In the early 2000, flash drives came handy—anyone can save and transfer a file using this small and compact device. Students and office workers mainly use it to share files when network bandwidth and internet speed are still a luxury. Nowadays, the internet revolution changed the way people interact with files. Free and paid cloud storage innovates the way files are stored and that may one day eliminate the need for flash drives.
Flash Drive In A Nutshell
Flash drives have one purpose and that is to store a multitude of data—may it be personal or work files. It comes with other names such as thumb drives, pen drives, or memory sticks. This compact storage device is inexpensive and can also be used as a bootable drive for the installation of operating systems. Storage sizes range from a minimum of 2GB to a whopping 2TB.
Unfortunately, affordable data and internet plans have made most people switch to cloud storage. Aside from its reliability and efficiency, sharing files is easier as long as a user has access to the internet. Services such as Apple’s iCloud or Microsoft’s OneDrive may be a sound option for transferring files to other devices that are capable of connecting to the internet. This may sound like these compact storage devices are outdated pieces of hardware, but it is practical if one’s internet connection has limited bandwidth or data allocation.
Pros Of A Flash Drive
Although cloud storage services are advantageous in most situations given that most people are connected to the internet, the flash drive still comes with these benefits:
- Smooth and fast installation of operating systems
- Fast data transfer between devices (much faster with USB 3.0)
- Practical to use if data allocation or internet speed is limited
With minimal configuration, operating systems such as Windows and Ubuntu can be installed using a thumb drive. For Windows, it comes with its own software that can transform any flash drive into a bootable one. Back then, CDs and DVDs were used to install operating systems. This can be a headache as file transfer speeds are very slow. Conversely, flash drives save a lot of time as the configuration is fast and easy especially when installing the operating system on multiple computers.
Some operating systems like Ubuntu can run on the go using thumb drives. Although this is not recommended for long-term use, this can be beneficial for users who want to experience the interface before making a decision to install it on a system.
Cons Of A Flash Drive
Flash drives also come with drawbacks. They are not the most ideal storage devices and may not be practical in some cases. Some downsides of flash drives are:
- Lifespan is variable
- Can be a carrier of malware or computer virus
- Most flash drives have no built-in encryption
Flash drives are not robust devices—they are at risk of data corruption and loss, which means it is not always reliable as backup storage. It has also limited read and writing cycles. Once it reaches that limit, the flash memory will start to degrade and increases the risk of data loss.
It may also become a security risk, especially if used on public computers that may contain traces of computer malware and virus. A flash drive can be infected by malicious software, spreading to other devices where it may be used. If possible, minimize the use of flash drives in public computers and make sure the system has an active antivirus to minimize the risk of malware propagation.