There are so many options for storing and transferring data: USB flash drives, CDs and other physical media, external hard drives, online storage in the cloud...
USB Flash Drives: Premium Storage
So what are USB flash drive advantages compared to all the alternatives? Are USB flash drives the best storage solution commonly available today?
The most honest answer is: sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on your particular needs. But USB flash drives are best is one respect: itís always the most flexible choice. So letís look into this and compare the advantages of each storage option and one at a time...
USB flash drive advantages over CDs
CDs are a wonderful archiving solution: you can burn your data to a CD-R or CD-RW, and then store the CD in a safe (preferably fire-proof) place. Itís also an easy-to-mail solution. But for everyday use, USB flash drive advantages outnumber the benefits of CDs.
USB drives offer orders of magnitude more storage than CDs. A single USB drive can hold the equivalent of a dozen CDs and still fit in your pocket! Plus, USB drives can house programs in addition to data: itís possible to run an entire operating system off a USB drive. While you can do this with a LiveCD, you canít save your personal customizations, configurations or data to a CD the way you can a USB. Advantage: USB flash best.
USB flash drive advantages over external hard drives
Here, the opposite is true: external hard drives offers much higher storage capacities than a USB drive. If you have a lot of data to store - maybe a music or video collection - that you might want to hook up to different local computers, an external hard drive could work well.
But for true portability, is USB flash best here too? Yes. External hard drives are portable only compared to internal hard drives, but they canít compete with a USB drive. Plus, flash drives use solid-state memory, meaning there are no moving parts. Hard drives with those moving parts are much more susceptible to damage and lost data when being moved around.
USB flash drive advantages over online storage
Tons of services allow you to store files online. This is a great solution for easy, near-universal access. However, its flexibility again makes USB flash best. First, USB drives can run your preferred programs and operating systems in addition to storing data. Second, you donít need an internet connection to work off a USB drive. Third, if the internet connection is painfully slow, a USB drive will zip along at its own speed. This is a major advantage to flash: speed. Finally, if youíre working from a location whose firewall prohibits access to the sites with your files youíd be surprised how often legit sites get inadvertently blocked, you can still get to your files with a USB drive.
Your priorities decide if these USB flash drive advantages make USB flash best for your needs.
In short, we canít really answer the question in all situations because it depends. So you tell us: is USB flash best for you? Can you think of advantages weíve missed? We can say without hesitation that a USB flash drive has the advantage in adaptability: it can simply do more, more quickly and more easily than any other single alternative.
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