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My first computer backups were onto big reels of magnetic tape, and even paper: punched cards and paper tape. In the era after that, nearly all my backups were onto floppy disks (of various sizes). But today, computer manufacturers are beginning to sell PCs that don't even have floppy drives.
As technology changes, the way you back up your data will change as well. That means it may be time to shop for new hardware for storing your backup data. It also means that your old backups may be at risk. I certainly can't lay hands on the right hardware to read my old paper tape backups, and even some of my older floppy backups are useless now, due to changes in that technology over the years (not to mention the relatively short shelf-life of floppies).
One point that will be made repeatedly here is that preserving data for decades poses some unique problems that you don't see when data only needs to be kept safe for a few years. Just copying to a floppy and throwing it in a folder might be good enough to preserve your income tax data for the requisite seven years. But carefully making several CD-ROM copies of your family photos and storing them in a humidity-controlled room might not be good enough to ensure that your great-grandchildren will be able to view them.Contents:
Speed versus Size
Why undelete utilities may fail just when you need them most!
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