What causes a USB disk to go corrupt? - TulsaCW.com: TV To Talk About | The Tulsa CW

What causes a USB disk to go corrupt?


A USB disk is also called a flash drive, flash sticks, or USB flash drive. It plugs right into any free USB port of your computer. The purpose of a USB disk is to digitally transfer data to and from your computer without much hassle. Flash memory writes and erases data within seconds because it is all electrically done. There is flash memory in every mobile device we use, such as cell phones, MP3 players, and digital cameras. But you use USB disks to save any files from your computer that you want to save.

In the old days, data transfers were not so simple. People were forced to burn data onto DVD-R/RW or CD-R/RW disks, which was a very timely and resource-consuming process. Now they can just stick a USB disk into a USB port of their computer and drag and drop files to save or download. The process does not take more than a few seconds. There are no parts moving or burning in the device. It is all electrical.

Unfortunately, digital storage on a flash drive is not as dependable as the old-fashioned hard disk storage. Flash drive data has a higher chance of becoming corrupt than the data on a hard disk. Once you have corrupt files, precious information in them is lost forever. USB disks will eventually become corrupt the more times you use them. When a USB disk has gone through thousands of cycles of writing and erasing data, that is when the cells in the flash drive have trouble retaining data.

A USB disk will have one of three types of flash chips in them. The type of chip usually determines how many write and erase cycles it can go through. For instance, a single layer cell flash chip is considered the best because it consumes less power and writes data faster. Companies and industrial organizations use single-layer cell because they last the longest. They only downside is they cannot hold as much information as the multi-layer cell and the triple-layer cell. But those two types of flash chips are cheaper and have a shorter lifespan.

Another factor of data corruption is the temperature of the surrounding environment. Do not store your USB disks in hot or humid areas because heat and moisture can degrade the quality of the cells in them. Keep the USB disks stored at room temperature, preferably someplace with air conditioning or circulation. Otherwise, the circuit board in the disk will short or become corroded.

Lastly, don’t read the USB disk files too much. As much as writing and erasing files can wear down the cells in a USB disk, merely opening and reading the files can also wear down the cells too. You’d have to go through a thousand reads before the files become corrupt, but that can happen easily if you’re using the disk to run a program.

USB disks should only be used for storing sensitive data that you won’t need to look at every day. The best use of USB disks is as backup memory or emergency recovery of sensitive files. If you use USB disks every day, then don’t expect the files to stay functional forever.


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