Thursday, June 5, 2014

Preventing Bit Rot, Part 2

Boy, did I get a lot of email from last month’s blog!  Most people had no idea that even though they were making regular backups and they did a file system check on a regular basis, their valuable files were STILL vulnerable to corruption.  It’s rare that anything I write leads other people to action, but it happened in this case with Patrick Corrigan, author of the book Data Protection for Photographers, created a blog post which essentially mirrored my own conclusions.  You can read his scholarly take on the issue here.

So I've learned that every time I hit a nerve like this, it makes sense to delve deeper.  One of the best suggestions to come out of the blog comments was the reinforcement of the idea to use a more advanced file system like ZFS (Unix) or ReFS (Microsoft Windows 8.1, a compelling reason to upgrade right there!) which is designed to combat this very problem.  One of the most cost-effective and easiest ways for a technically-inclined person to do this is to download and install FreeNAS onto some old computer hardware and have that act as your server.  It's free (except for the hardware), and your data gets the extra level of protection it deserves without you having to switch computers or operating systems.