What is the best portable storage to use to save my files?
This is a surprisingly loaded question considering that the answer may vary depending on what you are doing. So we are going to cover the pros and cons of different types of portable storage that can be used at the Library.
Floppy Disks, CD-R and CD-RWs, E-mail, and USB Drives are what I’ll be discussing today.
Note: We are only describing forms of storage that can be used at the Library. This means that burnable DVDs will be excluded. Also, we will not discuss online backup, as that could be a post in and of it.
This once dominating means of saving your work is fading fast as better and more efficient forms of memory now exist.
• Very small amount of save space. (1.44 MB)
• Unreliable in quality (easily broken)
Verdict: DITCH THE FLOPPY!
There are much better ways to save your work, and all are more reliable. They are cheap in value, but in this case, you definitely get what you pay for.
CD-Rs and CD-RWs
CD-Rs are a compact disc that one can save to and read, but one cannot erase what is on the disc once it has been written upon. This is different then a CD-RW which allows the user to both save and erase the data that is stored on the disc.
• Not as cheap as floppy discs, but still relatively inexpensive.
• More reliable then floppy discs.
• Larger amount of memory (700 MB avg.). That's roughly 500 times larger then the typical floppy disc!
• Great for burning copies of music CDs to listen to at home or in the car.
• Easily scratched.
• Bulky compared to floppy discs.
• CD-Rs cannot be erased. Once the disc is full, you will have to purchase another one.
• Reliability is still an issue, especially compared to the next two ways to save.
Verdict: Ok method of saving files, though better ways to store are available.
CD-Rs and CD-RWs are both significant upgrades from floppy discs, though they can still be frustrating at times. The requirement to burn everything to the disc and the fact that can easily be scratched are two strikes against this means of storage. Though overall, they are still a decent way to save your files.
E-mail is one of my personal favorite ways to save and store my files. The biggest reason that I love using email for saving backups of my files is because of the accessibility of emailed files. Anywhere I have internet access, I have access to the files that I’ve sent to myself. This also leaves nothing to carry, as all the files are saved online.
• Digitally stored (no worries about having a scratched CD or broken floppy)
• Amount of memory is only restricted to how much room your email provider gives you. (This ranges depending on your email: Gmail gives 6 gigs and Yahoo Mail has unlimited storage even on free accounts.
• While digitally storing data is not a bad idea by any means, it also is dependent on your email provider. Some providers do not allow much online storage, so frequent deletions may be required in order to keep your inbox at the allowed level.
• Another potential problem is if your web host goes down, preventing you access to your email entirely.
• Finally, the last con would be that you must have internet access to get to your files. This can obviously be a problem for someone who does not have internet access at their home.
Verdict: Recommended, especially for quick online backup.
Digital storage is a great form of quick saves and a solid choice for portable storage. You may still want to have a copy of your files on some form of solid medium such as a hard drive, USB drive, etc., just in case you lose (or don’t have) internet access.
USB Flash Drives
USB Drives (USBs or Flash Drives for short) are one of the fastest growing and most popular ways to store data. They are fast, affordable, and reusable and can hold more then CDs and floppies.
• Cheap (around $10 can get you over a gigabyte of space!)
• Can be easily reused and no burning required
• Deleting files off the USB as simple as deleting files from your hard drive.
• Very portable. Flash drives can be attached to key-chains and are very easy to carry.
• Durable, can’t be scratched like CD-Rs. As long as you keep the USB end of the flash drive protected with a cap then your drive should stay well protected.
• Requires computer to have USB drive, though almost all computers now have these.
Verdict: Highly Recommended
USB Flash drives are a fantastic way to store files quickly, and efficiently delete them if necessary. Flash drives are small and come packed with plenty of memory, and can even be purchased with memory in excess of 16 GB!
Conclusions: Portable storage comes in many shapes and sizes, but the two most recommended means for saving your files would be through a USB flash drive and/or online backup using your email.