Tough Flash Drives: How a Basic Flash Drive can Withstand Tough Conditions

By · Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Tough Flash DrivesThe little device you probably carry around on your keychain, in your purse, or even have tucked away in a desk drawer is a lot tougher than you might expect. USB flash drives are designed to take daily punishment for years and still function at the end of the day. This durability has more than likely contributed to USBs massive adoption worldwide. But exactly how tough are they?

We all know that dropping technology is never a good thing and that depending on the device, even a simple 2 foot fall could bring about its death. In the case of a USB Drive however, you will need much more than that to break this little device. Flash drives are known for having no moving parts and because of this robust design a simple fall has little no affect on the USB. In fact even dropping a USB from even 10 feet usually has no affect except some minor case damage.

What about water, can a USB drive survive water? USBs are known for surviving conditions that would otherwise destroy other backup solutions; water being one of them. Common sense tells us that dropping an electrical device into water would bring about its demise; however, flash drives have been known to repeatedly go through washing machines and come out unscathed. Now this is not to say that they cannot be damaged if immediately plugged into a computer. If there is still water or enough moisture in the drive, you can damage or destroy it if you plug it in as the water is conductive. So can a flash drive survive water, yes; but not when immediately plugged in.

How durable are flash drives compared with other backup devices? Well let us take a look at what is currently available on the market. Your options are: CDs, DVDs, BDs, External Hard Drives, External SSDs, and SD Cards. However out of these options only three are going to be tough enough to be competition for a flash drive; the external hard drive, the external SSD, and the SD card. The optical media is great for storing data, but a single scratch could be the end of your data, so they’re out.

Out of the available three left for comparison, an external hard drive proves to be a great way to store massive amounts of data, but its only downfall is that it has moving components and is prone to damage from falling. An external SSD mixes the best of both worlds of NAND flash technology like a USB, with high capacities of a traditional hard drive. However the cost of SSDs are extremely high and out of reach for the majority of consumers.

Only a SD card truly poses a threat for USBs dominance on storing your data in a protective container, but even an SD card has downfalls. First they are not as widely used as USBs and thus you will have a harder time accessing your data on the go. Next SD cards are shielded with a thin outer casing, but nowhere as durable or as thick as a standardized flash drive.

So how durable is a flash drive; more durable than you probably expected. They can survive being dropped, crushed, dipped into water, as well as other day to day occurrences that traditional data storage methods may fail.

Tell us your stories, what have you accidentally done to a USB Drive and it survive?

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