General Info

By: Mikio Moriyasu - Revised: 2006-05-17 devin


A brief introduction to USB flash drives.

USB Flash Drives

One of the hottest trends in personal computing is the move away from magnetic media based removable storage such as floppies and Zip disks towards USB Flash Drives.

Marketed under a variety of generic and proprietary names, these portable storage devices utilize nonvolatile electronically encoded Flash Memory that was original designed for use in computer BIOS.

Unlike Flash Memory cards or sticks which require a separate card encoder/reader, USB Flash Drives can be plugged into the USB port on a laptop or desktop computer. The system will then recognize, identify, and treat them as an external drive. This means the drives can be written to, read from, erased, reformatted, and even partitioned using either built-in or third-party disk utility software.

USB Flash Drives are relatively inexpensive, widely available in a number of capacities, very compact, easy to transport, and easy-to-use on most UNIX, Mac, and Windows based platforms.