Almost everyone knows what a USB flash drive is, but fewer know exactly how to care of them. A USB drive, despite being robust and rugged, can be damaged or even destroyed given the right circumstances. However there are ways at preventing your flash drives from becoming piles of broken electronics.
First let us look at the most popular ways in which flash drives go to their graves. The first and most obvious reason a flash drive would fail would be to environmental damage. Flash drives are actually quite resilient to a beating and temperatures, as well as humidity levels, but if any limit is exceeded, then the drive could stop working entirely.
Water is the probably most obvious cause of environmental damage to a flash drive as electronics and conductive liquid don’t mix; but what about excessive heat? Well a flash drive can be damaged or even destroyed if it gets too hot or is exposed to high temperatures. Inside the flash drive is flash memory, and inside the flash memory your data is stored in what are called “cells”. These storage cells can be affected by adverse temperatures and can potentially delete or damage your data if exposed for too long. In some cases, your USB and data could be lost forever.
Solution: Always keep your favorite USB drive near your work station or protected from the elements in some way, shape, or form. Or an alternative solution would be to pick up a flash drive that is made to withstand these extremes.
Another environmental foe to the flash drive is gravity! Although this is fairly uncommon, some lesser quality drives are at risk. Gravity tends to destroy things dropped from adequate distances and in this case, only a few feet could prove to be disastrous for your drive. Most drives would survive this fall, so there isn’t much to be feared here; however, if you repeatedly drop a drive or perhaps drop a drive and something runs over it, then you may lose your data.
Solution: Perhaps the most popular way to help keep your drive from falling would be to either attach it to a lanyard or keychain. These two simple accessories believe it or not make a giant difference. Not to mention that these two also help you carry your drive when you are on the move.
Another major say flash drives get damaged is through human error. Don’t be fooled, people play one of the biggest roles in flash drive destruction. Every drive that is left in the cold, inside a hot car, or even thrown in the washer is a result of human error. But people can also unknowingly damage their drive when they don’t know that they did.
A popular way to ruin a flash drive is to accidentally unplug the drive when it is in the middle of transferring files. This simple mistake has led to some of the biggest losses of data and can actually not only harm your drive; it can potentially harm your computer as well. This becomes increasingly troublesome for those who use USBs as automatic backups as quite often people unplug the drive while it is backing up your files.
Solution: If you are using a USB drive as a backup device you are already a step ahead of the game, but always make sure that your drive is not being currently used by the computer before pulling it out. It is better to take five seconds and check the drive than it is to spend the next five hours re-creating all your lost data.
Having a flash drive get ruined is probably an inevitable event, but there are some things you can do to prevent loss of your data. If you have a funny or tragic story of lost data, share it with us below.