USB flash drive

Discussion in 'hardware' started by bellgamin, Oct 23, 2008.

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  1. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    Yesterday I hadn't even heard of flash drives. Today I own one. (Science is a wonderful invention, wot?)

    I imaged my system drive onto it. Fast & easy. Only thing is, I read today somewhere that these things do not last very long. Questions-

    1- About how long does a flash drive last?

    2- Is it possible to get clues as to when it is about to die?

    3- Is there any easy way to prolong its life?

    4- What do most people use these things for?

    Any & all comments are appreciated.

    Mahalo... bellgamin
     
  2. Marja

    Marja Honestly, I'm not a bot!!

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  3. Judge Dee

    Judge Dee Guest

    I use a flash to store several important programs (SAS, cleaners, etc) in case a friend needs help with a computer, or if something goes out on my laptop when I'm gone from home.
    I also use it as a second backup for the thousands of articles and free books I've gotten off the web.
    Thanks for the other link, Marja. I've been kinda worried about that.
     
  4. HURST

    HURST Registered Member

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    I had several and almost all died with no signal. Sometimes you plug it in and can't access data or stuff like that. Sometimes a format helps, or sometimes you must go advanced. Once I had to change the drive letter on the disk management so it could work properly. Usually there is no clue. But if you stick with reliable brands you should not have much travel (kingston has never failed on me). Anyways, they are relatively cheap.

    I use them for:
    -backup data
    -move large files from one computer to another
    -have installed apps with portableApps
    -have an anti-malware arsenal for cleaning other computers
    -Store keyfile for my password manager
    -storing linux distros

    amongst other uses...
     
  5. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    bellgamin, welcome to the world of portable flash drives! I use one of mine to test out software, and another one is packed full of tools to help family and friends when they get into a jam.

    Now that you have joined us, take a look at this Wilders thread 25 must have thumb drive apps for geeks for software ideas!
     
  6. Mr2cents

    Mr2cents Registered Member

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    Hi bellgamin. I purchased my first flash drive about 2 months ago. Like hurst, I got a kingston. 4 gigs to be exact. you can find it here Be sure to scroll down and read the feedback.I love it. I have a lot of stuff on it.

    * mp3's
    * Pictures
    * Installers for all my windows applications. Including old and new firewalls, all the free antiviruses, registry cleaners, and the list goes on and on. If a friend has trouble with their computer. I simply take my flash drive and plug it into their computer. I have all the necessary applications on the usb to usually get their computer going.

    * I boot 3 operating systems, xp, linuxMint, and Mepis 8.0. My printer is considered a dead weight in linux land. If I need to print a document while in linux. I print to "pdf file" Then I transfer the pdf file to my flash drive. That way, I can print the document out the next time I boot into "Windows."

    One thing I might add. I don't know if this is true or not. I've read a lot about it on the net. It's supposed to extend the life of your flash drive. When you get ready to pull the flash drive out of the usb port. Don't just pull it out !. If your in windows. Right click on the usb drive where your usb is located. On mine it's drive (F). Choose "eject".. then you can safely remove the flash drive.

    In linux. I have the flash drive located on the desktop. It simply says "kingston". Right click on kingston or whatever your flash drive name is and choose "Safely remove" or "remove safely" After doing this, you will see the kingston drive disappear. It's now safe to remove your flash drive now. Does this extend the life of your flash drive? I don't know. The bottom line is this for me though I love flash drives and am about to buy another one.

    Another thing I like about them is they don't cost much money. Here's a link to a 32 gig flashdrive on youtube. Click Here
     
  7. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    Wow! No flash drive until now? o_O

    I have an addiction to them. I've owned tons of them. Whenever I see a new design or style, I buy one to try it. Right now, between home and work I have probably a dozen.

    The one I carry in my pocket at this point is an 8 GB Sony Click. It currently has 4.26 GB of data, programs, photos and videos on it. It's especially handy for me as I have high speed web at work and slow dialup at home. So programs and things I need at home can be downloaded at work and then easily transported home.

    I sync the Sony daily to 8 GB Sandisk Cruzer Contour using GoodSync (a great program!) That way, if I ever have any issues, I have a duplicate.

