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let's face it: usb-sticks are not reliable

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Zenith:

--- Quote from: xrunner on May 15, 2022, 01:33:28 am ---I needed to put a bootable Linux image on a USB stick. Had some El Cheepo 16 GB sticks that came in a pack of five. I tested them and they worked fine copying files to them. Plenty big enough for the Linux image but I couldn't make a bootable image with any of them to save my life. Bought a new Sandisk USB stick and it worked the first time.

 :-//

--- End quote ---

I've always found USB sticks to be fine, but most of mine are Toshiba or Kingston, and branded ones are dirt cheap these days. I use them as bootable drives or to transfer files. I wouldn't rely on them if that could drop me in it.

I gather that some of the el cheapos are not quite what they seem. They may be codged to say they have a capacity greater than they have, and they are probably made from floor sweepings anyway.

David Hess:

--- Quote from: Zenith on July 28, 2022, 03:55:48 pm ---I've always found USB sticks to be fine, but most of mine are Toshiba or Kingston, and branded ones are dirt cheap these days. I use them as bootable drives or to transfer files. I wouldn't rely on them if that could drop me in it.

I gather that some of the el cheapos are not quite what they seem. They may be codged to say they have a capacity greater than they have, and they are probably made from floor sweepings anyway.
--- End quote ---

I have ended up throwing most of my new but cheap USB sticks away because they failed with hardly any use.  Like I said earlier, I use Crucial B500 and M500 SSDs in USB SATA enclosures as big flash drives now.  An M.2 Flash drive might be just as good or better, and would be smaller.

onsenwombat:

--- Quote from: David Hess on July 28, 2022, 03:33:17 pm ---M-DISC DVD and Blu-ray media should last essentially indefinitely.  Magneto-optical disks should also.

--- End quote ---

Should and essentially are the fatal flaw here ;)
Since I don't know their materials any better than an educated animal, I won't argue on any potential longevity issues caused by e.g. a bad/contaminated batch. True though that some medias are in general longer lasting than others. However, even if you had the media that's confirmed to last forever and beyond, the user might drop it on the floor, their pet might chew on it, heck even the house might burn down. Ok, enough stretching the topic, this is getting derailed.

golden_labels:

--- Quote from: onsenwombat on July 28, 2022, 02:02:56 am ---Every single media will fail. Eventually. If your data is actually vital, it makes little to no difference whether we're talking about HDDs, SSDs, SD cards, USB sticks, DVDs, DAT-tapes or whatever. Each and every one of them has premature failures under their belts. You may not have, at least yet, had any, but that hardly means it could not be just around the corner. That's why all important data has at least 2 copies.
--- End quote ---
By putting it that way, you are removing probability from the view. Even worse, in this particular case it becomes a degenerate distribution. While certainly true, it’s also delivering no useful information. It’s similar to dismissing a discussion on the effects of smoking by saying that we’re all going to die.

Our beloved entropy makes sure things will break, but they do not break at the same rate or in the same way. It also matters if you have backups. Even more so, because with multiple copies you have exponential decay at play. That is: less reliable media are coming out as even worse in comparison to more reliable ones, if you have multiple backups.

David Hess:

--- Quote from: onsenwombat on July 29, 2022, 01:42:42 am ---
--- Quote from: David Hess on July 28, 2022, 03:33:17 pm ---M-DISC DVD and Blu-ray media should last essentially indefinitely.  Magneto-optical disks should also.
--- End quote ---

Should and essentially are the fatal flaw here ;)
Since I don't know their materials any better than an educated animal, I won't argue on any potential longevity issues caused by e.g. a bad/contaminated batch. True though that some medias are in general longer lasting than others. However, even if you had the media that's confirmed to last forever and beyond, the user might drop it on the floor, their pet might chew on it, heck even the house might burn down. Ok, enough stretching the topic, this is getting derailed.
--- End quote ---

The point is that the other media and storage devices mentioned have inherent limitations on their retention, whether that is the soft magnetic materials needed to support unassisted writing, or materials which gradually degrade like the dyes used in CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray disks, or aluminum or silver metalization.  The floating gate memory used for Flash gradually loses charge, which was not a problem with a large feature size and 1 bit per cell, but retention has fallen to months or single years.

Magneto-Optical uses a hard magnetic material for storage, and relies on heat-assisted recording; if a disk gets dirty, remove it from the envelope and clean it with soap and water.  M-Discs rely on ablation of an inert layer of carbon, or something like that.

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