USB hard drive versus USB flash drive

In this day and age we’re flooded with technical jargon, so mixing up your flash drives and your hard drives is perfectly forgivable. But what is the difference? The tech gurus at YOURLifeChoices are here to lay out the facts.

USB flash drive, hard drive, difference, compare, technology, computers

In this day and age we’re flooded with technical jargon, so mixing up your flash drives and your hard drives is perfectly forgivable. But what is the difference? The tech gurus at YOURLifeChoices are here to lay out the facts.

What’s the difference?

USB hard drive

A USB hard drive is an external hard drive that connects to your computer via a USB cable. They are usually rectangular in shape and come with external casing to protect the drive. External hard drives are useful for storing or backing up important documents, files, photos and other information that you may not use all that often.

USB flash drive

A USB flash drive is usually about as big as your thumb and also connects to the USB port on your computer. USB flash drives are now used in place of floppy disks and CDs for portable data storage.

Which is better?

USB hard drives are much bigger in capacity meaning that you can store much more on them; however, because portable hard drives are filled with magnetic hard disks and moving parts, they can easily break and lead to data loss. That is not to say that they aren’t great devices. Breakage is rare, and for those concerned about storage capacity, a hard drive is the way to go.

If you are simply transferring a few files here and there between computers, USB flash drives are an excellent option. They are more durable than USB hard drives and have been known to survive a spin in the washing machine. Because of their small size, USB flash drives can be attached to a keychain or put in a pocket with ease.

Which is better value?

The cost of an average USB hard drive depends on the capacity of the drive. You can usually pick up a 500 gigabyte USB hard drive for about $70*. As you can see, the cost per gigabyte is generally lower if you buy a larger drive.

The average USB flash drive can be picked at a very low cost. Many retailers will sell off a 8 gigabyte drive for around $7*.

* Please note, these prices are approximate and must not be held as gospel. 



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    COMMENTS

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    4th Apr 2012
    1:24pm
    Australia Post currently have specials on USB flash drives (late March/early April 2012). I picked up a Toshiba 8GB USB flash drive from them, for $9.95 last week. They have bigger and smaller sizes available, and they're all on special.
    Nip
    15th Sep 2012
    8:31pm
    I bought 32Mb USB for $16 from Megabuy. Nip
    SolJesse
    15th Oct 2013
    10:36am
    Re Flash drives. When one suddenly stops working, is there anyway to open them up again
    Anonymous
    15th Oct 2013
    11:55am
    It depends on what has happened to the flash drive. Did you drop it or damage it physically? - or has it just suddenly started refusing to open? Physical damage can sometimes be repaired (as in a broken soldered connection), but a corrupted flash drive poses a more difficult problem to fix.
    There are companies that specialise in recovering data from corrupted flash drives, but you may not want to pay them to recover data that isn't crucial to your life.
    There are recovery programs you can buy that will attempt recovery of corrupted files on flash drives, but these usually only succeed in recovering images that have been lost, and they're not usually successful in recovering text files that have been lost.
    SolJesse
    15th Oct 2013
    12:23pm
    Thank you Aaron. Flash Drive just stopped working. 2nd one to do so. But as you say,, the cost of regaining data would be too much for me. Will back up in future. thanks again
    Anonymous
    15th Oct 2013
    12:34pm
    Have a read of this Computerworld, excellent flash drive recovery advice (link below) where six data recovery tools were tested.

    I'd suggest the Recuva tool might be the best to help you with an attempt to recover your data from your flash drive.
    It's free to download, but you have to pay if you want company support for the program, if you run into difficulties using it.
    If you have moderately good computer skills, then you shouldn't have too many problems using it.

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9224577/6_data_recovery_tools_for_SD_cards_USB_drives_and_more?taxonomyId=150&pageNumber=1
    SolJesse
    15th Oct 2013
    12:41pm
    Thanks again Aaron. As I am only 81 I think I should be able to manage that. (Well I will give it a try anyway) If not will get number one son to have a go. SheilaX


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