thumb drives

How Long Should a Thumb Drive Last?

SanDisk Thumbdrive

Episode 1784

Joe from Uttica, NY

Joe wants to know if thumdrives should last a long time. Leo says that they have a limited life span, but it's gotten better and better. But they are primarily for short-term storage.  Even then, a thumbdrive wears out by writing to it over and over again, not reading from it. So if you load it up with music to listen from, for instance, it won't overheat due to reading from it. That happens when you write to it.

Why is my 64GB Thumb Drive Only 32GB?

 thumb drives

Episode 1573

Mark from Effingham, Illinois

Mark uses thumb drives to transfer data and then format them. But when using 64GB drives, when he formats them, it formats to 32GB. What gives? Leo says it's probably either a counterfeit drive or a faulty drive that's losing sectors. Even if he bought it on Amazon, he could end up getting a counterfeit drive if not careful. But when formatting, the OS can decide to write off bad or unreliable sectors as well.

Can I run Windows on a thumb drive?

USB thumb drive

Episode 1457

Richard from Spring Hill, FL

Richard wants to know if he can run Windows off a thumb drive for security. Leo says that's a smart idea and it's not uncommon for Linux users. He should just understand that it will be slower. But it will enable him to simply reboot if something goes wrong. Leo recommends using a disk imaging command to make a disk image onto his thumb drive and then he can just blast it back on when it goes wrong. He can even make it bootable.

How can I image a hard drive to a large thumb drive?

DriveImage XML

Episode 1435

Mike from Norwich, CT

Mike has a 1 TB thumb drive that shows up as a 2 TB drive. Leo says it could have been mislabeled. He should look in his disk management console. He can get there by right clicking on the Start menu, and selecting disk management. It will give him a more accurate indication of the size. If it's 2TB, then it was mislabeled. Also, since Mike bought it off eBay, it's something to be careful with. Can he use it to copy another hard drive? Leo says sure. He should try DriveImage XML to do it.

Will USB become obsolete?

Transcend JetFlash 790 USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Episode 1335

Rowan from San Bernardino, CA

Rowan wonders if USB thumb drives are becoming obsolete like so many other data drives before it. Leo says that no format will last forever, but there's still plenty of life left in USB. We need to keep an eye on how technology progresses and transfer the data over when the time comes, though. Rowan will likely be able to get an adapter for USB-C, which is the current standard. The other thing he can do is use an open source backup, like TAR, which will make the backup easily transferrable. The best way is to go into the cloud, though. He should have both.

How can I transfer images from my camera to a thumb drive without a computer?

Episode 1225

Sam from Idaho

Sam would like to create modern baby book via thumb drives, transferring the images from a digital camera directly. Leo says that there are Wi-Fi enabled SD cards called EyeFi, which allow users to transfer the images directly to a computer. Some cameras have something called "USB On the Go" thanks to their Android operating system. However, Doctor Mom also says that HIPPA privacy regulations could be an issue there, though. The best method would probably be just to give them the SD card.