Storage options beyond your PC hard drive

Whether you have sensitive files or ordinary files, you are not limited to just storing them on your computer’s hard drive. You have many more options when it comes to off-system storage. Such options include storing on:

  • External hard drives,
  • Flash/portable disk,
  • Compact (CD) disk, DVD disk,
  • Floppy drives, zip drives, and
  • Online
Off-system storage choices: floppy disk, flash drive, compact disk, and zip drive.

Each of these options has varying storage and access capacities and physical damage protections. For instance, while a floppy disk (also called 31/2 inch floppy) can store only upto 1.4 MB (megabytes), a CD can hold 500 times that. However, accessing data from a CD takes longer than accessing from a flash drive, in general. A CD, for instance, is susceptible to scratches and other physical conditions, while data in flash drive is protected against such damage.

Keep these limitations and capabilities in mind when selecting a medium for storage.

These points are worth noting when it comes to storing files beyond the hard-drive your PC:

  • Put the media in a safe and protected place, especially for sensitive data.
  • When damage of the media is of concern, choose a media that offers the best protection against physical damage. Choose good quality disks if you consider storing on disks.
  • If you need to make frequent changes to the content you are storing, using a CD or DVD disk in this case is not probably the best option. This is because once data is written to a CD or DVD, it cannot be edited. CDs and DVD are best choice for writing once and accessing (reading) many times.
  • Consider storing important data copies in at least two different mediums. This will ensure you can read the data if one medium is damaged or no longer readable in future hardware systems.
  • If you use online storage service, keep these points in mind:
    • Store with trusted websites only
    • Know if your data is being backed-up
    • There is a potential for loosing data if the storage provider experiences any hardware or software problems. Hardware, software or network issues can also make your data unavailable temporarily.
    • Consider only storing non-sensitive data because:
      • Some can hack into your account to see, edit, or delete what you have
      • An employee from the company can see what you have stored
      • The service provider may go bankrupt – leaving you with no data, if you have not stored some place else.
Posted on 9/30/2007
by Raj Singh