Futureproof way of saving files and photographs.

PeteXXX

Cake or ice cream? The choice is endless ...
Location
Hamtun
What is the safest way to save files, photo's etc for the future, ie many years hence?
CD's can become unreadable after a while ( even though Tommorow's World assured us they were indestructible! )
USB sticks are a bit vulnerable to loss or wiping and the hard drive on the PC is the worst place to store things in case the computer dies.
I don't really want to use a paid service in case they go out of business, sell my stuff on or get hacked.
I use Dropbox for file saving and transferring relatively unimportant things, but have several gigabites I want safely stored for a long time.
I've seen Personal Cloud storage advertised recently and am thinking of investing in one soon.

Any more suggestions?
 

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
Location
Poshshire
Simply don't rely on a single source, and every few months check the integrity of the medium. I use CDs and Dropbox. If one dies, I can recreate it from the other in minutes.
 

Andrew_P

In between here and there
What is the safest way to save files, photo's etc for the future, ie many years hence?
CD's can become unreadable after a while ( even though Tommorow's World assured us they were indestructible! )
USB sticks are a bit vulnerable to loss or wiping and the hard drive on the PC is the worst place to store things in case the computer dies.
I don't really want to use a paid service in case they go out of business, sell my stuff on or get hacked.
I use Dropbox for file saving and transferring relatively unimportant things, but have several gigabites I want safely stored for a long time.
I've seen Personal Cloud storage advertised recently and am thinking of investing in one soon.

Any more suggestions?
No difference between Personal Cloud and Dropbox. In fact the hosting company on personal cloud are more likely to go bust than dropbox or Microsoft One Drive.

I use dropbox, I have two computers and the dropbox is linked to both, so essentially I will always have the minimum of 2 copies of everything. Its a bit of pain when you get a new machine downloading 250gb+ though. I store everything on Dropbox anything I save, I save to a folder on Dropbox. Been absolutely brilliant when upgrading hard drive or changing computers nothing is missing and for working from home and having the same files @ Work. In fact other than the cost I could right now smash my laptop to pieces and nip down to PC World and be up and running within 2 hours, all software licences are stored on Dropbox and all files. I had a disaster at work with a hard drive failure which bought this about.

I use MS Exchange for emails so that's in the cloud and local and duplicates at home and work, and dropbox for every file. Costs me less than £100 a year. Kids have access to their own folders on Dropbox so the photos are stored in loads of places. I am not worried about privacy, maybe I should be but I am not. And I can fresh install Windows without worry whenever it starts slowing up.
 

andyfraser

Über Member
Location
Bristol
I use Dropbox too. There's nothing on there that has any personal information.

CD/DVD drives are vanishing so I'm using SD cards now. They're cheap and have a lock switch (I haven't tested that it works though). SD cards are so common in digital photography that card readers should be around for years to come, either built in or through stand alone readers. Even if we stop using USB I expect to there will be card readers for the replacement. And even if SD cards go out of fashion something will replace them and I'll switch to that.

I also backup onto 2 external hard drives and my home server. I have 6 copies of my stuff in total.
 

srw

It's a bit more complicated than that...
I've just bought a WD My cloud - something a little over £100 for 3TB of storage. It took a day or two to back up all our music and photographs to it over wi-fi (about 90GB worth), and our main file-storage computer is now set to back up automatically to that and a standard portable hard drive, as is my phone. I'd be reasonably happy with that as a storage solution that would survive all but catastrophic damage to the house. When I get around to taking it to our flat (different town) the risk drops even further.

One option would be a trusted friend or relative with whom you could swap something similar.
 
OP
PeteXXX

PeteXXX

Cake or ice cream? The choice is endless ...
Location
Hamtun
My Pic, tablet and phones are all linked to Dropbox at the moment and it works fine. Maybe their paid service will be an option to explore.
I hadn't thought of the possibility of the companies behind a Personal Cloud being an issue. In my naivety I was thinking it would just be me myself running it.

