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  • Flash drive question....

    I was told to use a flash drive for backup. Another person said flash drive went bad and questions whether it's as reliable as cd's. Any opinions on either?

  • #2
    have never used a flash drive on any of my machines. I got one in my camera and managed to write to and read off with no problems. I'd have to buy one and try to upload something to see if data can be transferred.


    • #3
      I use a flash drive almost exclusively for back up of files and photo storage and have never had a problem. I buy flash drives like butter nowadays, they are cheap enough and now big enough.
      I've traveled a lot through airport x ray machines domestic and international with them and never had a problem (Urban Myth says x ray machines wipe flash drives), I'm yet to hear any of my traveling friends complain about it and if that was the case then every digital camera with storage would get wiped as well, same concept just a flat disc
      Little about a lot and a lot about a little.
      Every day is a learning day.


      • #4
        Flash drives...

        Thanks, Pushkins.


        • #5
          Flash Drives are great, small enough to throw in a fireproof safe, yet big enough to backup a big chunk of you computer.


          • #6
            Hello! I agree with mikeylikesit5805.


            • #7
              I like them too. I have carried a 2 gig stick in my pocket for years. I guess they are up to 64 gig now and counting.

              I have a computer store next door to my shop. The owner tells me his have been washed in the washer two times and still working fine. I guess that says a lot about flash drives.


              • #8
                In my humble opinion, a flash drive is not as good for a permanent backup as a single-write optical disc. Flash drives suffer from two problems- first that they are read/write by definition so problems in the process of trying to recover files could lead to data loss, and second, flash drives are somewhat fragile when used frequently, and generally aren't repairable. I've had two flash drives die when the connectors got bent relative to the circuit board inside, and one of them lost its connector entirely.

                Decent quality blank CDs, DVDs, or Blu-Ray discs are available in write-once types, which eliminate the problem of accidentally overwriting or deleting their contents, and one can get a small spool of them (at least for the first two) for the same price as a moderately-sized USB flash drive. This has the virtue of giving you as many backups as the times you make backups, since you're creating a new volume rather than amending or overwriting an existing one. This means that if you do lose, damage, or corrupt a backup on optical media, you may be able to go to an older backup to recover your files. If you use flash media you're probably not making multiple copies to multiple flash disks, so if your one disk fails then you're S.O.L.

                A flash drive is a great medium for copying files or bringing "in-process" things with you, but I wouldn't call them an ideal backup solution.


                • #9
                  Flash drives...

                  Good points to consider, TWX. Never thought of it that way....


                  • #10
                    I backup to CDs sometimes. But I mainly do my backups to two hard drives for personal uses. On a network server, you have to backup your backups multiples times to be safe.


                    • #11
                      On a network server, I follow a different kind of backup, but I'm using software designed for it...

                      I have three major types of tapes. First tape is the Monthly tape. This tape is recorded to once, usually on the Saturday night on or after the First of the month. After it's written to it's taken off site for secure storage. It contains everything on the system.

                      Second kind of tape is a Weekly tape. The Weekly tape contains everything on the system at the time it's made. For this tape, I'll rotate through a series of four or five tapes over as many weeks and replace them with new tapes after a period of some months, after the tapes have had a significant but safe number of reuses. After they're taken out of service they're archived for a time, and eventually destroyed and discarded when they're old enough. The Weekly tapes for other-than-this-week are kept on site but in a different building or in another suitable place away from the computer room, while the Weekly for the current week is kept in my workspace or near the computer room.

                      Third kind of tape is the Daily tape. The Daily contains changes made since the previous Weekly, or else changes made that day, depending on the software. Some software allows a tape to hold several archive sets, so one tape can be used for the five nights (Sunday night through Thursday night) with five segments. The Daily tape is coupled to the Weekly tape for a given week, so when I change Weekly tapes I put in the corresponding Daily. Like the Weekly tape, the Daily is eventually archived and destroyed. Also like the Weekly, the Daily tapes for other weeks are kept with the Weeklys for those other weeks, while the current Daily stays in the tape drive from when it's put in to when it's taken out for the next Weekly.

                      Remember, most data loss is from user error or intention, rather than from hardware failure. This system is designed to mitigate failure in both ways. If a user deletes a file and calls the IT department within the week that the deletion occurred, the Daily tape can be recalled to recover the file. If the Daily doesn't have the file, the Weekly will probably have it. If the Weekly doesn't, a previous Weekly or previous Daily corresponding to an earlier week should. Barring that, the Monthly should have it. Obviously if a user deleted a file before it was backed up nothing can be done.

                      As for data loss due to some traumatic event, like a fire, flood, vandalism, or something else like that, if the computer itself is destroyed then it's likely that the area right around the computer is also destroyed. The Weekly stored in the on-site-but-different-area might be recoverable. If that's not, the Monthly stored off-site like in a bank vault should be recoverable, and if for some reason there's data loss on any given tape (though tape failure is thankfully uncommon) then the previous set can be consulted. It's also a good idea to have installation software and a physical drive for these tapes stored with the off-site archive too, so that one can ensure the ability to read the tapes if the original drive is destroyed.

                      Using the Monthly/Weekly/Daily method has the advantage that it doesn't require a whole lot of tapes (12 monthlies a year, Six weeklies a year, Six Dailies a year), so 24 tapes is a fairly small number to ensure 365 days worth of recoverable data. If you're confident in the quality of your tapes, you can even lessen the number to four Weekly and four Daily tapes, brining the number down to twenty. You also minimize the number of tape changes required to two or three a week depending on the week, as opposed to changing them every day. Yes, the Computer Operator has to change them on a weekend, but if you're salaried, then popping in for ten minutes to be the company's savior when things go to Hell is a fairly easy task even on a weekend.


                      • #12
                        I'm going to throw in a seconding of TWX's statements on backup of disc versus flash drive. Personally, I use flash drives for quick, on-the-go transferral of files, and discs are for things that I need to keep in long-term storage.

                        If you're accessing (not rewriting) the data on a regular basis, but it's important, then doing it in both mediums at the same time is ideal. The reason I say this is so that you have a hardcopy that is safe and rarely used (the disc), but you can still pop a flash drive in as often as necessary to access whatever you need. I've done this with some files, in multiple redundant backups across three sets of discs and two sets of flash drives.

                        Hope this two cents helps!


                        • #13
                          Flash drives are the best way to go for all storage. More portable, holds more, works faster than burner, and can write more times than CDs.

                          CDs still have the advantage of working with any type of cd drive of any era. Flash drives won't work with older OS. No one uses old OS anymore but it is a downside none the less.

                          All-in-all flash drives are better for backups. Store them the same way you would store CDs if you must.


                          • #14
                            CD's are a good backup device, but won't last forever. I've heard differering views on their longevity, but would hate to need one just after it's shelf life went kaput.

                            I backup my business data every day. It gets put on the server at work. Then Saturday, we put the weeks work on a flash drive which I take home and put on another computer for further back up. Now I have it on the server, the flash drive for a week and on an off premise computer. I feel pretty safe that way and it has saved me several times.


                            • #15
                              flashdrives are great. Just keep them away from magnets. I even back up my main flashdrive in case I lose it.