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I have CD's and DVD's of vacations and old family photos that I want to copy and store. I can keep them in a safe box at the bank. Would a 16 gb flash drive be the best way?

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3 Answers

The best way is a hard disk drive, but if flash is good quality it can be too. However bad quality ones (china spares) can sometimes break after sometime of not using (correct me if I'm wrong, but my pen got broken after half year of not using staying in my room)

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First of all, it all depends on the size of the videos and photos. If you have a lot of them, 16 GB might not be enough.
A hard disk drive has better read/write speeds, but is also more prone to falling, seeing as it is bigger, and has moving parts, which makes it break easily. If you're buying a hard drive, consider one like this one. If it falls, it won't break that easily. Flash drives are more prone to breaking from nothing though, mostly the cheap ones. The best way to do back-ups is to have both an on-site back-up, like a hard-drive, and an off-site backup, like Amazon Web Services.

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I believe Flash drives tend to be pretty stable. I suppose I remain partial to dual layer DVDs as they are quite simple - though I believe some lower quality, or poorly burned ones can fail over time. Hard drives are nice, but they can fail pretty easily if dropped. Anything with an electrical circuit in it could be fried by an EMP (or an unprecedented solar weather event, which I believe to honestly be far more possible than we generally imagine). Flash media is supposed to be pretty solid against being dropped and the like, but I have heard of it failing. I think quality is part of the solution. Don't buy the cheapest junk you can for important data.

When it comes to something like family video, that's not replaceable, I strongly recommend mega-redundancy. I actually just use a mirrored raid at home for that kind of thing - though that CAN fail, particularly in the event of a major power surge. I think if you use the flash drive, burn to DVD AND backup to a hard drive, that should go a fair distance. Granted, if it's still stored in one place, then when a plane hits that building you're still SOL. I've actually considered backing up critical data in to encrypted volumes on DVDs and them hiding them in books that no one ever opens in various public libraries. But I've never ACTUALLY done that ;)

You may want ALSO to look at something cloud-based like Amazon S3. Of course, then you could lose the data as someone like lulzsec comes along, and so on..

To directly answer your question there is no "best way". It's a function of balancing costs, time and risk. If it's content you can replace (like a typical movie), then I think you can afford to risk losing it. If it's converted 8mm film taken by your grandfather, go way overboard.

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