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phone:   440-460-0800

Media Storage Lifespans

Stored media consists of everything from written words to spoken words, pictures, computer documents, software and so much more. The method by which this media is stored is referred to as media preservation. Media can be preserved in anything from a book to a hard drive. Unfortunately, no method of media preservation lasts forever. The way in which you have chosen to store your media can greatly determine how long you have before you need to copy it over to something else. But how long do popular media storage methods last?

Hard Drives

For the most part, you can expect a hard drive to last anywhere from 3 to 5 years, whether it’s a computer’s internal hard drive or an external one. Hard drives have many moving pieces. In this timeframe, it’s likely that something will break. Keep in mind, though, that just because the hard drive stops working, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of your media is lost. Depending on what part of the hard drive has failed, there’s always a chance that the media can be recovered and duplicated onto another storage method.

Flash Storage

Flash storage is a broad category that contains flash (USB) drives, SD cards and SSDs (solid state drives). Typically, flash storage is said to last up to 10 years. However, the exact length of time your flash media storage lasts depends more upon how often you delete old media and write new media onto it. The more often you do this, the shorter the lifespan of your flash storage. Flash storage rated for more write cycles will tend to last longer. You need to be careful with media storage like flash drives and SD cards, though. Because they are so small and easily transported, they are likely to get lost or go through the washer. Make sure you have any media stored on flash storage backed up.


Blank CDs and DVDs tend to have a lifespan of 5 to 10 years. After CD replication or DVD replication, when media is written to the CD or DVD, the expected lifespan drops to 2 to 5 years. However, it isn’t uncommon for CDs and DVDs to last 25 years or more. The exact lifespan depends on several factors, such as use and environment, so it is best to err on the side of caution. CD and DVD duplication can take the information from your original copy and transfer it to new CDs and DVDs, ensuring that your media isn’t lost.

Always making sure that you have your media backed up will help to ensure that it never gets lost. If you are in need of media duplication services, DiskCopy LLC can help. Contact us to get started!

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