USB flash drive is a small portable storage device that can be connected through a USB port. The capacity of USB flash drive ranges from 1GB to 256GB but it can be larger as well. It is commonly referred to as pen drive, thumb drive, jump drive, disk key, disk on key, flash-drive, memory stick or USB memory. It doesn’t contain any moving parts, everything is stored in an electronic memory that does not need a power source to maintain the data.
The USB flash drive is one of the most popular portable media and is used to store files or to easily transfer data and files between computers.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of USB flash drives?
The advantage is that their small size allows for an easy portability. Another advantage is resistance against mechanical damage. There are even USB flash drives that are waterproof or dustproof. Compared to hard drive, USB drive is not susceptible to shock (in terms of a big shake) or to high magnetic fields.
Compared to a classic portable drive, the flash drive has less capacity and worse capacity / cost ratio. Also, the lifetime of flash drive is generally relatively short.
What do we use the USB flash drive for?
It is generally used to store data or to quickly transfer data between computers, laptops or other devices. It can also be used to speed up the startup and operations of older Windows computers (so-called ReadyBoost disks). Flash disks are not suitable for long-term storage and archiving due to their limited lifetime and the associated risk of loss of data. Classical disks, magnetic tapes, or optical media are more suitable for this purpose.
What is the lifetime of USB flash drives?
The USB flash drive can be rewritten repeatedly - to save and delete content. However, the number of times that a flash drive can be rewritten is limited, with most manufacturers stating hundreds to thousands write/erase cycles. According to the intensity of use, the lifetime is roughly lower than 10 years. Unlike classic disks, if a flash drive stops working, the data stored on it can not be retrieved any more. Therefore, to store critical data on flash drives is not recommended. If you still decide to do so, remember to continuously back up the data.
What interface is used for flash disks? What can we be connect them to?
As the name suggests, it is typically connected via all types of USB port, most often via classic USB A or USB C. Some flash drives are also equipped with micro USB or OTG. There are also disks with a built-in Wifi module.