We sometimes get asked if USB flash drives will last forever. The simple answer is “No, but they are built to last for a decade or longer if taken care of properly.”
In today’s digital world, moving important digital information is often necessary. The Cloud is awesome, but it isn’t always an option because it cannot be accessed without an internet connection. It is for that reason USB flash drives are still routinely used, and some people even believe they are more safe. To learn more about both and how they compliment each other, read USB Flash Drives vs. The Cloud.
Additionally, USB flash drives are excellent for marketing. They can be customized to give your brand continued visibility, and they make excellent promotional gifts because after you give them to recipients and they view your content, they can reprogram them with content for themselves. However, your company brand will still be on them, which will help recipients remember you and what your company has to offer.
Problems and how to make USB flash drives last
While the number one killer of USB flash drives is write cycle wear out, they can also be rendered inoperable due to physical damage. Most USB drives come housed in durable plastic or metal bodies to protect them from shock damage, dirt, dust, scratching, and other forms of wear and tear. Unfortunately, they can still break for a number of reasons.
Each write cycle constitutes the use of a USB flash drive being connected to a host device and having data uploaded, accessed, or erased. Every time a USB flash drive is connected to a host device, it creates an energetic connection between the two devices that will have a physical effect on the memory chips. Over the course of thousands of connections and uses, the chips will begin to break down and wear out.
Also, while the hardware in USB flash drives is built to last, the USB connector hardware itself can only withstand around 1,500 insert-removal cycles before it begins to fail. As a result, the possibility of a USB flash drive becoming inoperable long before it hits 100,000 write cycles exists.
Here are other problems and advice on how to reduce their affects on USB flash drives:
- Connector wearout can be sped up considerably due to poor ejecting. When a USB flash drive is yanked out of the host drive without properly ejecting it, that can do damage to both the connector and the “guts”. Always make sure to take the time to correctly eject your USB flash drive. The handful of seconds you save by yanking it out aren’t worth the years it could shave off of the device’s lifespan.
- Physical trauma can ruin USB flash drives. While they are built to last, they can still break when they are dropped, stepped on, or left in pants and put into the washing machine, etc.
- Extreme temperatures and humidity are very destructive to USB flash drives. The electronics inside are not built to withstand extensive exposure to moisture or extreme temperatures in either direction, and if exposed to those conditions, they will become damaged beyond repair. To make USB flash drives last, always store them in climate controlled, safe temperate environments.
- Dirt and dust often ruin USB flash drives. Anytime a connector is left out in the open air, it runs the risk of getting dirt or dust inside the device. Dirt and dust can wear away at the memory chips and cause them to fail. To avoid damage from dirt and dust, it is best to keep USB flash drives covered up as much as possible.
- Using compressed air as a way to clean can ruin USB flash drives. The intense pressure from the canned air can damage the fragile insides of the electronic devices. A reliable way to clean a USB flash drive is to use isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol) with small dabs on a dry cloth, paper towel or cotton swab and then gently applying it to the connector. In general, the trick to cleaning all digital devices is to do it slowly and gently.
- Leaving a device plugged in too often or too long can ruin it. When an electronic device is plugged in for long periods of time, it becomes an energy sucker. Not only does this have an effect on energy bills, it also sucks the life out of the electronic device. When a USB flash drive remains plugged in, it is perpetually being inundated with energy that can overwhelm it over time and put too much pressure on the memory chips. To avoid this kind of damage, don’t leave USB flash drives plugged in when they are not being used.
Get the best USB flash drives from MediaFast
At MediaFast, we only use brand new, Grade A components built to last in all of our products. Their reliability and the satisfaction of our clients matter the most to us, and we are committed to providing excellent quality and outstanding customer service.
When it comes to cost, we keep our prices affordable without offering cheap products. In our opinion, buying cheap isn’t worth it. The cheaper the components, the lower level of satisfaction will result from using them. Low-quality components are not built to last. A cheap USB flash drive will break down and wear out much faster than a competitively priced, well made unit. Our USB flash drives are built to last, and we feel certain they are worth the cost.
To learn more about USB flash drives or any of our other marketing products, contact us today.