What media is the best for 'BACKUPS'

What media should I use for long term backups? I’m talking about data here, not movies or anything similiar, just data.

I tried burning a few DVDs back in ~2002, for that I used a PX708a… + some white verbatim -r 4x discs (don’t have any other info on them) the results weren’t too hot, after about 8 months or so the discs were unreadable in 5-6 drives… that devastated me, since I had never had any problems with CD-R’s failing, if you bought maxell/verbatim cd-r’s, they’d usually last, hell, even lesser cd-r manufacturers seemed to do a decent job.

Anyway… I kinda gave up on DVDrs then… for about 2 years… then I tried again, this time with a few nec-burners and of course, verbatim discs again… same results… after a few months the discs kinda died… some returned crc-errors… some didn’t read at all. I tried with all kinds of verbatim discs, different batches… +/- media… 16x, 8x… nothing seemed to work… so I gave up… again… and now, here I am, 2 years later… ready for another try… . hoping that things will have improved and that there is some media / drive combination out there that is reliable for media that’ll last for 10 years+, at least.

Using raidsetups with HDD’s to store the information isn’t an option atm, far too expensive and I really don’t have room for more servers here, so far the DVD format has been really disappointing for when it comes to data storaging… and CDrs just don’t cut it anymore, sizewise.

(I store all my media in a dark space… where humidity is fairly low and temperatures range between 23-25C and in Jewelcases of course)


you will get more answers to this question than you can digest; have you looked at the “media” section here at CDF?


Burning speed sometimes can make a difference, & also the burner could be on the edge. Would definetly try another burner. The new media that I have been testing is DVDRAM. It seems very durable as it can be supposedly be rewritable up to 10,000 times & it was made for data use. The very best option for data storage IMO is an external hard drive + optical media as insurance stored in my bank deposit box.

Ah, yeah… I’ve tried numerous burners though… on several computers… with the same results, only thing I haven’t tried is non verbatim media… but verbatim is supposed to be good, aren’t they?

Your solution with external hdd + optical media… well, I laid awake thinking about it last night… and storing it on a hdd then burning it on dvds… and afterwards removing the hdd and putting it in a anti-static bag might actually work, since then you’ll have redundancy… could keep the dvds until they break (usually happens within a year)… and then whip out the hdd, reburn the stuff, etc.

Take a look at these two polls:

Which DVD+R media is best for long-term storage?
Which DVD-R media is best for long-term storage?

Personally, I tend to use MIJ Maxell, TY, and Verbatim. However, I have some CMC-made media (under the Imation brand) that’s stood up well for 2 years+.


Ah, thanks… yeah, took a look at that list last night… it’s very confusing though, since back in the day you could just go to the store, pickup a brand of maxells… and it’d work, but nowadays you need to look at where the dvds were manufactured etc… It’d be so nice if you could just buy a box of verbatim dvds… and then be sure that they’d work.

I hear ya - since the advent of DVD recordable media, choosing has become so much harder.

At least with CD-Rs now, 90% of them will work fine, even the cheapest stuff. Of course, how long they’ll last is a different kettle of fish :wink:

TY is still my first choice for durable media. The Premium stuff has been the most consistent for quality and durability. My best scans have come from them.

Going over some old DVDs now… wanted to see what the scans looked like, most of the older ones (burned with the px708a… 2-3 years ago)… had an significant increase in pifs… and returned cyclic redundancy errors… then i found an verbatim 8x dvd-r… which returned 40000+ P0Fs… that’s not too hot, is it? :stuck_out_tongue: but only at the very end of the disc… weird.

Edit: Tried some more stuff… including scanning it at a lower speed than 16x (using a benq 1620 for scanning)… at 12x, the pifs dropped from 50 to 5… and the pofs disappeared altogether… at 8x… it looked ridiculously good… which is weird… :stuck_out_tongue:

8x is the forum standard for scanning with Benq drives.

TY 02 + or -


I use [B][I]ONLY[/I][/B] Taiyo Yuden 8x +R T02 for my critical backups-eh!

Yuden000 T02
Mcc 004
Mcc 003
Maxell 002
Maxell 003
Mcc 02rg20
Mcc 03rg20
Yuden000 T03


Does the Verbatim disc you tested pass a 16x TRT perfectly or is there slowdown near the end, or does the disc give CRC errors like the other discs you have described?

For 10-year backups, I would consider using CD-R, slow and tedious though it is – either Taiyo Yuden, or the best phthalocyanine you can lay hands on – or better yet, a set of each, in case one manufacturer happened to get a bad batch of dye or whatever. Whether you use CD-R or DVD, the following things can greatly help enhance longevity:

  1. At a constant 25% relative humidity and 50 degrees fahrenheit, a high quality, properly stored CD-R is estimated to have a lifespan of 75 years. As temperature increases, longevity drops off really quickly, so at 77 degrees it’s down to 10 years. Do try for a cool, dark, dust-free, low-humidity storage spot which is not subject to rapid environmental fluctuations. Avoid storing them right near to anything which contains solvents or acids (including normal wood, paper or cardboard). Avoid static and electromagnetic fields, also.

