Digital Archiving 101: The Best Ways to Store and Archive Data


Does your computer or system contain tons of valuable information you’ll need for years to come? Learn how to go about archiving it with best practices!

If you want to know how you can store important data, look no further.

Archiving is a process that not many people know about. It involves putting data from a computer or another device onto a device dedicated for storage. Storing files doesn’t take long, and it lets you free up space on the devices you use most.

It doesn’t matter what kind of computer you have, you can start data archiving to transfer things from any device. Before you can start, you’ll need to know what storage devices you can use.

Keep on reading to learn more about archiving and the devices used for it.

Backups vs. Archives

Most people don’t know the difference between archives and backups.

Backups are similar to archives, but they’re meant to be accessible in case data is lost. Backups allow you to quickly recover data whereas archives are meant for data that you won’t access often.

In most cases, backups are regularly updated with new data so that you avoid losing anything. Archives are often used for things like photos, documents, and other important pieces of information that you don’t want to delete. This data will be stored on a storage device separate from the source.

Backups are effective if you’re looking to constantly add new data, but archives are less worrisome. Instead of incorporating an archive into your backup system, you can keep the data on another drive and access it only when needed.

Common Storage Devices for Archiving

When you decide that you’d like to start archiving, you’ll need to get proper storage devices that have sufficient capacities.

You must also ensure that the device will last for a long time because you can’t risk losing the archived data.

Every storage device lasts for a different amount of time, so you can’t just pick any device. Depending on how much you plan on archiving, you may want to find a cheaper device because large capacities are often expensive.

There isn’t a single storage device that beats the rest, so you’ll need to understand how several of them work. We’ll go over some of the most common devices used for data archiving.

Hard Drives

Hard drives happen to be the most common storage devices because they’re often used as the main storage in computers.

Most people will think of hard drives when they think of storage. They’re affordable, durable, and can store several terabytes of data.

Hard drives operate similarly to record players in that they read data from discs. While movable parts can be an issue if you plan on traveling, a hard drive would make for an effective archive providing that you handle it with care.

Flash Drives

Most people are familiar with flash drives, which are regularly used to transport data.

What makes them great for archiving is the fact that they’re small and lightweight. This lets you transport them without having to worry about damaging them.

Accessing data from a flash drive is simple. All you need to do is plug it into a USB port on your computer. From there, you can view whatever’s on it, including programs, photos, images, etc.

Flash drives are also effective for installing programs. If you have an archived program that you’d like to install on a new computer, you can put a RAR file of the installation onto the flash drive. When you open RAR files on Mac, you’ll have to extract them just like you would on a Windows computer.

Blu-Ray Discs

When it comes to archival tools, Blu-Ray discs have remained effective storage devices for several years.

Rising to popularity in the 2000s, Blu-Ray discs can hold up to 50 GB, which is far less than a hard drive and flash drive. However, they last for several decades and can be accessed just as easily as a flash drive.

Blu-Ray discs are a lot cheaper and thinner than hard drives. Their large storage capacities allow you to store images and videos at higher qualities than you could with a DVD. The only downside to these is that you can’t store anything besides digital media and video games.

Maintaining the Archives

While archiving is a simple process, you’ll need to follow several storing procedures to ensure that your archives don’t go bad.

For example, leaving a hard drive out in the open can expose it to dust. You’ll need to buy protective cases for whatever device you’ll use.

When you have a case or safe spot to store the device, you should access it once in a while to ensure that it’s still working properly. This is especially important when it comes to hard drives because of their movable parts. However, a flash drive or Blu-Ray disc doesn’t need to be monitored as often.

To check a device, connect it to your computer and attempt to access the data. If everything seems to look good, you can put the device away until you check it again in the future. While checking it, you can add or remove data to the archive as you see fit.

Start Archiving Your Data Today

If you’re interested in storing data so that you can free up space on your computer, archiving would be an effective way to do so.

Archiving also comes in handy when you want to store data from several devices because you can include data from phones, cameras, and more.

The easiest way to start archiving is to buy an external hard drive and hook it up to your computer. From there, you can start transferring data from your computer to the drive.

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