Frequently Asked Questions About USB Flash Drives

Portable USB flash drives remain one of the most curious computer peripherals available today. Some people wonder what in the world they're used for, while others wonder what in the world they can't be used for.This FAQ will help clear up some of the basic questions I hear about those miniature hard drives you so often see dangling from people's key chains.

What is the Difference Between a USB Flash Drive and a “Regular” Flash Drive?

A “flash drive” is a solid state drive (SSD) technology that stores data like a typical hard drive found in most PCs, but uses no moving parts. Flash drives come in many forms, including external storage devices, portable USB drives, and even as the main storage drive in some extra small laptops.

A USB flash drive is the industry term for a very small, very portable flash drive meant for easy data storage or transfer, and which connects to a computer via a USB port. USB flash drives are so small that most of them are designed to easily attach to a key ring.

What Do People Use USB Flash Drives For?

Because of their extreme portability (most weigh in at an ounce or less), the most common purpose for USB flash drives is transferring files between computers at different locations. As their storage capacity has increased, they have also become more and more useful for backing up important files from your PC’s hard drive and storing them in a secure location.

 

What Are the Benefits of Using a USB Flash Drive?

Necessity is the mother of invention, and USB flash drives are so popular today because they are faster, easier to use, and more convenient than almost any other method. Burning CDs takes time, and is a permanent process. If you’re taking a project from your office to your home, and you’re going to be finished with it at the end of the week, burning a CD just for that can be wasteful. What’s more, if you make changes to the project, you have to burn a whole new CD in order to take it back to work.

Transferring files directly from computer to computer can be sometimes be oddly complicated, and in most cases, you need them to be right next to each other. With a USB flash drive, it’s as simple as dragging and dropping your files and folders to wherever you need them.

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