You have family photos and videos, stored in ssd or hard drives; Even if you put them in the drawer and don't work on them at all, they will die at some point. Do you know how long they last and what to do to avoid losing 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 rot or data degradation. And this applies to ssd but also to simple hard drives.
Hard disks and ssd do not last forever
Take a hard drive and an 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.
Hardware storage drives malfunction not only because they can experience hardware failures (hardware). Whether we're talking about ssds or old-fashioned mechanical hard drives, these drives have a limited ability to retain data, even when they're not working. No, this doesn't mean you should start keeping your computer on all night because you're afraid you'll lose your photos. Storing your full discs in a cupboard for decades isn't the best idea either.
Of course you can not even start writing the 1 and 0 bits on a stone. And if all of a sudden they all decided to print all their files on paper, the trees would 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 drives use magnetism to store bits (all those ones and zeroes) in groups. These bits can, over time, become flipped or demagnetized, which can lead to data corruption if enough happens. To compensate for this, hard drives have error correcting code (ECC) that looks for bits that have gone wrong. If they find any, o tough disk fixes it if possible.
Ssd drives do not have removable components and magnetism, as on hard drives. They use a different method for storing bits. These disks use an insulating layer to trap charged electrons inside 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 ssd units, on the other hand, 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. Ssd has been reported to lose their data within a few years when they are in the same state. In fact, there are reports that if data on an ssd is stored in an unusually hot location, it can be corrupted 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 have completed their read / write cycles. They can also lose data in the usual ways, such as by someone malicious software, χαλασμένο firmware, contact with water or any other random problem that has nothing to do with their normal end of life.
How to protect your data from Bit Rot
So what does a householder do, simple user computer to save its data and protect it from storage failure? The answer is pretty much what computer professionals do.
You can also set a limit on how long you will you are using an active hard disk or an ssd. In the past, ssd were not considered as reliable hard drives when in active use, but this is no longer widely believed. Most users expect an ssd to last as long as an average hard drive.
A good rule of thumb is to keep a storage unit no longer than about five years. This is just an estimate, because some users keep their discs much longer than this. They basically keep them waiting until they are destroyed. If you do this, you'd better have a solid strategy creationbackups.
First, let's talk about archiving disks. If you keep data on a regular hard drive or ssd, in a closet or in a safe, it is a good idea to enable it and let it run on a schedule. This keeps them in good condition and reduces the chance of bit rot 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 should also "refresh" the data, rewrite it or use a third-party tool, such as DiskFresh. Ssd drives are a bit simpler because they only need to hold their memory. You can turn them on for a few minutes about twice a year.
Another choice is to consider the case of archival storage media such as disks Verbatim M-Disc Blu-ray, which are supposed to keep their data for 1.000 years. (We assume, however, that you probably won't be alive to verify the company's claims, but neither will you be able to ask compensation αν κάτι δεν πάει καλά). Έρχονται σε διαφορετικές χωρητικότητες των 25 GB, 50 GB, και 100 GB ανά δίσκο. Οι ταχύτητες εγγραφής τους είναι πιο αργές και από χελώνα, και έτσι θα πρέπει να είστε προετοιμασμένοι για μια μακρά αρχειακή διαδικασία.
Whichever file option you choose, keep multiple copies of your data, in different locations and media, to make sure you don't 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. The windows 10 have a built-in feature called “Backup” that will automatically create backups for 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 great idea.
The easiest solution is to use a cloud backup service. 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.