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Why the information on your memory cards will not last forever

We tend to think that due to the fact that the memory cards they use silicon chips to store the information, this will remain unchanged until the end of time. However, this is not the case and it may be that in a few years or decades all those memories in the MicroSD of the mobile or the game cards of your favorite laptop will disappear. Why will this happen?

One of the problems of digital distribution is the transformation of the right to buy and sell the content to be reduced to a usufruct in the form of an indeterminate use license, but in which the licensee can decide when you stop having access to it. Which makes many decide to choose to buy games in physical format or use memory cards to save their vacation photos. However, they bring with them some problems.

Memory cards will stop working

One of the controversies in recent days has been the closure of Nintendo’s digital stores of its long-retired 3DS and Wii U platforms, a move they made in their day with Wii and DS. What has caused many users to run either to buy what is necessary for said console in them before the final closure or have sought to buy the games in physical format, which are found on proprietary flash memory cards that are sold with the game recorded inside.

Gamecard Switch 2 backwards compatible

However, there is a problem associated with the use of memory cards and it is not the other that they differ from the cartridges of yesteryear in the way in which they store information persistently. A cartridge is based on ROM memory, this means that the memory transistors are forged to store specific information in perpetuity. That is to say, no matter how much time passes, it cannot be rewritten and it will remain forever as long as there is no physical deterioration.

Instead, flash memory is about keeping the electrical charge captured in cells for a long time and this cannot be done in perpetuity, there comes a point where there are leaks and the information is progressively lost over time. Many years may pass, but all this means that a memory card, unlike a cartridge, will not hold its contents forever and will eventually be lost.

It does not only affect video game consoles

Let’s not forget that both cameras and mobile phones usually use MicroSD memory cards that are governed by the same principles. That is to say, they use flash memory to store the information of applications and data inside, so the point will be reached in which the information will be lost forever.

SD memory cards

In any case, it must be clarified that this degradation is slow enough to make backup copies and that the information they contain is not lost. Be that as it may, it is not a problem at the level of film rolls, which need to be stored in special conditions so as not to be veiled and to be able to keep the information inside for a long time. The worst thing is that in a flash memory device, the more capacity, the less useful life it has, since it is easier for the information of 4 bits per cell to be lost than 1 bit per cell of information.

Our advice? Try to make backup copies of your memory cards from time to time so that the memories are not lost.

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