Have family photos and videos stored inside ssd or on hard drives? Even if you put them in the drawer and do not work on them at all, they will die at some point. Do you know how long they last and what to do to not lose your personal data?
Storing material on a computer is both a blessing and a curse. You can save terabyte from photos, documents and other personal data. But this data is more precarious than you think, thanks to a phenomenon known as bit red or data degradation. And this applies to them ssd but also for simple hard drives.
Hard drives and ssd they do not last forever
Get a hard drive and one ssd and bury them along with a book in a time capsule for 100 years. As in movie "Dark Code" with Nicolas Cage. You can bet from now on that when you dig the capsule the book will be legible, but the storage units? …. Good luck.
Malfunctions in hardware storage units do not just happen because they can cause hardware failures. Or we are talking about ssd or for old-fashioned mechanical hard drives, these drives have limited storage capacity, even when not in use. No, that does not mean you have to keep your computer open all night because you are afraid of losing your photos. Not even storing your full records in a closet for decades is not the best idea.
Of course you can not even start writing the 1 and 0 bits on a stone. And if all of a sudden they decide to print all their files on paper, the trees will most likely run out. So what can you do to keep your data intact for both you and future generations?
How disks store data (and how they can lose it)
Hard disks use magnetism to store bits (all of these aces and zeros) in groups. These bits can, over time, be reversed or demagnetized, which can lead to data corruption if it occurs in sufficient quantity. To compensate for this, hard drives have an error correction code (ECC) that looks for tracks that have gone wrong. If they find one, the hard drive fixes it, if possible.
The drives ssd they do not have moving parts and magnetism, as in hard drives. They use a different method for storing bits. These disks use an insulating layer to trap charged electrons in tiny transistors to vary the bits between 1 and 0.
Of course there is a lot more technology behind this, but the above description provides a basic simplified idea of how the two types of storage hold your data.
Now let's see how they can lose them over time, as if they are rotting. With hard disks, as mentioned above, stored bits can reverse their magnetic polarity. If several of them are reversed without correction, this can lead to disaster.
The units ssd on the other hand, they lose their data when the insulating layer degrades and the charged electrons leak.
How long it takes to smell bad from rot depends on many factors. Hard disks have the ability to keep their data intact for decades, even if they have been erased. The ssd It has been reported that they lose their data within a few years when they are in the same situation. In fact, there are reports that if the data in one ssd stored in an unusually warm location, they can be destroyed even faster.
But activated, these discs are a different story. They usually work until they encounter typical problems, such as hardware failures or when the ssd complete their reading / writing cycles. They can also lose data in the usual ways, such as malware, corrupted firmware, water contact, or any other accidental problem that has nothing to do with the normal end of their life.
So what does a home, simple computer user do to store their data and protect it from storage failure? The answer is pretty much what computer professionals do.
First, pay attention to the health of the drives you are actively using. One way to do this is to check their condition constantly.
You can also set a limit on how long you will you are using an active hard disk or one ssd . The ssd In the past, it was not considered as reliable as hard drives when it was in active use, but this is no longer believed as widely as it once was. Most users expect one ssd to last as long as an average hard drive.
A good general rule of thumb is to keep a storage unit for no more than about five years. This is just an estimate, because some users hold their disks much longer than this. They basically keep them waiting until they are destroyed. If you do this, you should have a reliable backup strategy.
First, let's talk about archiving disks. If you keep data on a regular hard drive or on one ssd, in a closet or safe, it is a good idea to turn them on and let them run on a schedule. This keeps them in good shape and reduces the chance bit red or other problems.
For a hard drive, you can probably power it at least once a year or once every two years to prevent the mechanical parts from sticking. You will also need to "refresh" the data, rewrite it or use a third-party tool, such as DiskFresh. The units ssd are a little simpler, because they only need to keep their memory. You can turn them on for a few minutes about twice a year.
Another option is to look at the case of archival storage media, such as disks Verbatim M-Disc Blu-ray, who are supposed to keep their data for 1.000 years. (We assume, however, that you will probably not be alive to verify what the company is saying, but also not to seek compensation if something goes wrong). They come in different capacities of 25 GB, 50 GB, and 100 GB per disk. Their recording speeds are slower than a turtle's, so you should be prepared for a lengthy archiving process.
Whichever file option you choose, keep multiple copies of your data, in different locations and media, to make sure you do not lose your files.
Back up your files
Backup is something that many people do not think about, but nowadays it is easier than ever to make it. In general, the best backup strategy corresponds to three copies of your data. The first is what you use on your computer every day.
The second is a local copy that you keep on a backup drive, which can be an external hard drive or a NAS box. Windows 10 has a built-in feature called "Backup" that will automatically back up your computer (Settings> Update & Security> Backup). There are also many other third-party tools to back up. Alternatively, you can manually copy your personal files and folders on a daily or weekly basis.
So far you only have two copies of your data in the same place, for example in your home, and if there is a fire or flood in your home both disks will be destroyed at the same time. This is why an "offsite" backup, is a very good idea.
The easiest solution is to use a service backup cloud. If you are concerned about privacy, you can encrypt your backups before uploading them to the cloud to prevent a service provider or third party from viewing your data. Be careful because if you lose the encryption code, you also lose the backups.
Three copies of your data stored in different media and geographical locations should be enough to prevent the loss of your data. We do not go to the fourth because in the end you will call us schizophrenics.