Life Expectancy of a USB Flash Drive

By Randall Shatto

A USB flash drive typically costs between $20 and $100, depending on the GIG size and the manufacturer. The life expectancy of this type of drive is a concern because the device is small and appears to be fragile. Before making a purchase, it is important to understand the mechanism and operation of the USB flash drive.

Significance

Transferring data from one point to another is vital in business and personal use. A USB flash drive is a data-storage device that often is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. Many models are equipped with a key chain hook. According to Candidity.org, a USB flash drive uses the flash memory from the computer through a USB port. This indicates that the USB flash drives are a quick, portable way to communicate from the USB drive to the computer.

Facts

According to Brian K. Lewis from Slo Bytes USB Flash Drives report, a USB flash drive contains a sturdy circuit board without any movable mechanisms. A silicone chip attached inside the flash drive is “nonvolatile memory.” Nonvolatile memory does not require a power source to function and to hold stored data. Thus, a USB flash drive keeps data indefinitely, at least for 10 years, without any loss of information. Since a plastic casing surrounds the circuit board, dropping, throwing or washing will not damage the USB flash drive.

Function

Typically, a standard USB flash drive moves data from one source to another. For example, you may use your USB drive to transfer a downloaded file from one PC to another. You may also move pictures from your computer to backup on your PS3. Since the life expectancy of the data on a USB flash drive is at least 10 years, some use a larger GIG drive as the main backup device.

Warning

The life expectancy of a USB flash drive may be limited because of its size. This device's compact size is an asset in that it is portable, but a liability in that it easily can be misplaced and lost. Taking the drive to school, work or on a business trip can be hazardous. Even around your home, these devices can turn up missing. When storing important documents and secret information, it is vital to keep the flash drive in a specific location. Always return the flash drive to this location after use.

Solution

The write and erase function on a USB flash drive is the main life expectancy source. According to the Slo Bytes USB Flash Drives report from Brian K. Lewis, flash drives are capable of handling 10 thousand to 10 million write and erase operations during their lifetime, depending on the source as well as the specific USB drive. Regardless, a flash drive typically will outlast any standard hard drive. The main concerns about the life expectancy of a flash drive are damage from neglect and becoming lost or stolen.