How To Guides

Flash USB Drives: Backup Easily, Conveniently And Securely

USB flash drive or any other flash memory drive is basically an EEPROM that means “Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory”.

USB flash memory sticks are nothing but an assembly of EEPROM, a controller with a RISC microprocessor, RAM and ROM. All of this interacts with a computer using a USB controller and connector.

Because USB sticks are EEPROM these can hold data for as long as 10 years. As these memory modules are shock proof and as these don’t have a volatile memory are good enough to sustain shock and humidity to some extend that is casual abuse that includes run through a washing machine, or even dropped in coffee.

UBS thumb drives normally don’t require drivers but with few old operating systems like Windows 98 and Windows 95 you need drivers that are provided by the manufacturer. Latest OS consider USB drives as USB Mass storage devices and have built in support for these drives that means you don’t need any drivers just plug in the drive and start using it.

Some Linux versions might recognize it but won’t let you use it until you manually mount the drive. To mount to drive manually use the command

“mount -vfat (drive to mount) (directory to mount at)”
Eg. “mount -vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/usbdrive”

Manufacturers are also coming up with systems that have bios support for USB that means you can boot from the small USB drive. There are different versions of operating systems coming up that can be installed on a ROM and are so small to fit a USB drive as well. Most of these OS versions are Linux based for example Damm Small Linux.

USB drives are mainly used to carry personnel data. But you need to be very careful with your personnel data now days. You can have anything in your personnel data collection that you have forgotten for example bank account details or anything. Try using some encryption engine to secure your data. You can use encrypted file system over the USB drive but then you will be able to access your drive only at few computers not all. Or you can have a encryption application that can run without installation from your USB. The best would be to use biometric USB drives.

Tired of switching CD/DVD discs while backing up? Flash USB drives to the rescue!

If you already backup often, you are doing the most you can to secure your files against accidental file deletion and recovery, file damage and what not. Also, you may be considering making your backups as easy and painless as possible. So what may be a remedy to this issue?

Naturally, you need to consider several backup media and select the one suitting your needs and requirements. Among all, CD, DVD and flash USB drives are considered.

You may as well use CD to backup, but you will either need to dump CD-R discs often, or insert a CD-/+RW discs often to make another backup. Someone else can also misplace your backup CD disc or overwrite your backup data with other information. Moreover, a CD only admits about 700Mb of data, which may not be convenient. Nor is storing multiple CDs of your backup copy.

The same can be said about backing up to DVD. Of course, a DVD admits from 4.7Gb to about 18.6Gb of data, but is it really convenient backing up to DVD? An external hard disk drive or a flash USB drive will be speedier, more reliable and easier overall.

Here is when a flash USB drive comes handy. It not only allows faster data copying than CD or DVD, but can also admit from 256Mb to 4Gb of data (or maybe more). Moreover, you can take the USB drive with you anywhere you go and transfer the data between distant computers without resolving to FTP backup. Of course, one of the drawbacks of a flash USB backup is that the drive is only limited to about 100 000 writings, while another slight disadvantage (or an advantage, if you put it nicely) is that the device is so small you can easily misplace it.

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