So today, our large external hard drive has started misbehaving, which contains all of our digital photos that we have been far too lazy to ever print out or deal with, yet would be extremely bummed out if they were ever lost. A replacement is obviously needed. My wife loves to take photos, takes a ton of them all at high resolution, and then offloads them to the external drive. As a result, I have hundreds of gigabytes of pictures on this drive. While I realize there are probably numerous ‘cloud’ solutions to this problem, call me old fashioned, but I don’t like the idea of my photos being entirely online. A reliable service is probably still a decent monthly fee, and you are always just one hacked account away from someone getting into your private stuff, etc. Given that, what is currently the best way to store digital photos off line in the long term?
It seems like any hard drive based solution can still fail catastrophically at any point and leave you screwed. I suppose the stuff could be wildly compressed and stored on Flash drives, but I’m not sure how much compression you can really get with these photos and if Flash drives are big enough and cheap enough. What would you recommend?
As a side note, if I transfer all the photos off the dying (but not yet dead) drive, store that drive for 10 years, and then boot it up again, will it even work? Do drives that have sat dormant for long periods of time fail, even if kept in ideal conditions?