USB Data Safety

Hi fellas... I have a, I hope, rather simple question for you. If I want to use a USB pen (flash-drive) for storage of backups, how "well" can I rely on it? Is it better or worse than say a Regular Harddrive? Better or worse than a CD or DVD? Thanks in advance
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  1. xcheetah said:
    Hi fellas... I have a, I hope, rather simple question for you. If I want to use a USB pen (flash-drive) for storage of backups, how "well" can I rely on it? Is it better or worse than say a Regular Harddrive? Better or worse than a CD or DVD? Thanks in advance

    You'd be much better off with a 2nd internal hdd or an external hdd for back up. Flash drives have limited capacity, easy to loose or have stolen. With CDs/DVDs you have storage issues and also limited capacity. You'd be best off putting together your own external drive. Cases are about $30 or $35 and you can buy what ever size hdd you need/can afford. Best bet would be a case with internal SATA connection for the hdd and an eSATA and USB external connections. eSATA is the fastest connection and the USB means you could attach it to any computer.
  2. I have washed and dried a flash drive repeatedly (each time it's been an accident) and it worked just fine... right up until the moment I lost it. If you're concerned with mechanical reliability, a flash drive has it going on... no moving parts means it'll last almost forever (eventually it will die because it can't be written to infinitely) However, like my personal experience and the previous poster's suggest, they are certainly easy to lose.

    If you're really wanting to get serious about backups consider some sort of tape that you can store in a bank safety deposit box. A RAID setup really won't do a whole lot of good if your computer (or the room it's in) burns.

    Generally speaking you're best off using a combination of backups... perhaps a cheap RAID setup (RAID 1 comes to mind) along with some form of external backup (perhaps a flash drive if it has adequate capacity)
  3. I do not have to carry my USB drive with me very often. I actually just want a disk image stored onto the USB drive for later re-installations. Sounds like a Flash-drive actually is more safe, than an internal hdd.

    #2 I'm not worried about the limited data capacity since I just need around 3GB :)

    Thanks alot for your inputs guys. Much appreciated.
  4. If you just intend to do it rarely then OK, otherwise remember the rule about flash drives, they write slow but read fast. sticking three gig on one will take time and a 4 gig stick is only about $10 cheaper than a 80 gig internal that could have sequenced backups of the registry etc.

    a WD 80Gig Caviar is $42 U.S. at Newegg while a Sandisk 4Gig flash is $37 U.S. If you are set on removables a 320 Gig Seagate Freeagent is only $75 this week. I have placed around a dozen in sizes from 320 to 750 since they have been available and recommend them highly. They also have that cool yellow pulsating strip when they are working right out of a sci fi movie. I also have twin 500 Gig at home for backups.

  5. Personally, a backup of all the important files is more important than the OS and application (e.g. photos, videos and music tracks are invaluable)
    A backup of them all definitely require an external harddrive.
    I plug off my external hard drive every time after use, to lengthen its lifespan.
  6. I have seen several flash drives go bad.
    They show as unrecognizable file system in Disk Management. I wouldn't bank too much on their longevity.
  7. According to this .pdf file, when you format the drive, it checks for defective cells and they claim an error rating of less than 1 bit in 1,000,000,000,000,000 bits read (1 bit per 1015 bits read) and usually lock out bad cells and has automatic bad sector remapping.
  8. I've had problems with file corruption on thumb drives with little hard disks inside (Kaser Jumbo 4GB). I've had two external hard disks dying, one of them almost new. I've also broken a flash drive, but that was my fault because I dropped it on the street. My current strategy is to copy the important things to a second internal hard disk at the end of the day, and also on the flash drive. Whenever I reach 4 GB I write a DVD+R. The only thing that can really mess this up is a smart virus, I guess, but not hardware failures. Even the virus can only damage the current files, not what's already on DVD+R, of course.
  9. I would highly recommend the SanDisk Cruzer Titanium Plus:

    When you copy files to the drive, they get automatically backed up to a password protected online account. It means that if you lose your drive, there will always be a backup of your files available from any computer with an internet connection. Just logon to your account and get your backed up files.
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