Advantages and Disadvantages of a USB Drive
The acronym ‘USB’ stands for ‘Universal Serial Bus’ Interface. USBs are data storage devices that are removable, portable and rewritable.
USB Flash Drives are much smaller in size than CDs (compact discs) or the originally used floppy disks; floppies have become almost redundant these days. But the intended purposes of these devices are the same – data back-up, data storage and file transfer. Unlike floppy diskettes, USB drives are not prone to magnetic interference and surface scratches do not harm them or the data in comparison to a CD. In addition, USB drives are faster, more durable and reliable and come with different ranges of storage capacity.
The single most upfront advantage of a USB drive is the remarkable convenience it offers with regard to data storage. USBs have made the transport and transfer of files and information easier and faster from computer to computer. They are easy to carry around and their portability makes them a very handy device for people on the move; instead of carrying laptops or other devices for meetings, presentations and demonstrations, all the information necessary can be stored in a small and light USB drive and taken to the particular location where the drive can be connected to any port and information retrieved for usage.
USBs also provide additional advantages like:
• Nil or negligible power usage
• No fragile moving parts
• No loss of data from dust, exposure to magnetic fields or shocks, scratches etc.
• Denser data storage in comparison to other removable media like a CD or DVD.
However, USB drives also pose some disadvantages which should be noted.
• Some USB drives have been found to have weaknesses or chinks in encryption that can pose security threats as far as data exposure is concerned.
• Their very size and light-weight can also be a disadvantage at times. Loss of USB drives are quite common because their easy portability and small size can mean that they are lost more often in transit among papers, files or office equipment. Unlike larger devices that cannot get lodged in nooks and corners or fall out of pockets and briefcases, loss and misplacement of USB drives are a huge disadvantage.
• The design of the drive normally involves the use of a retractable USB plug which is prone to wear and tear or bending of the soft metal, in which the case the device become totally useless.
• These drives are not free from infection through viruses and worms and can easily transfer these from computer to computer resulting in data being corrupted. Sharing of USB drives indiscriminately between many computer systems with different software installations can make data unreadable over a period of time. This may mean that the data is lost forever if substantiated back-up is not done. Nowadays, scan programs are used to view files in a this kind of drive before they are downloaded, used and transported.