What is the definition of a USB flash drive? USB flash drives are external memory devices that connect to a computer through the computer's USB port. They use flash chip technology to store information, and USB flash drives are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways for people to store and transfer data and personal files. But what separates them from other storage devices of the past, such as a floppy disk or a CD?
Flash Drives Versus Floppies And CDs
A flash drive is able to hold more data than floppy disks or CDs, typically around 8 gigabytes of data. More sophisticated and expensive flash drives can hold 128GB of data. In order for floppies or CDs to store information, they had to be spun around rapidly for the data to be written or read. A flash drive simply needs to be inserted into any USB port on a computer to transfer files.
Flash Drives Versus Hard Drives
Flash drives also work differently from your computer hard drive. Hard drives contain moving parts and require a constant flow of electricity to store data. The flash chip, on the other hand, is divided into cells and has no moving parts. To store data, these cells are either assigned a value of 0 or 1, known as a bitline. These are determined when an electrical field is applied to the flash drive, which happens when the drive is plugged into a USB port on a computer. When you are adding or removing files to the flash drive, the bitline is sequenced. The sequencing of 0s and 1s is how computers organize and recognize data to interpret.
So the definition of a USB flash drive is any device that connects to a USB port on a computer and utilizes the technology described above. You may hear the terms "flash sticks" or "jump drives" in reference to other USB devices. These are just other names for flash drives. Whatever name they go by, these USB flash drives represent a major advance in data storage technology.
How does a USB jump drive work? These tiny devices can plug right into any computer that has a USB port, and they don't have moving parts, which makes them more compact.