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I've seen considerable discussion of the longevity of solid state drives under conditions of use, but little about how long one will last if unplugged and left in the closet.

I'm addressing good quality flash drives, not cheap USB sticks, and assuming decent storage conditions.

It seems that over time they'd leak electrical charge and develop errors. How long is it likely to take before this becomes a problem?

I've found some variations on "I don't know" here: What lasts longer: Data stored on non-volatile flash RAM, optical media, or magnetic disk?

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My suspicion is that you won't find much in the way of hard data. There's a lot of variation based on the process used to make the components, in addition to variation due to environmental factors (eg, stored in your dresser next to Grandpa's radium watch). I personally (as an EE with experience designing integrated circuits) wouldn't trust them for more than about 2 years. –  Daniel R Hicks Dec 13 '12 at 21:07
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2 Answers

I've read around and a Solid State Drive normally lasts around 100 years just sitting around. Once you start using it. I'm sure it won't last that long. But also as you continuously write data to sectors of the drive, it can shorten the lifetime. Especially when writing data to the same sectors over and over. Never defrag a Solid State Drive.

If you browse around on Newegg.com at all of the SSDs you will find that they have an average lifetime of about 1,000,000 hours to 1,500,000 hours. Which is over 100 years.

Just browse the details of the SSDs and it should tell you

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It'd be great if you could post specific references for what you've "read around". –  slhck Dec 13 '12 at 14:19
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I suspect you're quoting MTBF figures, which is an entirely different animal. –  Daniel R Hicks Dec 13 '12 at 21:09
    
Claims that any medium less than twenty years old will last a hundred years have to be taken skeptically. At best, those answers are based on extrapolating to normal conditions from the results under torture tests. Claims on dealer sites likewise require some skepticism. –  gmcgath Dec 14 '12 at 12:21
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According to my knowledge what lasts more than anything else is tapes. And tapes last on most difficult conditions (compared to other forms of data storage). And this is the main reason why companies make their most important backups on tapes. Even though they are the slowest. This is (I believe) what amazon uses for it's glacier service

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Actually, I think engraved stone lasts longer. As does paper, for that matter. –  Daniel R Hicks Dec 13 '12 at 21:08
    
lol, indeed........................... –  John Demetriou Dec 13 '12 at 21:38
    
Thank you, but I wasn't asking about tapes. –  gmcgath Dec 14 '12 at 12:18
    
I apologize. I understood your question as how long do SSDs last and what lasts longer –  John Demetriou Dec 15 '12 at 1:42
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