Saving Photos on Thumb Drive

[ad]Dear Computer Lady,

I have started putting out pictures albums on thumb drive, is that a good or bad idea.

Should we invest in an external hard drive to store things?

Thanks Bill.

Dear Bill,

It is a good idea as long as that is not your only copy of the albums.

Thumb drives can become corrupted, losing all the data on them (unless you want to spend more than $500 on data recovery).

I would suggest that you save a master copy of the photo albums on DVDs. A DVD or CD disk has a much longer shelf life and is not affected by static or magnetic interference.

An external hard drive is a bit more stable than a thumb drive, however, hard drives do eventually fail, so I would never keep my only copy of important files on any hard drive.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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    • ron007
    • March 2, 2013

    I agree with the Computer Lady. For ALL computing it is a BAD IDEA to keep your files on only one storage device. No matter what type. They ALL die, sooner or later, usually unexpectedly. This old rule of thumb covers the point well:

    Remember “3-2-1” to have good backups — (updated for 201*)

    – at least 3 copies of any file
    – in 2 different formats (say on a hard drive, thumb drive, DVD RW or the cloud),
    – at least 1 copy offsite — in case of fire! (say thumb drive or DVD RW moved to different location, or the cloud)

    Steve Gibson

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