keep your data on your hard drive and back it up to something. It doesn't matter if you back up to a flash drive or a CD as long as you have more than one copy of your data. A flash drive is an acceptable way to backup relatively small amounts of data but I'd never keep my only copy of something on one.

Contrary to some opinions, I don't feel flash drives are particularly robust. Of the 6 flash drives I currently own, 5 are warranty replacements. There's one more I just chucked when it died. These are all different brands too.
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Old 01-16-2009, 12:55 AM
 
Location: Tyler, TX
15,210 posts, read 18,490,880 times
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I use them for transporting data, and for "casual" (not mission critical) backups. For regular backups of my desktop, I use Carbonite. My linux machine is backed up using a whole-disk backup system that creates DVD images that get backed up to the desktop (and subsequently sent to Carbonite for off-site storage).

Your best protection is a multiple level backup system - use the thumb drive for daily differential backups, but do complete weekly or monthly backups using another medium that's kept off-site.

I can't recommend Carbonite enough for this. At $50 per year for unlimited backup/storage, it's by far the best deal going and it's a true "set it and forget it" solution. Less than 14 cents per day buys you complete peace of mind without ever having to change a tape, disk or thumb drive.

[Note: My only connection to Carbonite is being a very satisfied customer.]
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:41 AM
 
10,753 posts, read 18,005,309 times
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I always tell my clients that if the data is important enough to back it up, do it right. Having your only backup on media that can be accidentally erased is a bad idea. Have 2 backups if possible, one preferably on CD or DVD.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:29 AM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,717 posts, read 11,305,024 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeCalifornia View Post
Flash drives do have a limited number of write cycles so they can be run into the ground. Better drives have wear leveling to maximize their lifespan though.

The bigger point is that you never want to trust any single medium with your data. In my years working with computers I've seen everything fail. It doesn't matter if its a floppy, a Zip disk, a hard drive, a CD or DVD, or flash. They'll all die. That's the point of backing up. Keep your data on your hard drive and back it up to something. It doesn't matter if you back up to a flash drive or a CD as long as you have more than one copy of your data. A flash drive is an acceptable way to backup relatively small amounts of data but I'd never keep my only copy of something on one.

Contrary to some opinions, I don't feel flash drives are particularly robust. Of the 6 flash drives I currently own, 5 are warranty replacements. There's one more I just chucked when it died. These are all different brands too.
Escape's post seems to say it well. Flash drives do fail. Not much, but it DOES happen. I've had (probably) a dozen flash drive and have had two of them suddenly just quit working.

Hard drives fail, CD's fail, computers break down, tapes break, etc., etc. What I try to get people to understand is to duplicate their data, then refuse to believe that they have a good copy until it is verified by reading it on another machine, then make another copy anyway, and finally make another copy using another method.

For example, burn a CD with your pictures on it, take it to another computer and make sure you can read it, then burn another one and store it somewhere else, then make a copy in your flash drive so you always have your pictures with you. If anything fails, you can still have your pictures.
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:21 PM
 
28,617 posts, read 40,594,929 times
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I, too am a lover of redundancy. I am a bit lazy about following my own advice, but I do okay.

I have a web site, and as a result, I have plenty of spare disk space. I use an FTP program to upload/download my data. The nice thing is they backup their data so I automatically have a backup of my backup.

I have had numerous flash drives and had one fail. Luckily I don't carry sensitive bcak up data on them so I just replaced (OCZ and they were great. Full replacement under warranty, and done quickly) it.

A lot is on CD/DVD. Pictures and scanned documents mostly.

If I lose a drive, I can reload the OS, install all programs, and download my data in about 4 hours. I've only had to do it once. Once was enough...

I agree that Carbonite is a great back up solution. Clients love it because it's invisible to them.
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:26 PM
 
10,753 posts, read 18,005,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tek_Freek View Post
I, too am a lover of redundancy. I am a bit lazy about following my own advice, but I do okay.
LOL, I have to say the same about myself, I'm constantly pounding backup into my clients head, but I'm not as diligent as I should be, and I run on a striped RAID set, if that ain't asking for trouble what is
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Tyler, TX
15,210 posts, read 18,490,880 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHDave View Post
LOL, I have to say the same about myself, I'm constantly pounding backup into my clients head, but I'm not as diligent as I should be
What's the saying? "The cobbler's son goes without shoes" or something like that?
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Old 01-16-2009, 03:36 PM
 
11,715 posts, read 36,336,945 times
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I too have multiple backups of my data in different forms but one type of backup that's extremely useful is an image backup. My C drive is for Windows and applications. My data lives on the D drive which is a mirror set. I have a 4th internal drive called "Y" that receives a nightly image of C along with updates of critical folders from D. The advantage of an image backup is that should your drive fail, it is super easy and fast to get back exactly where you were as of the last image. Without an image, you have to reload windows, drivers, apps, and re-tweak everything back to your liking. An image solves that. BUT, I would never trust an image a my only form of backup. What if the image get corrupted? What if the drive containing the image develops the bad sector and the entire file is unreadable? etc, etc. So I still do file level backups but the image is a great time saver. I really saved my butt a couple of months ago when my C drive crapped out.
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