Join Date: Sep 2005
Bikes: Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)
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I have a spindle of CD-Rs that are now about 12 years old, and have tried reading them back with no problems.
However, I've found it depends a lot on the brand. The 12 year old CDs are Kodak gold datalifes (that I paid nearly $5 each for). Recently I tried reading back data from a cheapo house brand CD that I wrote only about 18 months ago and couldn't get all the data off.
I've had significant trouble with DVDs too, usually on name brand discs. Now I use only Taiyo Yuiden, and have not had any trouble since then. TY is the best. Big name brands are generally whatever they could buy cheap that week, I don't trust them. The mfg sig on them changes too often to trust.
Even so, however, I feel that it's not safe to trust only one backup media type. One unforeseen problem with the media can wreck all your backups.
So for stuff that's important, I use a local "warm" backup (750GB drive up on my MythTV box) and local DVD copies, and also offsite DVD and an external 750G that I store at work (all encrypted in case they're stolen). For REALLY important stuff, I also keep a copy offsite on an 8GB thumb drive. This is mainly copies of documents like birth certificates, drivers licenses, bank statements, financial documents, etc. All encrypted of course. The kind of stuff that will make things a hell of a lot easier if you have your house burn down or something.
I also have processes that run on my internal machines that copy data around between them in case of single drive failures.
Also, be sure you're running S.M.A.R.T. monitoring on all drives so you've got a chance of getting a warning before a drive fails.
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.