Oh no, George is at it again:
Q. I want to archive family photos and slides from our hard drive onto a DVD. However, I have read that home-burnt DVDs and CDs can have a short shelf life of about five years. What is the best technology to store 1-5 GB of irreplaceable images?
A Manufacturers claim life spans of 30 to 100 years for DVD-R and DVD+R discs and up to 30 years for DVD-RW, DVD+RW. Your advice about a five-year life may apply to a CD that has not been burnt, as in that state the storage life is much shorter. For archiving you should use a premium-quality product, which in my opinion is Verbatim as they come out on top in almost all independent reviews that I have read.
No no no no no. You don’t tell someone who wants to store irreplaceable images that it’s fine to chuck it on a DVD, and blindly believe the manufacturer’s claim of the 30 years plus lifespan. The technology is not yet nearly that old, so while theoretical lab tests might claim that, in my book it’s not conclusively proven, and plenty of people have had problems.
If the files involved are genuinely irreplaceable, the message here is to make sure you don’t rely on one copy, or even on one medium. You make multiple copies, in a format that is futureproof (JPEG probably being the best for photos), distribute them widely (for instance with different family members) and check and copy them regularly onto new media.
You sure as hell don’t burn a single copy and chuck the DVD in the cupboard and hope nothing renders it unreadable.
- Computerworld: Storage expert warns of short life span for burned CDs
- Previous post about long term archiving
- Previous rants about George