Monday, September 05, 2005

Buying a USB Flash Drive (Part 1)

It’s not news to anyone that the floppy disk has been replaced by the USB flash drive for a few years now. Plus, these drives are getting cheaper, smaller and coming in larger storage capacities all the time.

Personally, I have been carrying a USB flash drive around with me for a few years now. I mostly use it to carry large files between two different computers and to store software utilities that I use to fix different problems that I encounter. Although I have to admit I don’t use it too often, but when I need it, it’s a godsend.

For those of you who are wanting to buy one of these types of drives, and are researching them. There are a few things that you should know:

  • There are two types of USB drives on the market, hard drive and flash based.
    • Hard drive based USB drives, offer larger storage capacities for less money. Although, they’re generally larger in physical size when compared to a flash-based drive and require and external power supply to use them.
    • Flash-based USB drives don’t generally have large storage capacities, but they’re smaller and more compact, and don’t require an external power sources.
  • These drives can be automatically mounted by most modern OSes without the use of special software drivers. All you have to do is plug them in, and wait for them to mount (this generally requires a few seconds). This means that you can plug it into just about any computer running Windows 98SE (or higher), Linux, or the Mac OS v9.1.x (or higher).

Note: It is a good idea to unmount the USB drive before pulling it out of your computer. This makes sure that no applications are using the drive before you pull it out of your system, this help protect against data lost.

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