Difference Between Jump Drives & Flash Drives

By Heather Marlman

USB jump drives and USB flash drives refer to the same type of device. Multiple names have been given to the technology, including USB keys, pen drives and thumb drives. USB flash drives are portable devices that make it easy to transfer computer files. USB jump drives and flash drives both use the same type of flash technology that allow files to be saved to the drive.

Function

The function of the USB flash drive is to save digital files to allow for mobility. USB flash drives come in a wide range of memory capacities that make it possible to store a large number of files onto a single device. USB flash drives use flash memory technology which requires no moving parts in the drive itself. When files are saved to the USB flash drive an electronic signal is sent to a memory circuit located within the drive. The electronic signal instructs the memory circuit to store the file information on the USB flash drive.

Features

Depending on the manufacturer of the USB jump drive, additional utility features may be present when the drive is inserted into an available USB slot on the computer. Some models of USB flash drives include a user interface which allows for easier copying of files from a computer hard drive to the USB device. Other features of USB flash drives can prevent the drive from becoming damaged under extreme conditions.

Size

Storage capacities on USB flash drives vary in size up to 64 gigabytes. Developing technology is consistently increasing the amount of storage capacity available on USB flash drives.

Misconceptions

As a means of marketing USB flash drives based on their portability, different names have been associated with the device. Different manufacturers may refer to USB flash drives under a variety of names including jump drives or thumb drives, which may lend to the misconception that these are different devices using different technologies. All of these devices use the same flash memory technology. However the specific features of the device may vary based on the manufacturer.

Benefits

USB flash drives provide benefits beyond their portable size. USB flash drives operate from universal serial bus controllers that are preinstalled on computers. Since USB flash drives don't require the need to install any specific drivers in order to operate the device they can be used on multiple computers by simply plugging them into an available USB port.

References & Resources