Flash drives can last a long time and are they are convenient, providing you care for them correctly, and use them correctly. Many people have not been informed as to how immediately a data loss can occur if a flash drive is not used properly, also, their design and construction create a potential risk and hazard that can shorten their life and lead to sudden failure.

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Here are some dangers to be aware of concerning your flash drive. The outside of the drive is usually stronger than the inside so while it is fairly sturdy when handling you need to be concerned about the possible contamination that can take place from the environment that it works in. The tiny circuit board inside the drive has a controller chip and the memory chip. The type of memory inside is called NAND memory (for the techie in you!). While we may not be immediately concerned about damage to the circuit board we need to know that bending, breaking, jamming, stepping on, a flash drive is not good for the board and the connectors attached to it. But, most of the failures occur from people not protecting the flash drive from the environment as previously stated. Some of the things to keep away from your flash drive are dirt, moisture (getting it wet), excessive heat or cold, dust and lint. These vulnerabilities usually enter in through the USB connector portion of the drive. And let’s not forget to mention that the contaminants can be transferred into the USB port of the computer which in turn can disrupt other devices that may be inserted into the same port. It’s a good idea to try to obtain a flash drive that covers or conceals the USB portion of the drive and only exposes it when you’re ready to plug it into the computer.

Finally I would like to mention the number one way people lose their DATA on a flash drive. They remove it from the computer BEFORE the computer is ready. You need to “stop” the device from operation so the computer can transfer any last bit and byte of information to the flash drive and close the operation.

Here is a direct quote from Microsoft on the subject:

“If you unplug a storage device or removable drive from your computer while it’s transferring or saving information, you might risk losing some information. Windows provides a way to help you safely remove such devices.
Most USB devices can safely be unplugged and removed. When unplugging storage devices, such as USB flash drives or external hard drives, make sure that the computer has finished saving any information to the device before removing it. If the device has a small light that shows when it’s use, wait a few seconds after the light has finished flashing before unplugging it.
If you see the Safely Remove Hardware icon in the notification area, at the far right of the taskbar, you can use this as an indication that your devices have finished all operations in progress and are ready to be removed. If you don’t see the Safely Remove Hardware icon, click the Show hidden icons button to display all icons in the notification area.”

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And here’s the link to read more:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/safely-remove-devices-from-your-computer

By following the advice just given you can expect years of good use from your flash drive!

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