I'm a player... ;P I play and collect computer games. I've got loads of them stored on my PC (those I bought through sites like Direct2Drive) and on DVDs. I'm starting to worry that all that data will eventually become unreadable. I've already lost a few old titles I recorded on a poor quality CDs. Knowing that nothing is eternal I'd like to find a reliable and long-lasting storage method for my data. Could you suggest what I should use? Should I spend fortune for super quality DVDs that have 100 years life guarantee or should I invest into a big external hard drive. The first cost a lot and the second puts ALL the software in danger in case of a "bad sector"... Or perhaps there is a third option?
The cloud is risky too because you're relying on companies to stay in business and protect your data, and the license agreements provide no guarantee of either. If you do it yourself then you have complete control of the risks.
The only secure long-term storage option is to have multiple copies of your data and CHECK them from time to time so that if one copy dies you can get it from the another copy before IT dies too. Two copies is good, three copies is great, and storing one copy offsite is excellent.
It doesn't matter all that much HOW you store your data (even if you store it in the cloud) as long as you do that. But the requirement that you CHECK the data means that DVDs are very cumbersome to use because of all the handling.
If you do decide to use DVDs, you really should scan them for raw error rates to make sure the burns are good. DVDs can degrade quickly if they're poorly burned.