Are we at risk of losing our digital information over time?

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Today, lots of information is being stored electronically. Years ago, it was on books that lasted 100’s of years, if you wanted. Try reading a 1984 3.1/2 floppy disk or worst, a 5.1/2. The 8 inchers are before my computing time (I saw them on Wargames). The ones with the reels that stopped and started are really unreadable. I also used a tape drive on a commodore Vic 20. If I did not hoard this stuff, it would be all unreadable, as I have not used this stuff in 34 years. So are humans in danger of losing knowledge on this? Magnetic media degrades faster than paper books or doesn’t it?

I think you raise a very good point.

While I still feel that digital information is vastly superior to analog counterparts like paper in most respects, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t drawbacks – often serious drawbacks – with storing information digitally.

And one of those drawbacks is progress.

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Is an external hard drive better for backing up than DVDs?

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Hi, Leo. A little less than two years ago I bought a new Acer Aspire laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium with a 320 GB hard drive. I currently backup weekly to a DVD and it shows currently 1120 files are backed up. When I bought this laptop, they included a Mukii TIP-230SU-BK external hard drive that plugs into a USB port. The info on the box says it’s compatible with any 2.5 inch SATA hard drive. Would this unit, assuming it works correctly, be better for an external backup than the DVDs I’m now using?

My short answer is yes. I now always recommend using an external drive over backing up to DVD for an assortment of reasons.

But first, we really need to figure out just exactly what it is you have.

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Will backups run if my PC asks for a password?

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Leo, I’m a bit confused. If I schedule a backup for say 1:00 am, must I leave my machine on? When I leave my machine on and unattended, then after about 15 minutes, the machine comes to a place where it needs my password to resume in Windows 7. Will this not prevent Macrium from performing a backup? Also if I backup to DVDs, I will need to be up at 1:00 am to swap out discs. Do you know where I go in Windows to disengage the password for my machine?

Some of the things that you ask about will definitely affect your ability to run your backups in the middle of the night – and some of them won’t.

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Will a new computer burn DVDs faster?

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Will a new computer be a lot faster at making a homemade single-layered DVD? Today, it took five hours for DVD Flick to process the memory already stored on my computer. The video is in mp4 format; the DVD-R was a 4X single layer.

When you’re burning a CD or DVD, the computer isn’t typically the weakest link; it’s the CD/DVD burner. When they write, CD/DVD burners operate at some maximum speed of rotation and how quickly a burner spins depends on its hardware and how fast it can write the data to that disc.

But I think something else might be going on here. You mentioned that your original video is in MP4 format. That’s not a format that is written to DVD.

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