There have been a number of wonderful inventions during the 20th and 21st century. Some of these creations have been both massive and minute. Very few of mankind’s modern creations have revolutionized working life so much as the USB flash drive though. Ok. now that might seem a bit much for some people but the reality remains the same – USB flash drives have made the working lives of millions of office workers, teachers, students, IT and other professionals massively more simple. If you already one (or a few) USB flash drives then you’ll know just how incredibly useful they are. If you don’t already own at least one USB memory stick then hopefully this article will help convince you of their absolute usefulness in both your working and personal life.

So what’s so great about USB flash drives?

Small

Prior to the creation of USB flash drives all external storage devices for computers were either bulky or awkward (dozens of blank discs for example) or sometimes an annoying combination of being both bulky and awkward. USB flash drives are also called Thumb Drives because they’re about the size of your thumb (although some are much smaller now) and you can easily fit several gigabytes of data in your jeans or shirt pocket thus eliminating the bulky and awkward factor straight away.

Portable

USB flash drives are about the single most portable data backup device possible. They don’t require an external power source of any kind, nor do you need any cables or tools to set them up and last but not least they don’t require any additional software to be installed for them to work on any modern computer (Windows XP, 2000 and Vista and most Macs) so you can quite literally pick them up and use them anywhere you want.

Reliable

Once the data is stored on a USB flash drive you can rest assured that it’s going to stay there and be there when you next need it. This is totally unlike the world of floppy disks or rewriteable CD/DVD discs where they can just stop working for no apparent reason. Flash drives were built to provide consistent and reliable performance. Most of these drives come with built-in write protection to prevent you from overwriting your own important data – if you were silly enough to do so.

Tough

For years people fiddled with boxes of floppy disks and CDs/DVDs. These were bulky, easily lost and easily damaged. External hard drives also provided another method of transporting data between systems but the smallest jolt was and is enough to kill an external hard disk stone dead. USB flash drives are based on what’s called Solid State Memory – this simply means that it’s the same as standard computer memory in that it has no moving parts and is therefore almost impossible to damage (except for jumping up and down on it or maybe hitting it with a hammer for example. Please don’t test either of these theories at home!)

Mass Storage

The first USB thumb drives only offered between 16MB and 64MB of storage space. The incredible popularity of these drives has driven the desire for more and more storage space to new heights every few months. Currently 8GB USB drives are becoming pretty common and it won’t be long before the 12GB and 24GB models hit the market. To put this in perspective 8GB is enough to hold 2 full DVD quality movies or about 2,700 high quality MP3 files – surely this is enough for you? No?

The portability of the USB flash drive combined with reliability and the more than generous storage provided by such a tiny device make them the smart choice for anyone who needs to move files between PCs or simply just keep a second copy of their most precious data on a secure and reliable storage device.

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