    To expand on something already mentioned, you should have the OS release the drive before unplugging it. IMO, just pulling the unit out is THE biggest killer of flash drives. With the second biggest probably being static electricity (always make sure you're discharged before plugging or unplugging a flash drive.) The quickest safe way to disconnect a flash drive in Windows is to find the icon in the system tray (near the clock.) Left click it once, choose the correct drive to safely remove with the mouse cursor and left click it once more. It should then tell you it Safe to Remove Hardware...
     
  8. HURST

    HURST Registered Member

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    Here is a *mostly* good discussion which covers ejecting USB drives:

    http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-80784.html

    The IT-guy at my university once told me that you must "safely remove" because that way the OS makes sure that the USB drive, system memory and cache are sinchronized, and that way there are no errors afterwards.
     
  9. axial

    axial Registered Member

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  10. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    on windows to avoid losing data you have to use the safe remove icon in the system tray manually since windows doesnt autounmount. i know people that have lost data due to not safe removing there usb pen.
    my Corsair usb pen has a 10year warranty.

    i use my usb flash drive to store portable programs,backups of my college work and use it to transfer files between my two computers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2008
  11. Meriadoc

    Meriadoc Registered Member

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    Not heard of a flash drive o_O :)

    How very true.

    axial, I'm using a paid safely remove which has some other features but thanks for the link to hotswap.
     
  12. axial

    axial Registered Member

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    It's possible to boot from a flash drive, and also to use a flash drive as extra RAM. Another use is to run virtual machines (vmware, virtual pc, etc) faster.

    I've not done any of the above, but have come across many websites extolling the virtues of all these uses.
     
  13. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    Being lazy I stopped worrying about safe remove several yaers ago. I was told that safe remove was only necessary if using write caching. If you look under properties for Xp you will see that you can set up a drive to allow for quick removal. anyway even with write caching I have never had any problem with data loss - I just wait until the writing stops and then remove.

    In reply to the original - been using various types for 4 or 5 years now with no problems. Can't wait for SSD to get cheaper - far less problems than with HD - unless you defrag them that is.
     
  14. HURST

    HURST Registered Member

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    Another use for USB flash drives is to increase battery time when you are watching movies on a laptop. Since there are no moving parts, you should save power if you read the movie from an USB drive instead of a CD/DVD or the HDD. At least that is what some sources say.
     
  15. Eliot

    Eliot Registered Member

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    I need to try that. Sounds great if it will work w/o lag.:p
     
  16. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

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    I've had many flashdrives over the years, to date only 2 have died and they were both cheap and nasty brands. As long as you get a decent brand it should serve you well for a long time.
    By default windows optimizes flash drives for quick removal, so unless you've manually changed it to optimize it for performance you don't need to use the safe removal tool.
     
  17. Meriadoc

    Meriadoc Registered Member

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    I have a usb caddy/adapter which can handle any attachment - slot in any ide, sata, laptop etc hard disks, takes care of jumpers a really handy tool - but I have 2 WD drives that if I dont safely remove them get badly corrupted. USB Safely Remove from SafelyRemovedotcom is what Im using at the moment.
     
  18. ambient_88

    ambient_88 Registered Member

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    1) This will depend on the quality of the drive itself. A high quality drive will last longer than a cheaper one.

    2) I am not sure about this one.

    3) Flash drives lose their ability to write after a certain number of write/erase cycles. As such, you'd want to minimize the write/erase cycles to prolong its life.

    4) People use USB flash drives in many different ways. Most people use them to carry their favorite programs, documents, work/school-related files, etc.

    I suggest creating multiple backups (you prob. know this ;p) of important documents/files you'd want to store in a flash drive. I know some graduate/postgraduate students who had their only copy of their thesis/dissertations stored in the flash drive--one of them almost lost his flash drive, along with his thesis. Fortunately, he was able to recover it.
     
  19. KookyMan

    KookyMan Registered Member

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    I heard once that as a flashdrive gets old and its read-write cycles are running out, sometimes the (free) space on the drive will start to dissapear (IE a 2GB drive will start reporting 1.9GB, and slowly reduce as read/writes keep happening since the drive quits writing to that area of the drive... It would reak havok on the file system too. That might be an indicator of its time to buy a new one.
     
  20. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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