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  • CDs/DVDs:  two to twenty years, varies widely based on use and storage conditions
  • Floppy disks: three to twenty years, varies based on storage and brand
  • USBs: 10,000 writes
  • Hard Drives: 3 years, then 12% annual failure rate
  • External Hard Drives: Less time than regular hard drives due to wear and tear

The Museum of Obsolete Media provides Media Stability Ratings for some widely-used obsolete media, which may be of assistance as you assess format risks.

Prioritization Based on Size