Stored digital images won’t last forever

By CELESTE FONG
celeste@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: Memories of a great vacation or important occasions are best captured on camera. But consumers have been warned that digital images stored on recordable disks or hard drives will not last forever.

They face the risk of losing their treasure trove of memories within seconds by an accidental click of the button or computer virus, according to the Federation of Commercial Photographic Society.

Its secretary-general Jeffrey Sek said consumers had approached their members to help salvage or restore images destroyed after their disks were infected.

One customer stored all digital images of her two-year-old child since his birth in a compact disc without making any prints. When her computer was infected, she lost everything, he told a press conference organised by MCA Public Service and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong.

Sek advised consumers to get their digital images printed so that they could keep them for years to come.

Many consumers have the impression that images stored on recordable disks last forever.

There are tips to preserve the disks but they can be tedious as one needs to store the CDs at a certain temperature and under specific conditions which may not be convenient for ordinary consumers.

Also, new technology keeps emerging with gadgets being produced and what is considered new will turn obsolete like the VHS tapes.

Sek said the society now had more than 2,500 members nationwide and consumers could always pick the most convenient photo studio to print their photographs.

The society is currently running a campaign to create awareness on the risk of storing digital images on recordable disks and advising consumers on the importance of printing their photos.

Sek said the average price was now 60 sen per 4R print while those printing a large quantity would get further discount.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.as … sec=nation

One customer stored all digital images of her two-year-old child since his birth in a compact disc without making any prints. When her computer was infected, she lost everything, he told a press conference organised by MCA Public Service and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong.

Now, I wonder how this is possible. Memory card I can understand, but CD?

The deal with all these digital stuff is that sometimes it isn’t the work of viruses but on card media such as MMC/ SD / CF etc, the failure rate is still quite high. I’ve personally seen loss of data due to a read / write error of these cards.

People also almost never use the ‘eject’ option - instead just resorted to being lazy by pulling the cards out prematurely. Such incidents can result in permenant data loss.

CDs can become scratched, or just plain can’t be read because an anomaly during the burning process or simply an incompatible CD-drive. (I know CDROM/DVDROM/Burner drives are mostly compatible by specs but you & I know that there’s always some irregularities that causes one CD to be read on one drive but not the other. OR simply the drive is dirty)

Hard disk storage isn’t all that reliable either. Storing digital images may be convenient, backing up important images and files is always strongly advised.

I make 2 backups daily automatically to 2 seperate hard disks.

What if you simply preserve the memory cards and not erase when they’re full? What chances are there for the data to be lost? M/cards are becoming cheaper these days and don’t need to be reused.

Hard disk storage isn’t all that reliable either. Storing digital images may be convenient, backing up important images and files is always strongly advised.

I do the same. They are both external drives. However, I still don’t trust them 100% and so I also have CD backup once in a while.

There are utilities for the recovery of deleted files. I have used them but sometimes they are over zealous in the recovery.

I also don’t understand how could file store on CD can be deleted so easily. May be they press the wrong button when the CD is place on the shredder!

As the old saying goes, always make AT LEAST ONE backup for important data.

Memory cards like MMC always have a chance to be somehow ‘zapped’. You can take pictures on a camera, and it’s all stored nicely, but the moment you take it out and plug it into the computer it could go blank at any given moment. While rare, I have encountered this at least 3 times in 2 years. My current contract involves digital images and hundreds are piled onto our computers daily.

So 100s of images daily and 3 failures in 2 years seemed like a low chance, it’s still possible, that’s all I’m saying. All it needs is just one misshap and you’re done for.

Sek advised consumers to get their digital images printed so that they could keep them for years to come.

So they are worried about CDs getting infected (Shows how IT literate they are) but not worried about misplaced prints, fire, fungus, baby-swallowing-photos, dog-ate-my-homework type of things…

Some people’s logic escapes me sometimes…[/quote]

Welll, the logic is that you have ONE photo infected with fungi, you can at least save the rest and if it is not damaged badly you can have it digitally repaired.

If you have one CD or DVD infected with fungi or scratched or eaten by dog or abducted by aliens… you lose the 10,000 photos all at once, with very slim chance of recovery.

Notice that they never explained about backing up. Probably they don’t do it themselves. (Or they do it, but only by shifting to “R” in their car)

Nah, you need to backup frequently, at least twice a year. why? CD won’t last long. their data that store in it will get erm…“messed up”. well, a lousy branded CD-R or whatever it is, can only last 2 year b4 it’s data messed up. HOWEVER, nice branded CD like Verbatim are some nice brand that can last for 5 years. Tape are nice, they are cheap and store data longer. meh, HDD have ultra freaking big capacity, but yeah, just a simple crazy mistake kills and pawned it all, and that so called big capacity will be dead!

meh, things don’t last, but something still puzzles me, why does those VCD and DVD can last more than 10 years? i wonder how did they burn

why does those VCD and DVD can last more than 10 years? i wonder how did they burn

There are a combination of factors I can think off: 1. The drive itself 2. Like you said, the media. The drive is quite important here.

It gets down to “you get what you paid for”.

Tape are nice, they are cheap and store data longer

If you are talking about digital tape, you need to keep them in an environment that is ideal. Otherwise, they will stick together, fungus, and unreadable. I saw my friend wrap the tape in cling film and he has successfully kept the fungus out for the last 20 years!

In theory, CD should last for 20-30 years. But in reality, we always go for the cheapest and therefore they won’t last for more than 5 years. I noticed that the coating material is also important here but I don’t know enough to make an accurate statement.

If you buy quality products you will notice on the back or in the manual it will have a data retention period. People dont notice this in general but its good to check it out. A typical USB drive and most flash EEPROM (Electrically-Erasable-and-Programmable Read Only Memory) devices such as flash cards and all your digital camera storage mediums have a data retention rate of about 10 years (theoretically).

CD’s has about the same the data retention period where as DVD’s last longer. Of course, this only applies if the media used has been properly kept and not left to bake on the car dashboard.

This is the reason why multi national companies back up their data on tape drives which can last up to 30 years.

We don’t do this because the cost of a dard disk is less then 1/10th the cost of a tape drive…no to mention the hardware that you will be needing to utilize it.

Bottom line is your cassette tape will last longer then your CD.

Usually I think it’s mostly counted in read / write lifespan (re-written 1000 times, 5000 times, etc…)

CD’s has about the same the data retention period where as DVD’s last longer. Of course, this only applies if the media used has been properly kept and not left to bake on the car dashboard.

This is the reason why multi national companies back up their data on tape drives which can last up to 30 years.

We don’t do this because the cost of a dard disk is less then 1/10th the cost of a tape drive…no to mention the hardware that you will be needing to utilize it.

Bottom line is your cassette tape will last longer then your CD.

Tape is more convenient to backup on than CD / DVD media, plus tape can be reused. That’s the reason they backup on tape. Some backup on hard disk and off-location servers or devices. In general use and storage, it is a good quality CD that will last longer than tape. In a controlled environment, both media will last quite long compared to HDD if run at a constant rate over a period of time.

For us mere mortals, an external HDD enclosure with a backup software is sufficient. On a bad case scenario, grab the HDD backup and run to safety. In the worst case scenario, if a disaster is on such scale that the backup can also be destroyed, it is logical to save more important things (e.g lives )

[quote=“ian”]By CELESTE FONG
celeste@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: Memories of a great vacation or important occasions are best captured on camera. But consumers have been warned that digital images stored on recordable disks or hard drives will not last forever.

[/quote]

yep 30 years for a CD life span… Jeez :smiley: :smiley: