USB Flash Drive Myths Busted Part 2

By · Friday, October 21st, 2011

USB USB flash drive myths part 2 This isn’t the first time we’ve dispelled USB flash drive myths.  Previously, we’ve proved that these sturdy little storage devices can be immune to damage from things like magnets and water.  Now we’re back for round 2 to lay more misconceptions to rest and demonstrate that flash drives are as awesome as we’ve always known them to be.

Myth #1: Custom USB flash drives need file defragmenting.

In a nutshell, defragmenting is a process that is meant to move your system’s files in a more efficient order so that it’s easier for your system to access them, which therefore speeds things up.  However, this only holds true for devices that have rotating mechanics, like hard disk drives.

The effectiveness of defragmentation depends on a read/write head finding your files—which is a moot point for a flash drive since it doesn’t have one like a hard drive would.  If anything, defragmenting will eat up some of the memory blocks of your write cycles.  Even then, you have a lot of write cycles, but defragmenting is essentially an unnecessary step.

Myth #2: USB flash drives are not secure enough for storage.

Despite alarmist reports you hear about flash drive security on what seems to be a monthly basis; it all boils down to the user.  Your custom USB drive has all the potential to be a secure storage device; it’s just up to you to arm it with the proper protection.

In the event that you already have a flash drive without iron-clad hardware encryption, you can easily download a number of quality flash drive apps.  These USB security software programs will encrypt partitions and protect the drives with passwords as well as secure them from malware attacks.

It’s also up to the user to prevent loss, which opens up a drive to security threats.  A precaution as simple as attaching it to your keyring or never leaving it outside of a locked drawer may be just the thing to solve your worries.

Myth #3: Custom flash drives are an unreliable form of backup.

With the growing advancements in NAND flash, this statement is so false.  Flash drives now have upwards of 1 million write cycles, meaning that even if you wrote data on one more than a dozen times daily, it would take decades before the write cycles ran out.  NAND is also engineered with built-in error correction code (ECC) to combat bit errors that could potentially jeopardize your data.

What’s more is that no matter how reliable your digital backup method is, it’s important to be redundant about it and back up in multiple locations.  You never want to depend on one device, since the unexpected can and will happen.

Can you think of any common USB flash drive misconceptions?  Weigh in below!


I was reading your site looking for some info I don’t see buy you might know. I have been testing a few notebooks (that come without cd/dvd’s) and find that some notebooks will not boot a pe flashdrive. I have a card reader and have to plug and unplug it every time I switch cards in it and notice is says ‘USB’ drive for the card reader even without a card in it. This made me think the OS (maybe the bios?) will detect this reader as a USB drive (such as an external usb hard drive?) so my questions are two.
1. can a flashcard (SD card) be made to run PE off it? And if so,
2. can a notebook or desktop boot from a usb reader with a properly set up card in it?
I think this would be a great help if the usb-reader is more easily recognized by the bios than the flashdrives are.

What do you know about this? I have seen a few utilities that format flashdrives as fat12, 32, ntfs… I’ve tried them all on some notebooks and they just don’t recognize them. But a bios will recognize what it thinks is a standard usb drive right? (so question becomes what format and recognition is an SD card or more correctly probably would be what is the usb-card reader recognized as at the bios-boot time level?