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Discussion Starter #1
I have a ton of home videos and pictures going back a long time. Many of the VHS tapes have been copied to DVD data disks....some to DVDs. So now I have folders of disks and boxes of yet to be copied tapes.
It looks like disks, while they will last a long time will suffer from a lack of optical drives on late model computers. So on the long term (10 years), whats the best?

-keep using disks and hope readers will be available then...will they be...got to keep them safe
-copy the disks to portable hard drives....will USB interfaces be around...got to keep them safe
-upload to a cloud service...they do come and go and there is ongoing costs
-upload to youtube and keep them private......do we trust them not to make them all public or use them for their own purposes.....will they start charging....I'm not sure downloading of youtube gives you the same quality

Any ideas?
 

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As noted, there are issues with any storage or backup device. I recommend keeping 3 copies of important data. Use one from each of the following categories.

Local storage:
1. An internal hard drive. This would be an extra drive dedicated to making and storing backups.
2. An external drive. This would be more suitable for a laptop. At this time, I recommend a USB 3 drive. This could be a drive connected to the PC or it could be networked using a second PC or a router that supports USB drives.

Nearby storage:
1. A dedicated NAS device on the local network.
2. A second PC with a dedicated internal drive for backups.
3. An external drive, in addition to a second internal drive.

Offsite storage:
1. Cloud storage.
2. Any accessible offsite file server or NAS.
3. A second external drive stored offsite. Encrypt it if privacy is required. That could be kept at a friend or relative's house, a safe box at a bank or similar business, at work in a secure place or elsewhere. I'd recommend using this in conjunction with a local or nearby external drive and exchanging them on a regular basis to keep the offsite drive up to date.

What to back up:
1. An image of the C: drive to local and nearby storage.
2. Any important files to all 3 types of storage.

How to backup:
1. The Windows 10 built in file history backup utility. This requires a dedicated, connected hard drive.
2. Drive image software can be used to automate backups of the main (C: ) drive.
3. File backup software that scans files and selectively backs up changed or new files. Some drive image software provides this in addition to imaging.

What software to use:
1. Windows 10 file history.
2. Macrium Reflect (very good but expensive,) Acronis True Image (good and moderately priced when purchased on sale,) various free tools with purchase options such as Paragon Backup, EaseUS ToDo Backup or Aomei Backupper Standard. The free versions usually lack some features so try them out to make sure they are suitable. Some paid software such as Acronis True Image includes a cloud backup option. Some also offer continuous backup options similar to Windows file history.
3. A file sync utility such as FreeFileSync. This is a good utility for backing up files to external drives that get swapped.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
ExDilbert, my concerns are not so much security but rather the longevity of media readers and writers. Optical drives are being phased out. On some computers, USB ports are not available....currently you have to buy a dongle. Cloud storage services come and go and you're locking yourself into ongoing payments.
 

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I have my wedding video on DVD Disc, my wife has a backup copy of the DVD Disc, and I was thinking about ripping it to MPEG2 Format (its widescreen SD so mpeg4 is overkill) and storing it digitally some how on my backup hard drive and the cloud because as we move forward in the future, there will be a time when DVD and Blue Ray players will be rare and probably no longer exist. As much as I hate that happening, I have tons of family photos already on digital format, but a ton more which is on regular film and family videos on vhs and dvd. I can easily convert it my self but its a lengthy time consuming process and i would have to watch it in real time because it has to play off the vhs or dvd so i can capture it digitally. once its digital i have to store it on my backup hard drive and cloud drives respectively.

one of my biggest fears in the future is that an entire hard drive can contain someones photos from their whole life and it can be gone like poof if the hard drive craps out or gets damaged or burned or submerged in water just like that your life time of photos are gone in the blink of an eye, i've seen it with my own eyes family members and friends who LOST photos from their first born child just like that. there is definitely more volatility but we are not naturally trained on what to do to prevent this from happening
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You have to capture videos off VHS tapes in real time which is time consuming. You also have to be there to stop the recording when you reach the end of the video on the tape. Ripping DVDs is not in real time...its much faster...
 

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I second ExDilbert's advice and the use of cloud backup services. "Cloud storage services come and go" is not really an accurate reflection of the top tier providers (OneDrive, Dropbox, AWS, IDrive, etc.) Yes, it's going to cost you money but you'll have to weigh that against convenience and peace of mind.

Also, and I cannot stress this strongly enough, test restores of your backups on a regular basis.
 

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On some computers, USB ports are not available...
USB is far from obsolete and will be around for many years. Even smartphones use USB and are transitioning to USB3. Don't know which computers don't use it but they would be a small minority in the consumer sector. Business computers may lack USB for security reasons. USB is becoming more widespread as it is replacing other connectors such as firewire and even Apple is adopting USB3.

ExDilbert, my concerns are not so much security but rather the longevity of media readers and writers.
That's why I recommend keeping at least three copies on at least two different types of media or services that are current. It's inevitable that data will become corrupt or inaccessible so it must be copied to new media as required. My reference to security only applies to offsite data that may be easily accessed by third parties. High capacity drive storage is not going anywhere soon. Interfaces may change and drive types may change but backward compatibility is usually available. NAS storage is going to be available for some time yet as well. The same goes for cloud storage. Companies may shut down but they usually provide the ability to recover content ahead of time. I agree that optical media is obsolete for data storage. Optical drives have never been a fast, reliable backup media but, 20 years ago, were better than other options such as tape drives. I moved to internal or external hard drives and NAS storage over a decade ago due to issues with optical media.
 

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I keep my photo storage simple:

-I set a date every 3 months to back-up all the important photos on all my devices.
-I copy the photos from the last 3 months onto a computer, organize and sort them
-I then back-up the collection of photos on a couple phones, another computer, an old Ipod, a back-up drive stored in my home, and two back-up drives I store out of my home (with relatives).
-as I upgrade my devices/computers/drives, I add all the photos to the new devices
-I've backed up everything from my life, including physical photos and film/videos into digital formats
-I have 8 devices in total, and several older devices that have everything on them - and with them stored in multiple locations, they will not all get destroyed at once.

I also make sure that any special event/life moment is backed up in the same manner soon as it happens. Vacation photos I setup draft emails to store them until I get a chance to back them up when I get home.

I don't trust clouds, or 3rd party storage - best to store things yourself and on your own devices that you control.

It takes a bit of commitment to keep on things every 3 months, but it is worth it. The only photos I have lost were on a phone that was stolen and didn't get backed up for a couple weeks.
 

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its funny how some of my childhood videos are on 8 millimetre film, and as well as vhs (we had them converted when i was little) and there still exists many places to convert 8mm film to digital format. im sure in the not so distant future there will be tons of places to convert dvd and blue ray to the next digital format that exists.
 

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Copy to Blu-ray. Should last a few years. Writers for PC's are cheap now, especially at Fry's! :)
 
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