Geek: Even DVDs fails, always back up
Friday, June 15, 2012

Since I had about 600+GB left on my NAS. I decided to start backing up my DVDs that I created couple years ago.

"You have no idea how relieved I am when I did it."

There's something called shelf life. Which refers to the amount of time you can keep things on the shelf. (storing it). Under optimal conditions, your DVDs can last for decades. Dry, room temperature and no magnets and whatever that I can't remember.

For discs that you buy from manufacturers (legit), you have lesser to worry as the way it's made allows it to last longer, at the least 10 years?

It's a different story when it's something that you burn for yourself. There isn't a lot of conclusive studies, due to the fact that there are many manufacturers, different operating conditions and type of discs.

My recommendation, is to read your discs at least once every 5 years to see if you have lost any data.

Why would a DVD lose data over time? There's something called bit rot, but I won't go into that. A very simple explanation is that a DVD is written by using a laser to etch into the disc. Over time, it will oxidize, wear and tear. Just like how plastic will decompose over hundreds of years, your DVD will decompose, very very slowly, losing bit by bit.


I'm currently writing my entire DVD collection into my NAS. Trust me, it's not a fun process as I have hundreds of them. Hard drives were pretty expensive back then.

Now for some stats, I think out of 50+ DVDs I've done so far, about 5 or 6 discs have failed. Either completely unreadable, or some of the files just can't be copied over. So there is missing data here and there. Thankfully for the internet I manage to download the missing episodes.

Most of my DVDs are written 4years++ ago. I didn't really take them out at all, just kept in a corner. So, to put it in perspective, there's a 10% chance of failure. Out of all your discs, if it has been sitting on the shelf for more than 4years. There's 1 in 10 chance that it might have a failure.

At this point of writing I've backed up about 200GB+ of data. Pure anime, no applications or movies yet. Since I really don't care about the movies. (movies not in HD. almost all of my Animes are in 720p) Yeah I know, I can't help it. It actually feels kind of like a hobby. A pretty expensive one at that.

Conclusion, always back up your data periodically. Especially the ones you don't want to lose. Sometimes you might want to create DVD backups of your photos. There's always that ultra slim chance that all your hard drives just failed at a really bad timing. Or you accidentally delete the old stuffs.

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