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Old 02-12-2013, 10:28 PM   #1
newbiesforever
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do USB drives break down for no reason?


Someone once said something to me about USB drives tending to break down unexpectedly. I don't remember the exact words, but I got the impression that they can spontaneously fail for no apparent reason. Is that true without regular use? I want to keep a backup medium in a location separated from the computer so in case anyone breaks into my home and steals my computer, I will still have a copy of my files. If I put backup copies onto a stick and hide them away and someone steals my computer five years later, might I find the stick ruined when I plug it into a replacement computer?
 
Old 02-13-2013, 02:15 AM   #2
H_TeXMeX_H
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They break unexpectedly, but I've never had one break if I just leave it lying around. They have to be used regularly to break unexpectedly.

Remember that not all USB sticks are created equal, some are much more durable. See youtube are the other USB thread on here.

I would not use a USB stick as my sole means of backup for sure.
 
Old 02-13-2013, 03:19 AM   #3
AnanthaP
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Quote:
If I put backup copies onto a stick and hide them away and someone steals my computer five years later, might I find the stick ruined when I plug it into a replacement computer?
This used to happen earlier in the days of mag-tapes. If not stored in the proper spools and in an air conditioned atmosphere, the tape would stick together and be unusable. In USB, its more likely that the file format will be not be supported on newer computers or the USB standard (eg USB 2.0) will not be supported.

Each media must have a standard specs about the number of I/O operations permitted. Eg: I remember 8" floppies used to have a spec of 8000 writes.

OK
 
Old 02-13-2013, 07:01 AM   #4
sundialsvcs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnanthaP View Post
This used to happen earlier in the days of mag-tapes. If not stored in the proper spools and in an air conditioned atmosphere, the tape would stick together and be unusable. In USB, its more likely that the file format will be not be supported on newer computers or the USB standard (eg USB 2.0) will not be supported.

Each media must have a standard specs about the number of I/O operations permitted. Eg: I remember 8" floppies used to have a spec of 8000 writes.
The Internal Revenue Service has millions of unreadable magnetic tapes that have been spooled-up so long that the magnetic domains wandered from one layer to another.

On second thought, that's not so bad ...
 
Old 02-13-2013, 12:55 PM   #5
DavidMcCann
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No medium lasts for ever. I've had tapes and floppies fade on me. No medium is supported for ever: try finding an 8 inch drive. But I hope you backup more frequently than every five years!

The weakest point with the USB stick is physical. Always insert and remove it carefully. If you bend it and the case isn't too strong, you may strain the joint between the plug and the circuit board and eventually the little soldered joints may fail.

I also had a corrupted filing system a couple of times when I was still using them as bought. Now I've formatted them as ext2, they behave. (I hope that won't be a case of famous last words!)
 
Old 02-13-2013, 05:38 PM   #6
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Usb drives are like many devices sold today. Junk that is almost worthless. Many companies used to pay huge amounts of money for computer systems intended to last 20 years. A usb flash drive is only manufactured to the very lowest standards.


Rant ahead.

Sheeze. The valve stems on my truck fell apart while driving home at night because they were imported junk. Of course you have to change to the spare in the cold and dark. I'd like to thank Ford for buying such junk.

Last edited by jefro; 02-13-2013 at 05:41 PM.
 
Old 02-13-2013, 10:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H View Post
I would not use a USB stick as my sole means of backup for sure.
Then what? The information I care about saving is small enough to fit on a CD, but I'm not sure a CD would be any better. The crystal matrix thingy on it might break down. Or is that only with regular use?
 
Old 02-14-2013, 01:35 AM   #8
chrism01
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Normally, USB sticks get left lying around, knocked about in bags, pockets, not to mention they are susceptible to EM fields.
If you're going to use them as backups, use them once, then keep in one place where they won't be disturbed, dry, no EM fields.
Optical media treated the same (undisturbed, dry) will likely last longer. (EM fields not an issue).
As above, usb sticks are not expected to be use for serious backup, so manufactured cheaply.
 
Old 02-14-2013, 01:43 AM   #9
vishwajeet jagtap
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If we buy cheap USB drive it will break down. So always buy good brands USB drives it cost yo bt they came with some warrenty period.
 
Old 02-14-2013, 12:11 PM   #10
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I suppose my 8 GB Kingston is a cheap one, as I probably didn't pay more than US$10 for it.
 
Old 02-14-2013, 12:29 PM   #11
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I've a 2GB Kingston USB stick that's been through the wash about 3 times and battered around in pockets for years with no problem. However, I'd not trust it to work the next time I use it because things fail.
Always back up in more than one place. If your backup is replicated on two USB sticks you've twice the chance of it surviving (assuming they're physically separate). If you back up to CD as well as USB you'll have more chance of getting data back also. How about using a free web backup? Can a friend hold some files for you? Which data must you keep and which is just "nice to have"?
Personally, I'm lazy so I've a RAID and a couple of other data drives attached to my PC which all share the data I most want to keep (code and photographs), then a semi-regular DVDR backup, a copy on my netbook, a copy of most on my personal music player and a copy on a USB stick in my wallet. Oh, and the camera the photographs were taken on and my friend has some of my code also. However, I've no coherent strategy so I know there's a chance my mistake or a fire or burglary will destroy my data -- I really ought to develop a strategy, as should you.
 
Old 02-14-2013, 12:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbiesforever View Post
Then what? The information I care about saving is small enough to fit on a CD, but I'm not sure a CD would be any better. The crystal matrix thingy on it might break down. Or is that only with regular use?
To be safe, I would also put it on a CD (a good quality one like Taiyo Yuden). You have to keep it away from light and moisture, so vacuum sealing it (if possible) and putting inside a dark contained (maybe a tin) is a good idea.
 
Old 02-14-2013, 07:45 PM   #13
AnanthaP
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Quote:
The weakest point with the USB stick is physical. Always insert and remove it carefully. If you bend it and the case isn't too strong, you may strain the joint between the plug and the circuit board and eventually the little soldered joints may fail.

I also had a corrupted filing system a couple of times when I was still using them as bought. Now I've formatted them as ext2, they behave. (I hope that won't be a case of famous last words!)
Some good points.

OK
 
Old 02-14-2013, 08:53 PM   #14
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I doubt even vacuum sealing a cd would help it, never seen a test on that. The chemicals in the plastic may actually harm the disk more than common air. The process on a cd recordable is chemical.

If you could "press" a real cd then you might keep it for 30 years or so. Then the problem would be like the Winchester drives or Berneuli (sp) drives.

A real enterprise level device is the only way to go. A raid nas device or such. Then is no ruggedized usb flash that I'd use for backups. I do have a mil-spec usb hard drive but it is only good for something like 4 foot drops.

Last edited by jefro; 02-14-2013 at 08:54 PM.
 
Old 02-14-2013, 08:57 PM   #15
frankbell
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Stuff breaks.

That being said, whenever a piece of hardware breaks or wears out, you could say it does so "unexpectedly." Same goes true for the radiator on my truck, which I had to replace a few weeks ago.

I have a thumb drive and an external USB HDD that have both been going for over five years. If they break, I'll be disappointed, but, really, as my old mechanic used to say, "They won't owe me a dime."

I couldn't back up my radiator to external media, but I can back up the contents of my USB drives, and I do, regularly.

Last edited by frankbell; 02-14-2013 at 08:58 PM.
 
  


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