Reusing USB Flash Drives

The History of Flash Drives

Due to advances in technology, USB flash drives are larger and faster than ever before. Flash drive technology has been around since early 2000. They were invented as an alternative to 3.5-inch floppy drives and CDs.

The main appeal of the USB drive was the increase in storage that USB flash drives could offer. Floppy drives could only store a maximum of 1440 kilobytes, whereas flash drives started at a capacity of 8000 kilobytes.

Combined with the acceptance and spread of USB technology, flash drives quickly supplanted floppy disks as a storage medium.Image result for Reusing USB Flash Drives

Flash Drives vs. Hard Drives

Even outside of the size increase, USB flash drives boasted much faster access speeds as well. Flash drives can access stored information almost instantly, because the information is not stored on a spinning platter like a hard drive.

Hard drives become slower and less reliable over time because their platter or spinning mechanism can fail. In addition to this, hard drives are tough to move around, as they are usually installed in a slot inside of a computer. USB flash drives can last much longer because there are no moving parts that can fail, only circuitry.

Although hard drives are typically known for their much larger storage size, modern flash drives can store up to 2 TB, just as much as hard drives. Combined with their speed and portability, flash drives are quickly becoming the de facto choice for moving large files across computers without the aid of a cable or the internet.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that people use flash drives to store portable programs and even operating systems.

Reusing a Flash Drive

Because flash drives and hard drives are so different, people may ask about the differences in usage of the two. Luckily, a flash drive behaves almost exactly like a hard drive.

You can copy to and from a flash drive, even if it’s a custom made flash drive, that is plugged into your computer much like a hard drive. Flash drives are rewritable, and so it simply a matter of copying and deleting files as needed.

The case may arise when the entire flash drive may need to be erased, whether for reuse or repurposing. This can be done with a method called reformatting.

Reusing a Flash Drive on Windows

Reformatting in Windows is very simple.

1) Connect the flash drive to the computer

2) Navigate to the Computer pane in Explorer. All of your drives will be listed.

3) Right click the drive you wish to erase and select “Format…”

4) Follow the instructions in the prompt

Reusing a Flash Drive on Mac

1) Connect the flash drive to the computer

2) Run the program Disk Utility

3) Select your drive and click “Erase”

Reusing a Flash Drive on Linux

1) Connect the flash drive to the computer

2) Run the program “Disks”

3) Select the flash drive to be erased on the left side

4) Click the gear icon and select “Format”

As you can see, the process for erasing a flash drive is very simple. Once a flash drive has been erased (formatted) it can be used like usual.'