The advent of flash drives (portable external storage devices) made data sharing easier and faster. However, flash drives have several setbacks, such as storage limits, low security levels, etc.
Do you want to learn how to share a file or folder with another user safely and quickly? If yes, this guide is for you.
What Is a Flash Drive?
A flash drive is a small, pocket-size external drive that you plug into your phone, camera, or laptop to save or retrieve digital data. You can use USB flash drives for backups, secondary storage, product information dissemination, and data transfer.
Also, flash drives can serve as bootable disks. This means you can store an operating system on a flash drive and use it to boot your PC. The ever-increasing storage capacities of flash drives make them a better alternative to writable CDs and DVDs.
Common Names for Flash Drives
USB flash drives have many names. They include the following:
- USB devices
- Flash sticks
- Thumb drives
- USB sticks
- Flash memory
- Jump drives
- Keychain drives
- Flash units
- Pen drives
- Flash memory sticks
- Data drives
How to Use a USB Flash Drive
Flash drives are portable and easy to use. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use them:
- Plug a USB flash drive into your computer’s USB hub or port.
- Locate and open the flash drive on your PC if needed. The flash drive’s window will likely open up automatically when you plug it in.
- Otherwise, open File Explorer from the Start menu and click on This PC on the left window pane. Then, locate and double-click on your flash drive’s icon under “Devices and drives”.
- Now, open another File Explorer window from the Start menu and navigate to the file or folder you want to copy.
- Right-click on it and select Copy.
- After that, switch to the flash drive’s window, right-click on it and select Paste.
- You can also select the files or folders you want to copy and then hold the mouse to drag them to the flash drive’s window.
- Lastly, right-click on the USB flash drive’s icon in the system tray and select Eject to disconnect the external storage device without corrupting your files.
Characteristics of a USB Flash Drive
1. Large storage capacity
USB flash drives have rendered writable DVDs and CDs obsolete. Although most USB drives have 2 GB to 64 GB of storage, their flash memory chips can hold up to a terabyte of data. This makes a flash drive a handy backup tool.
However, USB flash drives with large storage capacities are often expensive and not always readily available. If you want to transfer a big file or folder, you may have to do it in batches.
2. High transfer speeds
USB drives work at lightning speed with transfer speeds that range from 4 MB/s to 200 MB/s, depending on the model. This means you don’t have to wait too long to copy your files from and to your flash drive. Plus, flash drives are easy to use.
3. High compatibility
USB flash drives are user-friendly. They support virtually all digital devices. You can use a flash drive on your phone, camera, tablet, laptop, and other devices. This contributes to their broad usage and acceptance.
Flash drives can plug into PCs through USB 2.0 standard connectors. The USB 2.0 standard has the following connection types:
- USB Micro-A
- USB Micro B
- USB Mini A
- USB Mini B
The USB connection type determines the data transfer speed. However, USB 2.0 data transfer speeds cannot exceed 480 MB/s.
USB flash drives’ most glaring security risk is that they can get lost or stolen easily. If your data has not been backed up, that may mean hours of lost work and even financial losses.
Besides, many flash drives do not offer basic password encryption, leaving their contents vulnerable to prying eyes. Although you can secure flash drives with software encryption tools like VeraCrypt and BitLocker, encrypting them requires some tech savvy and patience.
What Can One Use Instead of a Flash Drive?
There are several alternatives to a flash drive depending on your needs.
If you use flash drives for backup purposes, you can try out cloud storage instead. It makes your data easily accessible anywhere in the world. Some cloud storage services also have a synchronization feature, making your files accessible on all your devices simultaneously.
If you use flash drives to share files with your recipients through a courier service, try out online file transfer platforms. One of them is FileWhopper, a secure data sharing platform that imposes no data limits.
What Is the Best Alternative to a USB Drive?
If you need to transfer large files and folders online, FileWhopper may be your best bet. It has the following advantages over many other data transfer solutions, including flash drives, cloud storage services and email:
1. No monthly/annual commitments
FileWhopper does not have any monthly or annual subscription fees. Instead, it uses a pay-as-you-go model that allows its users to pay only for the data they need to share – no long-term commitment is necessary.
2. No size limits
While flash drives, email services, and cloud options have strict upload size limits, there are no such restrictions with FileWhopper. This means you can send files and folders of 5GB, 100GB, 500GB, 1TB, and even 10TB in size on the platform.
3. Transfer progress protection
Most online data sharing platforms require a strong internet connection. This is because a network connection interruption during an upload or download can corrupt your files and reset your progress. This discourages many users from using online sharing platforms.
Fortunately, there are no such issues with FileWhopper. The file sharing platform uses a small desktop app during uploads and downloads to ensure your transfer picks up from where it left off once the connection is back. You can rest assured of the integrity of your files.
4. High security
The transfer service uses military-grade zero-knowledge encryption to protect your files and ensure maximum privacy. This means no one (not even the FileWhopper team) except you and your recipient can access your data. The tool generates a download link and password (you can create a password yourself if you like) without which no one can access your data.
5. Fast transfer
FileWhopper has tiny download and upload apps that ensure fast data transfer. The apps are user-friendly, complete the transfer process in the safest and fastest way possible, and self-destruct once the transfer is over. Also, you will get a delivery notification.
If you have a folder or file you need to share, you can head to FileWhopper.com right now and try it out — your first 5GB transfer is free.
Flash drives remain an excellent option for sharing data in areas with poor or no internet connection. You can also use them indoors or share non-sensitive files with your friends and family.
However, if you want to quickly transfer large files to a recipient in another geographical location, flash drives are out of the question. Consider opting for a more efficient and reliable solution, such as an online file transfer tool like FileWhopper.