Thumb Drive

What is a thumb drive? Do you use a thumb drive? Nowadays, we can find different kinds of storage devices, while thumb drive is one of them.


Thumb drive, namely USB flash drive or usb flash memory, is a type of storage media that plugs into computer’s USB port to store different types of data. A USB flash drive is called thumb drive due to its small size and shape, which is less than a few inches long.

Thumb Drive Manufacturers and Capacities

A thumb drive provides a convenient and easy way to store data. Some popular thumb drive manufacturers include: SanDisk, Samsung, Kingston, Patriot, Toshiba, Transcend, Acer, LG, PNY, etc. Although a thumb drive has small size, it has different capacities. The first thumb drive only has 8MB capacities. However, today, the capacities of thumb drive can be 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB. You can select different capacities of thumb drive as you like.

The First Thumb Drive

In the 1990s, storage media manufacturers attempted to find a method to store a large amount of data on a very small storage device. Hard drive is small, but it was not convenient. In 2000, IMB released the first thumb drive which was encased in a hard plastic shell. It has small size which can be put in a pocket or bag.

Reliability of Thumb Drive

A thumb drive is a reliable portable device for data storage. Since a thumb drive is encased in a hard plastic shell, it is not vulnerable to be damaged. Data stored on a thumb drive is relatively secure as long as you do not delete it due to mistake. However, a thumb drive has its limitations too. Data stored on a thumb drive is written to flash memory, data might be lost if the thumb drive is corrupted due to some reasons like virus infection or bad sectors.

What Is a Thumb Drive Used for?

A thumb drive has the similar function like an external hard disk drive, but it has much smaller size. So a thumb drive is more convenient. Usually, we can use a thumb drive in following situations:

1. Save different types of data

A thumb drive can be connected to different computers through computer’s USB port for data storage. Usually, you can use a thumb drive to save all kinds of files such as pictures, videos, music, office files and more. You can also edit those files on a thumb drive.

2. Transfer data from one computer to another

Since a thumb drive can be connected to different computers, it can be used for data transferring from one computer to another. It can transfer data with fast speed.

How to Transfer Files from One Computer to Another by Using Thumb Drive?

There are different methods to transfer data from one computer to another. One of the easiest and fastest ways is to use thumb drive. This tiny storage media can hold a large amount of data. A thumb drive is plug-and-play compatible, so you do not need to reboot system for the drive. As long as you insert the thumb drive to the computer’s USB port, it can be recognized soon. Then, you can follow the steps below to transfer files from one computer to another:

Step1. After connecting the thumb drive to your computer, you can open the drive which contains the files you want to transfer. Then, you can copy all needed files and paste them to the thumb drive.
Step2. After pasting all files to the thumb drive. You can remove it safely from your computer.
Step3. Plug the thumb drive to another computer and open the thumb drive.
Step4. You can copy the files you want to transfer and then paste to the computer’s hard drive.


When you need to remove the thumb drive from computer, you should remove it safely. You had better not remove the thumb drive during data transferring which may cause thumb drive corruption or data loss.

Comparison with External Hard Drive

Compared with external hard drive, a thumb drive seems to be cheaper. As a matter of fact, a thumb drive cost more per gigabyte than an external hard drive. In addition, an external hard drive often has larger capacity than a thumb drive. However, thumb drive has smaller size, which is more convenient to carry. You can put a thumb drive in a pocket of your suit, but an external hard drive cannot.

Possible Errors on Thumb Drive

During the usage of a thumb drive, you may meet some problems on it. When thumb drive shows error, you may encounter data loss problem, so you should use your thumb drive properly to avoid such kind of error:
1. USB thumb drive needs to be formatted before you can use it
2. Thumb drive cannot be recognized by computer
3. I/O device on thumb drive
4. Thumb drive is not accessible or readable
5. Thumb drive shows as RAW drive and has 0 byte space
When you meet such kind of thumb drive error, you had better stop using it and then try to recover files from it first of all.

Reasons for Thumb Drive Error

Thumb drive error is one of the most common situations for data loss. Usually, such kind of error can be result of various reasons. Here are some possible but not all reasons:

1. Thumb drive is attacked by virus

Has your thumb drive been infected with any virus? Usually, a thumb drive might be infected with virus when you connect it to a computer which contains virus or when you save any virus-infected data to your thumb drive. Virus infection can corrupt the file system of your thumb drive and make it inaccessible, so you should use your thumb drive carefully.

2. Disconnect thumb drive improperly to PC

As you known, you always need to insert your thumb drive to a computer when you need to write or read data. After writing or reading data, you need to safely remove the thumb drive from your computer. If you often remove thumb drive unsafely, it may damage your thumb drive and cause unexpected disaster to it.

3. Remove thumb drive in data transferring or writing process

If you remove your thumb drive during data transferring or writing, it may cause damage to the data stored on the thumb drive. Therefore, it is strongly recommended not to remove your thumb drive when you are transferring or writing data on the thumb drive.

4. Thumb drive contains bad sectors

Data stored on the bad sectors will become unreadable. You can run Windows built-in Error-checking tool to check and repair possible bad sectors on your thumb drive to avoid data loss.

Use Thumb Drive Carefully to Avoid Physical Damage

Thumb drive provides a convenient solution for data storage and transferring, but thumb drive is not life long. A thumb drive might be physically damaged due to improper operation. For example, thumb drive might be damaged due to water damage or fire damage. Therefore, you should use your thumb drive carefully to protect it from being physically damaged. If a thumb drive is physically damaged, you have no chance to restore data stored on it.

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