  2. Many jewel cases are evil, and are made with ABS and/or short-chain polystyrenes, which can emit plasticisers (often organic acids) and other nasty stuff. Consider polypropylene cases, or polypropylene or polyethylene sleeves. Tyvec is a form of polyethylene, and is probably also fairly safe. PVC (vinyl) is to be avoided, as are any paper products which aren’t acid-free. Do store your disks upright, not laying flat.

  3. Lucent/Bell Labs came up with a plastic designed to protect archives from the environment, called Corrosion Intercept. It gives protection from static, oxygen (incl. ozone), sulphur and other reactive substances in the air, all of which are threats to disks, especially if you aren’t using gold-based media. In disks prone to “rot,” it’s claimed to increase life expectancy by about 30 times. The case inserts made of the stuff are pretty pricey, but you can buy large (20"x24") plastic bags made of it for just a couple of bucks each, keeping your backup collection in those seems like it would be cost-effective.

  4. Labelling: generally to be avoided on the disk itself, labelling on the outside of the case or sleeve, with the disk’s serial number noted, is dandy. (This is more important with CD-R than with any well-made DVD, since most CD-R only have very thin varnish on the back).

  5. Don’t burn disks at maximum speed – a disk which might be a coaster if burned at full speed will often have a very acceptable error rate if burned at 1/4-1/2 that speed. Test every disk (with CD-DVDSpeed, or whatever suits your hardware) before you store it, to be sure.

Of course, nobody in their right mind would do all of the above, professional archivists excepted. I’m just pointing you towards a supposed ideal, how much bother and expense you want to go to in moving towards it is up to you.


Do you have the source of this advice? as AFAIK optical media shouldn’t be affected by such things, unlike tape based media of course.

Anyway, IMO, properly stored premium CD-R media wil [I]easily[/I] surpass 10 years on average. I have some approaching 9 years which have no readability problems. Though, conversely, I have not obtained any CD-R media in several years so couldn’t really say with any confidence that the currently manufactured discs are of the same quality as discs manufactured in 1998.

Many different sources, depending on which thing you are asking about.

Yeah, I have some at 8 years which are great, and some which are failing at 6 months.

The 10 year figure comes from the professional archivist community. They don’t necessarily have any better clues than serious amateurs do, and in many cases seem to know less, but FWIW, that’s the source. See, for example:

They’re probably assuming a much higher degree of archive integrity than most people need to. I do take care of some archives of other peoples’ musical masters, so can’t be quite as sloppy with their stuff as I would be with my own. I want it in triplicate, on 3 brands of media, in 3 storage spaces.

– F.

I was referring to “[B]Avoid static and electromagnetic fields, also.[/B]”.

Oh, OK.

I don’t think that either is normally a big problem, although it’s hard to think of why one would want an archival area to have lots of static and strong electromagnetic fields.

Lucent/Bell Labs found that a CD could be damaged by a low-current discharge of 2800 volts, such as one might generate walking across the carpet. Because CD-R typically have a pretty lousy lacquer layer compared to a commercial CD, they’re probably at least as susceptible. I’m having a little trouble finding anything on the topic on the web which is in a very palatable format, but here’s a little documentation in powerpoint, if you can stand that: www.shelflife.hq.dla.mil/PPT/DoDShelfLifeSymposium.ppt

Magnetic fields fall into the same category as electron bombardment or x-radiation, I think – not much damage under any sane set of conditions, but still, measurable damage, which will accumulate over time. And it probably varies a lot depending on manufacturing details. While it is not necessary for something to be made of iron, nickel or cobalt to be influenced by an electromagnetic field (or people wouldn’t worry about cancer from cell phones), I do note that nickel and cobalt are used in formazan and azo dyes, nickel is used in phthalocyanine dyes, and to protect cyanine from oxidization; and that iron is used to improve the definition of pits in some phthalocyanine-based disks. More and more lately, the reflective layer formulations are aren’t pure metals, intended to be oxidization-resistant, they contain silver, silicon, and… who knows what! They’re almost all proprietary and the makers aren’t telling, but I’d hardly be shocked to find a significant percentage of nickel in one. Read a patent related to CD-R manufacture some time, and you will see that iron, nickel and cobalt are generally mentioned as being possible components of reflective layers as well as dyes.

If I can figure out a good way to go about it (without having to dig my bulk eraser out of storage), I’ll try to come up with a magnetic field sufficient to cause measurable damage, and post the “before” and “after” scans.

No slowdown, it does however return CRC errors… kinda weird… some of the discs that return better scans, show slowdowns when reading TRT… but this… that looks like sheit at 16x, doesn’t… weird :stuck_out_tongue: