DVDs are no longer sufficient. Files are becoming larger and larger. What alternatives would you recommend?

--update-- how reliable are hard drives vs optical discs?

  • Inquiring about the reliability of hard drives versus optical discs is not so simple since hard drives are used for routine backups, while optical discs are one-shot backups. Your concern seems to be that if you back up your data to a hard drive once and store it, whether it would degrade faster than an optical disc. My guess is that an optical disc would deteriorate faster. Bryan's suggestion below is your best starting point, and the most efficient way to back up your files is a regular schedule using an external hard drive. Other concerns, such as offsite backup, are only secondary to this.
    – fideli
    May 9 '10 at 3:48

External hard drive. I use 2.5 inch drives. They come in sizes of at least 750GB now for $150 or so. They often include backup software.

Of course you can get the standard 3.5 inch external drives, they come in almost any size (if you put together an array of them)

  • how reliable are hard drives vs optical discs
    – user36572
    May 9 '10 at 2:56
  • In my experience, much more reliable over a longer period.
    – bryan
    May 9 '10 at 4:38

Well I'm a fan of Dropbox. They only offer 50 and 100 GB plans though so maybe not enough.


As other users have mentioned I would definitely look into getting an external hard drive. Nothing lasts forever and both hard drives and optical disks will degrade over time. (I believe in storage this is at least 50+ years) If you are concerned about the life of your hard drive get two, it is extremely unlikely that both would fail at the same time.

As a second layer of defense you could also look into uploading your files to a service like Dropbox.


External drive and/or NAS with CrashPlan.