Are you curious how long your data will last on those CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, and so forth? This article from CNet is very interesting.
Going back through his old CD-Rs and transferring the data to hard disk, Adrian Wong of TechARP experienced a failure rate of nearly 10% for discs recorded some 7 to 9 years ago and kept under ideal storage conditions (cool, dark and dry). Of the corrupted CD-Rs, many of them only had a few files corrupted, but two of the CD-Rs were completely unreadable. Neither one of the two CD/DVD drives we used could even recognize the CD-Rs, much less read anything off them.
There doesn¹t seem to be any particular pattern with the disc failures – either with age or with brand. The newest (2002) discs had the highest level of corruptions, followed by the oldest (2000). Of course, those two vintages had the fewest number of samples and the actual results may change radically with a larger sample size.
Even though branded CD-Rs from the likes of Kodak were expected to last longer, they appeared equally susceptible to failure as the cheap, no-brand CD-Rs.
I decided to check through my old CD-Rs. Oddly enough, after checking some 120 discs, I¹ve yet to find a single corrupted disc. I¹m not saying that I don¹t have dead discs, but it would seem that my failure rate for a random selection is less than 10%.
I’d like to see an article on the safety of Solid State Drives (SSDs). The more we store our data only as 1s and 0s, and as hard drives grow larger, the less safe I feel about data loss. People, PLEASE back up! Maybe with a cool Windows Home Server, and paper copies of important documents.
Also, how have you fared with CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, thumb drives, and so forth for backup? Please post comments!