One of the most popular computer accessories around today is the USB flash drive, also called thumb drives or pen drives are pocket-sized digital data storage devices used for transferring documents, pictures, and music files. These drives are secure, reusable and much easier to transport than other forms of external data storage. These drives can be carried in pockets, hooked to keychains and clipped to laptop cases.
They are easily accessible and inexpensive temporary data storage solutions. They are designed to plug into the USB port of a PC or Laptop and work with both Windows and Mac operating systems. They can also be used with printers directly without been accessed via a PC or laptop. These devices are usually small, less than two inches in length, and fairly thin. They have a cap to protect the USB connector, encased in plastic, and some come with a LED light that flashes while data is being transferred. Some versions have a swivelling cover, and most can be attached to keychains.
USB flash drives require no external power source, they come in a wide-range of capacities, are relatively durable in design and can safely and securely store data. The choices of drives have grown significantly in the past few years as technology has allowed for larger capacity drives and security options like password protection. The choice of USB flash drive is determined by what the user will be putting on the drive, the size of the files, where the drive will be used, and how it will be transported. There are a few things to consider when buying a new USB Flash Drive. A couple of them include:
Capacity: The available capacity of a USB flash drive is one of the key factors that relate directly to the cost of the drive. Therefore, it is important to know what type of data the user will be putting on the drive and how much capacity is needed to store this data. If the drive will be used as a briefcase to transport text files from home to office/school and back, a lower capacity, unsecured 8GB or 16GB drive will do the job for most. Those users that need to transfer pictures, movie files and music from one computer to another will want to get something a little larger that can hold all those vacation pictures and videos that are taking up all that space on their digital camera and laptop. The buyer should keep in mind though that once a drive gets larger than 32GB the performance and lifespan of the drive begins to degrade a little. This, however, is becoming less of an issue with newer drives.
Security: Many USB flash drives come with some degree of component-level encryption security, pre-installed, to protect sensitive files. This can include password protection and even fingerprint recognition technology. If the user will be loading files onto a USB flash drive that is of a sensitive nature, such as business contracts, personal and professional financial documents, student and professional presentations, dissertations, or pictures of their family, it is highly advisable that they buy drives with at least password security. Due to their size, it is very easy to misplace a USB drive. If the files are not at least minimally protected, they could be accessed by anyone who happens to find the drive. When it comes to USB flash drives there are several types, styles, and capacities to choose from. While most can get by with a small capacity (4GB - 32GB) and never have any issues, others will find that what they need is a larger capacity drive with the ability to protect sensitive files. When buying a new USB flash drive, the user should be sure to first determine what it will be used for. If it is to be used to transfer personal or business financial records, business proposal presentations, or personal photographs, it is a good idea to use a drive that has password protection. Transfer speeds should also be considered. USB flash drives of 3.0 will perform much faster than 2.0 drives.
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