SD cards are good, but easily mislaid (I know this by experience!)
 

slowmotion

Quite dreadful
Location
lost somewhere
I have very little that's extremely important, just a few things of sentimental value, like photos, and old emails. It's quite surprising how little of my work stuff can't be recovered by requesting copies from the recipients. I'm pretty chaotic about back-ups but most of my stuff is duplicated on my home and work PCs' hard drives. I also have a load of USB memory sticks floating around with lots of files on them. I suppose my policy is one of just using multiple media and random duplicates. I wouldn't trust any external third party like Google, Microsoft etc to archive it for the long term, but I'm just a paranoid old git.
 

srw

It's a bit more complicated than that...
I hadn't thought of the possibility of the companies behind a Personal Cloud being an issue. In my naivety I was thinking it would just be me myself running it.
Depends what kind of Personal Cloud you're talking about. To me a "Personal Cloud" is something like the WD My Cloud I've bought - a physical box that you keep in your house, when there's no third-party to rely on. But some seem to be interpreting it as a service bought from a third party.

I suspect that the real long-term risk lies in file incompatibility. That shouldn't be an issue with MP3 and JPG, but I wouldn't put money on it - about 15 years ago it was Wordperfect that was the standard for encoding text documents, not MS Word.
 

Andrew_P

In between here and there
I have to say it takes disaster to a sole hard drive to make you realise how much you will miss, I managed to recover most of it but not all. I am OCD now about having access to everything anywhere I go now. It would take Dropbox to go bust and simultaneous fires at work and home to leave me a quivering wreck again. I guess its a bit different for me because I have my own business so can do what I like with the work PC as there is absolutely no difference between being at work or at home when I switch on a computer, which I find strangely reassuring!
 

Andrew_P

In between here and there
Depends what kind of Personal Cloud you're talking about. To me a "Personal Cloud" is something like the WD My Cloud I've bought - a physical box that you keep in your house, when there's no third-party to rely on. But some seem to be interpreting it as a service bought from a third party.

I suspect that the real long-term risk lies in file incompatibility. That shouldn't be an issue with MP3 and JPG, but I wouldn't put money on it - about 15 years ago it was Wordperfect that was the standard for encoding text documents, not MS Word.
I think the standard interpretation of cloud is offsite. The thing that put me off external and networked drives was the risk of burglary and no protection. I take a little comfort with the laptop & PC as they have a pretty hard password to crack and by the time they have I hopefully would have set it up to remotely wipe the dropbox folder the next time it connects although there are ways and means of getting around that, but more difficult than just plugging external drives in. I view burglary more risk to my privacy than Dropbox. Millions of users more important than my stuff and they would need to wade through loads of files to find anything even slightly useful. Strangely the only I never do is share files with people form my paid for Dropbox
 
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mybike

Grumblin at Garmin on the Granny Gear
@Drago has the best point in my opinion. Optical discs, and you can get archival CDs that should have a very long life, are the best for local copies. But remember, your house could burn down so a copy in a friends house is a good idea. But you probably need to keep a archived CD drive as well.

If you want to you can use a copy of TrueCrypt to create an encoded drive in a file on such as DropBox. You then just use it as another drive.

When I was on Windows I used a backup provider, Carbonite in my case, that backs up the files on my PC for a reasonable sum. Sadly I haven't found anything similar for Linux.
 

slowmotion

Quite dreadful
Location
lost somewhere
What is there on your computers that is so important that you have not sent it to other people? 90% of it is recoverable from colleagues, business partners and friends. The other 10% you might well wish to stay lost anyway.
 

andyfraser

Über Member
Location
Bristol
SD cards are good, but easily mislaid (I know this by experience!)
It just takes a bit of discipline. I have a safe place for backup SD cards and the little cases are labelled.
If you want to you can use a copy of TrueCrypt to create an encoded drive in a file on such as DropBox. You then just use it as another drive.
TrueCrypt is no longer being developed but it's still considered safe to use. 7.2 is decrypt only. You can still get 7.1 plus and explanation of what's going on here: https://www.grc.com/misc/truecrypt/truecrypt.htm.
 

srw

It's a bit more complicated than that...
Any manual process is susceptible to user error. Better to have an automatic process which you check every so often is still working.
 
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