Quote Originally Posted by Worker 11811 View Post
If you use the programs on those tapes, you'll want to think about transferring them off magnetic media and onto something with more longevity.

Video tapes have a tendency to self destruct over time. As I understand, their life span is 10 to 20 years under average conditions.
Even a home-burned DVD has an expected lifetime of 50 years or more if stored properly.

Secondarily, rewind the tapes every once in a while. Leave them "heads out" or "tails out" at alternating intervals.
As the revolutions of tape lie together on the reel, the magnetic signature tends to "print through" onto the adjacent layers, thus degrading the data on the tape.
Rewinding the tape and leaving it in the opposite orientation helps to randomize the positions of the layers of tape that lay together, thus preventing print-through.
Also, the tape should be stored flat on the surface so that each coil rests on the next coil. For a VHS or a Compact Cassette tape that would mean keeping them vertical on the short side. Failure to do so, as far as I know, can produce a damage to the tape (physical damage to the tape, regardless of the information on it).