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The USP of USB

A USB storage device is defined as a ‘Universal Serial Bus’ interface having mass storage properties. It has a  unique selling point  as it is a perfect device for transferring small to medium amounts of data between computers.

Basically, there are two main types of USB storage devices:
  • The USB mass storage devices of hard drives, memory card readers and keydrives
  • USB Flash drives supported ably by modern operating systems of Linux, Mac OS X, Unix and Windows
In short, a USB storage device is a device which stores data and interfaces with a personal computer using its USB interface. It further uses a standardised interface which allows communication with the host computer enabling usage and installation on modern operating systems. Features
  • The USB drive is compact, lightweight and portable
  • Less expensive and readily available owing to mass manufacture and low production costs
  • It has a storage capacity ranging from 32 MB- 64 MB
  • The USB drive is safe and convenient
  • Minimal data loss owing to its plastic/ metal casing which protects data loss from overexposure
  • The USB drive is designed in an automatic format. There is no need to reboot on insertion of the drive. The portable drive can be plugged in easily and is not open to any kind of electrostatic discharge
  • The drive is described to be compatible with all operating systems including an older version of Windows
  • The USB does not need any external power source such as batteries. The drive comes equipped with an internal power source
  • The USB drive has a longer life span compared to other disks.
Data Recovery According to the Data Recovery Experts at ONTRACK data Recovery Service, there is very little chance of permanent data loss in any USB storage device.
  • The drive is not susceptible to surface contamination through overexposure to heat, humidity or sunlight. Experts further claim that data corruption does not occur even if the drive is inserted in water
  • However, experts at Fields Recovery claim that the USB drive is highly insecure and unstable. It is open to virus attacks
  • Data stored on the drive is prone to theft and duplication due to its accessibility and portability
  • The drive has a tendency to lose data due to overwriting and reformatting. It is armed with a limited storage space coupled with a finite life span of 10 years. This begs for frequent changes by the user. You cannot use the same drive forever. If the drive is overloaded with information, there is a suspicion of previous data being permanently lost
  • On data loss, you need to unplug your computer and call the data recovery experts
  • Usually, the first step in the data recovery process is evaluation. The data loss is evaluated – the time element is important determining the amount of data which can be retrieved along with the nature of data recovered
  • Data recovery firms of Disklabs claim data retrieval of more than 97% of graphic data material lost
  • It is recommended to check all files stored on USB drives through antivirus software packages
  • In case of accidental deletion of data, more than 99% of the data can be recovered
  • Database files stored on USB drives can be recovered in their original grainy format
  • In case of partially damaged or corrupted partitions or bad spots, it is advisable to remove the USB drive immediately before the damage spreads. ONTRACK experts claim to recover your entire data lost due to partial damage of the USB drive
  • Data loss or storage of improper data can also occur. This means that due to the absence of a write mechanism on the drive, modifications to saved data cannot be done. In order to modify dataComputer Technology Articles, ONTRACK experts state that the data has to be deliberately damaged.

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James Walsh is a freelance writer and copy editor. For more information on Data Recovery see

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