• Unfortunately, there's really no perfectly safe way to store data... CD's and DVD's decay over time, hard drives fail, memory sticks fail (and get lost!). Safety comes from a commitment to data maintenance -- i.e. making fresh / multiple copies periodically. Since you can't really just make your archives and forget about them, you might as well go for convenience, which means using external USB hard drives -- you plug it into the machine, make your copy, then store it. And you make a note to yourself to come back in 2 years and burn a fresh copy.
  • Archive quality CD's or DVD's, make two copies keep them in proper cases and store in a cool dark place (but not both sets together)
  • DVD would hold the most. Contrary to other answers the DVD's don't deteriorate if stored properly.
  • One of the best (and safest) options is SSD drive. A Solid-state drive eliminates the risk of "mechanical" failure as there are no moving parts. The other option is a good RAID setup.
  • The safest way to store pictures is not in a digital format. Paper and stone have been used for thousands of years, any some have survived for just as long. ;-) Of course, we're not living in a digital age and things are moving fast - and your data is no different. Make sure you have more than 1 copy. Use on-line stoarge as well as DVDs and USB drives, or whatever else comes out in the next few months. Keep it moving!

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