Monday, September 14, 2015

Home Video Archiving - Which media is best!?

So I'm going to post something different here, this will be a slightly technical post talking about the best archival method for future proofing your data!

When it comes to deciding what type of medium to use for archiving your data, no media offers a lifetime guarantee. Scientists can't guarantee the life span of optical disc, HDD, magnetic tape, flash or any other medium, I think simple because the medium hasn't been around that long to prove. The environment also dictates the life span of your archived medium.

I won't go into many specifics on which media is best to use and why, there's plenty of article online that compare the pros and cons. What I'm posting this blog for is to tell you regardless of what you use to archive your media, create PAR2 files! What PAR2 files allow you to do is have data redundancy. If a few sectors of your data is corrupted instead of not being able to view the data, you can repair it by using PAR2.

I don't think there's a best method on making your data redundant with PAR2 but the way I plan to make my data redundant is to create a 25% redundant PAR2 files for my data. I archive home videos and usually when I archive an entire tape, I put the contents all into a directory on my computer and burn to a Blu-ray. Some people will burn an optical disc then create an .ISO of the disc and base their PAR2 files on that. I'm sure this would work for you but I think it seems more logical to create your PAR2 files based on your directory of data (in my case 1 VHS tape) and then burn the PAR2 files to a separate disc. With this method, if a sector on your disc gets corrupted you'll be repairing an individual file and not an entire disc.

If you do experience a bad sector on your medium of choice you must first recover everything as possible with a program like ISOBuster or BadCopy. Once you can recover as much data as possible you can then run QuickPar to repair any files with corrupted sectors.

In my opinion this is the way to go in order to have more reliable archives of your precious videos or photos!

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