Reliable backup of my USB Drive

I am keeping a few important files on a USB drive. I have had USB drive become unreadable before and I don't want to wait until that happens. What is the most dependable USB Drive out now. I don't need that much memory and I am not concern about speed just dependability. I know some have these cases that make them durable but that has nothing do with the internal device. I maybe looking at this wrong maybe Cloud storage would be better.
Richard BrownAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
First, buy Kingston or like quality USB drives. High quality, moderate capacity drives are not expensive.

Second, keep a backup of the drive on a hard drive. Make a folder and copy the files up once a week.

Third, replace the USB drives at least each year, maybe each 6 months. A year should be good if you keep backups.

Sync Back Pro or like tool will let you create a profile and all you have to do is run the profile.

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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
Use more than one drive.

Two is good.  Three is better.  Rotate the usage.  Drive 1 --> then Drive 2 -->  then Drive 3.

You don't have to backup all drives at the same time.  Drive 1 first week, Drive 2 second week, Drive 3 third week.  You can replace week with day if you do daily backups.

Keep at least one drive offsite (eg home or deposit box or garage).
EirmanChief Operations ManagerCommented:
As you don't have need that much storage you should consider 64gig Flash Drives as one of your backup devices.
Everything is genuine from this company, and international postage is cheap and reliable.

Just leave one in your car as another fail-safe backup location. (Encrypt if necessary)
Flash drives are virtually immune to shock/vibration.
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
At present there is no USB flash drive feature equivalent to the hard drive SMART feature.  SMART shows hard drive status and warns of impending failure.

When a USB drive fails, whether due to wear leveling or hardware issue, it fails all at once.  The problem is more pressing now that manufacturers are shaving corners by using multi-level cells ("MLC technology") instead of one bit per cell.  This causes cells to fail in a few thousand cycles, where an older single-level cell ("SLC") CompactFlash can easily have hundreds of thousands of cycles per cell.  Cells can fail early for no apparent reason.  And there is always the possibility of a high-energy cosmic ray going through that one block on the flash drive that has the partition table, rendering the drive useless.

Another issue with USB flash devices is the connector.  Inserting or removing a USB connector at an angle, or accidentally hitting it while inserted, can easily break the hair-thin traces on the PWB.  This can be sometimes be repaired for a one-off recovery of data on the drive but it's chancy and requires extremely precise equipment.

The upshot of all this is, per above, never store any critical data on a USB flash device without a current backup.

Backup:  You can use any backup software you prefer, or a USB flash-specific backup program such as Alexander Beug's USB Image Tool.  You pays your money and you takes your choice.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
never store any critical data on a USB flash device without a current backup.

Which is why I suggested making regular backups in the first post here.
Wow, all these comments make me worry about my 50+ USB's / SD / compact flash, etc. storage devices...
I do not worry about failure of them at all, but losing them is always a possibility...

Flash memory is almost indestructible, it's the contacts that may become bad over time and usage (wear and tear).
This is called "Weak Contacts" and is sometimes resolved by cleaning the contacts with a cotton bud (ear cleaning bud / tip )

Backup is the most effective solution...
3 backups are recommended for a USB stick.
1 on another USB stick for quick and handy use.
1 on a SD card which is cheap, small and almost indestructible
1 on the hard drive of your PC

Hope this helps.
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
never store any critical data on a USB flash device without a current backup.

Which is why I suggested making regular backups in the first post here.

Which is why I said "per above, never store any critical data on a USB flash device without a current backup."
it can be an easier solution to use an USB Hard disk Dock - and buy  normal drives:

this way, they can be used internally and  as external ones!
Richard BrownAuthor Commented:
Would it better to get a USB 3.0 or a USB 2.0? I believe my motherboard on my sons desktop and one or two of my laptops only have USB 3.0 connection. If I had a USB 3.0 could it be read on a USB 2.0?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
USB 3 cannot be read on USB 2 so far as I know, but USB 2 can be read on either USB 3 or USB 2.
john, sorry, but i don't understand what you mean with "USB 3 cannot be read on USB 2 "
can you fo this old bugger, explain a bit?
i thought usb 2&3 are compatible
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Whoops!  My error. Yes, USB3 are backward compatible on USB2 ports. Sorry for the error.
ha - tx i feel a bit relieved now
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