USB Flash Drives – A Warning!

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

This is a little warning to all those of us who use USB Flash Drives, the so-called USB Sticks, Memory Sticks, etc. to not to rely on them for – one – write & rewrite use like a mini hard drive and – two – also not to rely on them for long-term storage of data (without having a synchronized backup).

Why am I saying this? Because I am speaking from butter experience of having used a small lower-end of market USB Memory Stick as a kind of portable mini/micro hard drive transferring data between PCs but also writing articles onto the drive directly without, alas, I have to admit, making daily backups of the drive. Bad move on all counts.

Whether the device, that is to say the USB Stick was not shut off properly from the Windows PC before using it on the Linux PC I do not known and could not say but this is a distinct possibility. The, when I was trying to write an article to the drive it simply “locked” all files and folders and then ever so kindly wiped all the data contained on the memory stick. Oops! And I have no backup to some of the articles that were on that drive in draft format.

Hence the warning(s) to not to rely on flash medium, especially here the removable flash medium – and again here probably the cheaper one will be more prone to such problems – for – one – long term storage and – two – using them as external micro hard drives (without employing a data backup that is synchronized at least once a day if not more often).

While those drives are ever so handy and I am rather grateful to all the vendors on all the shows and fairs I get to attend that so kindly like to give away USB flash drives of various degrees of quality and I do have a rather nice collection of them and do make good use of quite a number of them, I still must issues the warning given here. It is the how we use them that will be the important thing here.

If we use them as a kind of micro dive then we do must endure that – one – the stick is from a good manufacturer of known quality and – two – that we have a backup of the data on that disc for the “just in case” moment.

We used to get the “backup, backup, backup” mantra chanted at us so often when floppy discs were in use and it was standard practice to have a backup of the backup even. We have become rather lazy now and come to trust the flash media more than we did the magnetic media of the floppy discs.

Backup of Backup it may not have to be but backup definitely and that in a synchronization kind of way.

© M Smith (Veshengro), April 2008