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    1. Senior Member A.Wilder's Avatar
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      10-07-2018 08:44 PM #1
      We just had a baby and there are photos we want to keep long-term. I have some ideas for storage but wanted to make sure they will work. I plan on keeping edited/selected photos in cloud storage for easy access and sharing. But, originals and B roll I want to at least keep the ones that turned out ok, but aren't the best of the set. So my plan is to use Google photos for cloud storage, it's been working fine and I think if I want more space it's really cheap. I think Google will be around for decades to come, or at least long enough that if they disappear I should have ample time to transfer my photos. For long term physical storage I was thinking of using USB flash drives. I don't shoot in large file formats so image sizes are relatively small and I figure I can fit a year's worth of edited and B roll photos on a 16-32gb flash drive. I can make two.copies of the drive, keep one in my home in a safe place and give the second one to my parents for safe keeping.

      My main question is will a USB drive keep the files safe if it's sitting for a few years? I imagine the USB drives will be plugged in every once in a while to use photos for various reasons but may sit idle for a year or two (maybe longer for the copy given to parents). Is this a viable solution or am I expecting a flash drive to remain uncorrupted too long? Would a traditional HDD work better for this purpose? Is there any other option I forgot?
      signatures are annoying, right?

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    3. Millennial Pizza Cat's Avatar
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      10-07-2018 08:46 PM #2
      I’ve accessed usb drives that I haven’t touched in 10 years and they’ve all been fine.

      Saying that, external hard drives are so cheap now it wouldn’t be a bad idea to invest in a quality one.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Vee-Dubber-GLI View Post
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    4. Junior Member
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      Former Hobby car and Daily Driver, 1986 VW Golf IDI Diesel mfg. in PA., 361k miles.
      10-18-2018 06:31 PM #3
      Interesting question that you posed and one that I have thought about and have only a few suggestions. I do have B & W photos from my parents that were taken in the 1930s and are in excellent condition in spite of being kept at room temperature but away from light. That kind of photography is apparently no longer available. I also have B & W Polaroid pics taken in the 1960s that have been kept at room temp are are unchanged as well.

      I don't know how much good it will do but refrigeration around 40F effectively preserved unused camera film where my wife worked in a medical research lab so that's how I keep my spare batteries, some old unused camera film and some CDs with family pictures. A Faraday shield (sheet or screen steel) might be good to keep thumb drives isolated from magnetic fields plus refrigeration in a sealed container.

      Another pitfall is that recording technology keeps moving. 78 and 45 RPM records are mostly history. 8 track tapes and cassettes have been replaced with CDs and then MP3 and now MP4. There are more formats but I am sticking with MP3 and jpg files in thumb drives and on CDs for now. You might keep a CD or a DVD drive for a PC but will a future computer handle it?

      Storing on the Cloud in more than one location would be prudent as would be duplicating a CD etc. every 10 years. I have kept some info on Google Drive for at least 5 years and have not had a problem but you never know what can happen.

      It would be interesting to know how long inexpensive WM color photos would last in sealed refrigeration. Constant exposure to light can damage photos as well. I have slide photos from the 1960s that have already begun to fade; probably should have kept them refrigerated.

      This is a great topic that you bring up. I have read previously that current photo information in a digital format may not survive for the long term future like old fashioned camera film technology has done. You got me going, I intend to do some searching on this topic. Old fashioned silver halide photography would be good to have for long term preservation of family photos.

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