Rachel explains the best methods of backing up and sharing your data.
Rachel explains the best methods of backing up and sharing your data, from CDs and DVDs to USB flash drives and external hard drives. What should you be using?
Not only are floppy disks very out of date, most computers made after 2010 won’t run them, even if you have an external floppy disk drive which you plug in through a USB port. If you have any other option, do not use a floppy disk. It’s not worth your time.
Compact Discs, better known as CDs, were originally developed to play music. They have since been adapted to data storage. In order to use a blank CD to store information, your computer must have a CD burner. There are two types of CD.
CD-Rs can only be used once. After you have ‘burned’ your data on to them they cannot be overwritten, added to or used to do anything but read the information you loaded them with.
CD-RWs are rewriteable CDs. If you leave your ‘session’ open, you can add files to a CD which already has files on it. If your ‘session’ is closed, you can only write over the CD, wiping any data which was previously on it. Either way, they can be used multiple times. They are, however, notoriously difficult to use, and are more likely to lose information or be unreadable by another person’s computer than a CD-R.
A standard CD will hold approximately 700Mb of data. This equates to two short mid-grade television episodes, 300 photos taken on a smartphone or an album’s worth of music. They are cheaper than DVDs, and thus can be a good way to give photos to friends and family.
CDs will supposedly last for up to 40 years, but one scratch is enough to corrupt the data, so ensure that if you are storing precious family photos you have more than one backup.
DVDs are similar to CDs in almost every way, except that they store much more data. They also come in a once-only type, DVD-R, and a rewriteable type, DVD-RW.
DVDs hold 4.7Gb, or almost seven times more data than a CD. They are better for storing larger files, such as videos or many high-resolution photos. Much like CDs they will deteriorate, especially if left in extreme temperatures, however, they supposedly have a longer shelf-life than a CD. As neither CDs or DVDs have been around long enough to test the shelf-lives out, nobody knows for sure how long your data will last on these disks. Again, beware of scratches.
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