Question Best re-writable media for long-term storage


Feb 11, 2014
So I've been reading up more and more on storage media and I didn't fully realize that SSDs require a small amount of electricity to maintain data, as in if you leave them unpowered for an extremely long period of time, you can run the risk of losing data, although probably not all that common in practice.

But htis has me thinking about long term storage (ie. photos, and other data that doesn't realy get updated much).

Which media is recommended for long term storage (Say if I wanted to leave something in storage for a year, and pull it out once per year and update it?
I have been using portable SSDs so far and no issues, but I haven't had any longer than about 2-3 years so I'm not quite sure what the long-term reliability will be. I had considered going back to a portable USB HDD for important things like photos as some have said they can last a long time and don't have the power requirement that SSDs do in terms of maintaining data for long periods of time without being used (obviously, with HDDs there is the concern about the moving parts so perhaps that negates the longevity of data storage over an SSD so they are probably in reality, about the same in terms of reliability--either they both have to be powered on periodically to maintain useability or data loss can occur--either from a faulty drive motor in the case of HDDs or lost data due to lack of electrical charge for SSDs.

Should I just use SSDs or a HDD? I have too much data so optical media (like Blu-ray) isn't really feasible, as I have about 1TB of just photos plus other data. My data is also backed up in the cloud but I also like to have a HDD handy in case I need to restore large amounts of data. The cloud storage is really a last resort, in case of a regional disaster or if my on-site backups are destroyed.

Thoughts on this?

Phillip Corcoran

I've been using the same portable and mains-powered external hard drives (all Western Digital or Hitachi) for photo storage for easily 10 years now,. They've been utterly reliable & still going strong.

They all contain the same data & when one of them dies (as a Seagate one did when I first started using external drives) I replace it straight away and copy my photos to it from one of the others.

That's my backup strategy and it serves me well.