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USB flash drive reliability?

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NathanJ79's picture
Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
Joined: 2007-07-31 15:07
USB flash drive reliability?

How long, would you say, USB flash drives can be expected to perform reliably, given average to optimal care?

I carry my USB drive in my pants pocket, it gets kinda nicked up by my keys (just a couple) and I've dropped it a few times, but it's pretty sturdy. It's a little bigger than your average flash drive... search for "Corsair Readout" on Google Images; for me it was the first one to come up (strict SafeSearch on).

It's not acting up or anything, I'm just curious what y'all's experience with flash drive lifetime is.

gmbudwrench's picture
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 2007-06-25 05:00
Here's some info:
johntoh's picture
Last seen: 14 years 3 days ago
Joined: 2009-12-05 18:03
USB drives from good brands

USB drives from good brands generally work for more than 10 years. I have one from seagate from last 5 years and it works perfectly.Absolutely no issues.

Only thing to take care is not to put cracks on the drive i.e. don't drop too much to avoid cracks.

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Last seen: 13 years 8 months ago
Joined: 2010-03-17 14:25
As far as reliability goes,

As far as reliability goes, USB flash drives are very durable. They are “hot-swappable” (that is, removable without shutting down the computer) and “solid-state” (that is, no moving parts).

The best way to prevent losing data from a USB flash drive is to invest in a good quality device, unplug it when not in direct use, keep it in a safe, cool, dry place and always eject properly through the operating system.

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Mir's picture
Last seen: 11 years 4 months ago
Joined: 2007-12-03 16:07

I have found that flash drives can take more shock and abuse than any other sort of media. I have seen one submerged and come out working. i have seen one crushed by a semi truck and still work. What you need to worry about is electricity and magnitism. I have seen one sat next to a unshelded speaker and it ceased to work (damnit that was my thumbdrive T___T). I have seen one cease working after it was opened up and subjet to static electricity shocks. I myself have been subject to a shot burst on the USB port that destroyed a coworkers flash drive.

Yes they are durable but they still have theri vulnerabilities. as for longevity its all based on cycles. you can only write and read to a sector so many times in flash memory before it wears out. in a comparison a normal mechanical HD has over 1million read write cycles while flash devices have 100thousand read write cycles.

Kangarooo's picture
Last seen: 13 years 11 months ago
Joined: 2010-01-15 03:31
NTFS or FAT32 wears more?
"But actually NTFS isn't suitable for flash medias because as journalling file system it has some overhead that wears out flash memory. But Windows XP optimizes and bundles write accesses to pen drives only when they are NTFS formatted, so I see NTFS as the right choice."
"Let me put it this way: I strongly recommend that you backup the contents of that drive - also sooner rather than later." Once a week would be fine with portable apps backup.
"..Flash devices (or any "solid state" devices) don't gain a performance benefit from being defragmented.
But in reality things get worse. Much, much worse.
You should never defragment a flash drive.
Writing to flash memory causes it to degrade ever so slightly. (Reading does not.) The more you write to a flash device the shorter its lifespan will be."
Do not defragment never!!!!
"Unfortunately tools like chkdsk, scandisk and the like are unreliable when it comes to scanning flash drives for what on a hard disk would be called a "surface error". Flash drives aren't hard drives, and don't live, or die, by the same rules."
Wearing out makes bad sectors. Hence: buy a new one. Use programms with less writing.

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