Paperkey 1.3

Josef Schneider josef at
Mon Jan 7 21:49:05 CET 2013

On Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 5:54 PM, Peter Lebbing <peter at> wrote:
> Flash memory stores its data as an electrical charge, which can leak away.
> It does so very slowly, but it still does[1]. We are talking about years.
> And reading a cell does not "refresh" it, so read-only use will in principle
> not do anything to extend the storage time.

Still you can't be sure that the controller or flash cells won't just
stop working.
Yesterday, a new MicroSD card of mine just stopped working.
At first one folder was unreadable and fsck didn't work, then after
unplugging and re-plugging it all file names where gibberish, the card
got hot and I unplugged it.
Since then it's detected as unformated and no write access is possible.
This is the second MicroSD card where this happens for me. While
yesterday this was after less than a day, the other one broke after
about a month of heavy usage in my smart phone.
And while with a CD or DVD you probably still can read parts of the
data (especially if you have e.g. PAR2 files to recover it) if a flash
storage of any kind stops working, realistically you can't do anything
to rescue even parts of the data.
And while most hard disks that broke showed some signs of that (via
SMART or increased sound level) all flash memory devices more or less
stopped working from one moment to the other. (but then, I don't have
very much data)
So I wouldn't trust any flash memory for long time storage.

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