So What Is It Good For? Flash Drives v. External HD

I had someone call me the other day saying that they had plugged their USB thumb drive into their computer and it wasn’t recognized. When they plugged it into another computer, it came back saying that it wasn’t formatted and need to be. They had been storing files on it and it had failed.

I recommended that for backing up files, the better option would be an external USB hard drive. They have much more capacity for storage, have a small footprint, easily fits into the computer bag, and hold up better than thumb drives do.

I’m not knocking flash drives. I have several that I use but for me there is a convenience in having something I can put in my pocket as I’m repairing computers. For most people, who need something to backup and store files on, I wouldn’t recommend it.

External USB drives are very inexpensive, have enough capacity to back up your entire hard disk, often times come with backup software to automate the task and most of the time will last for several years.

Flash drives have a purpose, it’s just not as a backup device. Use an external hard drive.


3 Responses

  1. Bill, I use Carbonite — is that enough or should I be doing more?

  2. Hi Bill,

    When it comes to data backup. most people take it casually. In my view, one should also consider the option of online backup services, before making the final decision.


  3. I learned the hard way that flash drives are not backup devices..

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