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The 1,000 year disc, M-DISC


This disc will supposedly last 1,000 years.

For a long time I've been saying that optical media is awful. This one isn't.

Years ago before anybody was even thinking of archiving anything, I was backing things up. Emails, photos, videos, account info and such. The current way I do it is with 7-Zip archives supplemented by PAR recovery files just in case the archive gets corrupted. The reason I do this is because I've lost data before, and it hurts every time it happens, because I've lost stuff that I'll never get back. And once you lose data enough times, you learn to back up routinely, which I do.

M-DISC a.k.a. Millennial Disc which can be bought right now is optical media that can basically withstand any punishment you can throw at it. Heat, moisture, dirt, whatever. This is the disc that will outlive anybody alive right now.

I only see one problem with this disc. It has nothing to do with the media itself but rather concerning this simple question: Will there be any hardware that can play an M-DISC in 100 years, never mind 1,000?

Before answering that question, the 50-year question has already been answered with a yes. There is 50-year-old data that has been recovered from the technology of the time back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. And for slightly younger data, there have been tech hobbyists who have recovered data from 40-year-old media.

Tech hobbyists are a crazy bunch, because as of recent (as in the last 5 years or so) there have been more than a few who have recreated ancient antequated hardware interfaces from scratch using 3-D printers just to get at that old data.

And that brings me to the hardware question. Yeah, you can get 1,000-year discs, but will there will be any new optical players at all even just 10 years from now? That's an unknown.

Sure, there will be giant piles of used optical players that can play the discs, but new ones? I doubt it.

Then again, given the fact insane tech hobbyists (repeat: hobbyists) have been able to save data over 40 years old, somebody will be able to read M-DISCs made today in another 40 years.

Verbatim is confident enough in the M-DISC they make that they offer a 10-year limited warranty on it even though the disc will survive far beyond that. When you see the price of these things, you'll get sticker shock for sure, but there is arguably nothing available that's tougher that will last longer than M-DISC.

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