Flash drives are essential technological tools for students who need a portable means to edit and submit their work. They are affordable and generally reliable, but it is important to take proper care of flash drives in order to avoid the files they contain becoming corrupted or lost. Below are some basic steps to properly handle flash drives and protect the information they contain.
1. Don’t put them in the pockets of your pants or shirt
Many things can happen:
- The heat from your body can create moisture, which may condense into the drive and cause corrosion and damage of electronic components therein.
- Small bits of dust, dirt and fluff that find their way into pockets can make their way into the connector and cause a short circuit that would damage the electronic components next time it is connected to power.
- You could bump into something very hard, causing the connecter to get bent of break off completely.
Don’t place the drive on your key chain either for similar reasons. If you need to transport it, carry it around in a clean dry place and ensure the protective connector cover is on at all times it’s not in use.
2. Avoid plugging it into the computer indefinitely
There are cases where users of broken flash drives come to recover data from flash drives, claiming that they used it, left it plugged into the computer and working fine only to return and find that the computer could no longer recognize the device. While this is uncommon, a power surge onto the USB port can cause malfunction and damage to the electronic components on the drive. On the other hand, perhaps someone inadvertently bumped into it spoiling the connector. To be safe, safely remove your flash drive from the computer when you are not using it and put it somewhere safe.
3. Avoid running software from the flash drive
Each flash drive comes with a predetermined number of read and write cycles, and once you’ve exhausted them the flash drive can no longer be used. When you save and retrieve documents, you use single cycles per retrieval or write function, but running software applications from the flash drive will use multiple read/write cycles. This means that you reduce your available cycles faster by running software.
If you have to run software applications from your flash drive, for example password recovery application for Windows, use an inexpensive drive, and ensure that you also do not have important documents saved to it. Back up all the files that are in the flash drive regularly just to be safe.
4. Create a backup
The truth of the matter is that flash drives are electronically produced components with a limited lifespan; no matter how well maintained they are. You should therefore have some scheme of regular backup for your flash drive on your computer.
You can use backup software that creates backups automatically or purpose to do it manually every so often. Either way, having a backup of your flash drive can save you a lot of hassle should anything happen and protects your important files.