Steve Flannery

Steve Flannery

Everybody uses them. From saving essential documents to copying music and movies, we all have our reasons why we need them. If you are collecting data, flash drives or memory sticks are a must. Yet people keep damaging or losing them because of the mistakes flash drive owners are guilty of.

Question: Do you worry about losing your memory sticks? You may not worry, but for companies and businesses lost devices add up to millions of dollars.

Companies lose Millions because of lost memory sticks

companies lose millions due to usb drive loss

According PC World, companies are losing an average of 2.5 million dollars from lost memory sticks.

In a study conducted by Ponemon Institute, there is an average loss of 12,000 customer, consumer, and employee records from missing USB sticks. That’s an average of $214 per record lost.

If that information and amount of money lost doesn’t bother you, I don’t know what will. 

However, if you are someone who cares about data and your memory sticks, here are some simple things you need to know to take care of your flash drives.

Avoid placing them inside the pockets of your jeans

This is the most common of many mistakes flash drive owners are guilty of, and many people are doing it. But who can blame them? Memory sticks are so small and portable that using one’s pockets is the easiest way to carry them around.

Right, but wrong.

Placing your USB sticks inside your pockets create the following problems:

  • Your body produces heat, which causes these gadgets to produce moisture. Remember that these are electronic devices, and the humidity that your body heat creates will put the internal circuitry at risk.
  • People also risk losing their memory sticks when they take things out of their pockets. For example, you dig into your pocket for some coins or change and without knowing it your memory stick falls to the floor. Good-bye memory stick.
  • In addition, tiny dust particles that can’t be easily seen may accumulate in your pockets. Dust can get inside delicate parts of your memory stick, and the next time you plug it in, a short circuit may happen and damage the device.
  • Another possibility that may occur is bumping into something hard that may hit your pocket and cause damage to your memory stick.

Don’t place your USB sticks on keychains

usb flash drives being used as keychains

Second in the list of mistakes flash drive owners are guilty of is attaching them to keychains. USB sticks dangling from keychains are pretty standard practices for students and others who own these devices. Some people even place them on a ring with their car keys. All bad ideas.

Dangling memory sticks are prone to bumps and other causes of physical abuse. They are not invincible devices, and constant exposure to bumps may damage them. A corrupted memory stick means a loss of files.

Also make sure that you always keep their protective cover in place to avoid dust from entering the device.

Unplug it from your computer when not in use

Third in our list of mistakes flash drive owners are guilty of happens inside homes. Many USB stick owners leave their devices plugged into their computers for long periods. Not good. The flash drive may have been working correctly when they left it, but when they return it is not uncommon to see a message saying that the flash drive cannot be recognized anymore.

In addition, when leaving a flash drive plugged into your computer indefinitely, a power surge may hit one of your USB ports. If this happens, it may cause your stick to malfunction and damage other electronic parts.

To be safe, don’t leave your USB stick plugged in when not in use.

Make sure to remove it safely

Your computer has a safety function feature that lets you remove your USB stick safely. Please, by all means, don’t randomly unplug your device without making sure to click the “remove safely” option of your computer.

Also, never pull or unplug your stick from your USB port when it is in use, like writing or copying files. Doing so will damage the device and render it unreadable and useless.

Do Not Run Software On Your Flash Drives/Memory Sticks

There is another thing you should know about your flash drive. When you write data on it, there is a function called read or write cycles. Once these are exhausted, your flash drive cannot be used anymore.

When you are copying files onto your memory stick, you use single cycles of these threads. However, if you run software from your flash drive, you consume multiple read and write cycles. This means you shorten the lifespan of your memory sticks much faster than what they are intended for. So, if you want to run a software, copy it first on your computer before running it.

Don’t place flash drives on vibrating surfaces such as a stereo

External flash drives are susceptible to vibration. They act like internal hard drives except that they aren’t attached to a motherboard. If you place a flash drive on top of a vibrating surface like a stereo playing your favorite song, then consider the flash drive a goner. The vibration will damage the mechanics that act as a read and write function inside the flash drive. 

Always place your memory sticks or drives on a flat, dry surface that is not vibrating.

Do not render files into your external drives/memory sticks

Let’s say you are editing a video or producing music. Of course you need to render your final project’s output to a drive, but never use external drives or memory sticks as a rendering destination. Rendering requires massive computer power and resources that external drives aren’t made to handle. Instead, choose an internal hard drive as a destination point when you are going to render your video or audio project files.

Final Comments

Flash drives cost money. Some are expensive. Some are cheap, yet they cost money. Moreover, what we store in them can be far more valuable than the drives themselves.

Making sure that they last long and are not lost from your personal inventory will surely benefit you and your business. So avoid making the mistakes just mentioned in this article.

If you are interested in reading more awesome articles about computers and related materials, go visit our blog at Steve’s Computer Repair.

Have a great day!

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