USB flash drives come in handy if you have to transfer data between different computers on a regular basis. Nothing else can match the portability of a flash USB drive, which is usually small enough to fit into a purse, with plenty of space to spare.

Besides, the absence of any sort of moving parts in the drives means that these last a really long time. It is not impossible for a flash drive to last eight to10 years, even with everyday usage. They are also highly resistant to the elements. There are flash drives that have been frozen and thawed, and still found to be working normally. Imagine doing that to a regular hard drive!

The list of advantages is enough to make any busy computer user interested in getting one. However, when you go to buy one, you may often feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices available. There are many companies that manufacture them, in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and functionalities, making the decision of buying a particular drive all the more difficult.

This is where a little pre-planning can help you out. Here are some points that you should keep in mind when you go shopping for USB flash drives:

Data transfer speed: This should be as high as possible. The greater this value, the faster you will be able to copy files to the drive, or from the drive to a hard disk. The read/write speed should usually be mentioned on the pack, or on the user manual. If you cannot find it mentioned anywhere, get online and look up the drive you were thinking of buying. Go through a few customer reviews, and you will have information on hand to decide whether the drive will really be useful for you.

Data security: Check out whether the drive you are buying has the option of encrypting stored data. This will ensure safety of your confidential information, if you lose the drive. Try to opt for drives that have hardware-based encryption. These may be a little more expensive than drives having software encryption, but the extra security provided is well worth the extra price.

Size of the drive: Flash drives are meant to be carried inside purses and shirt pockets. As such, the size of the drive should be as small as possible. Ideally, the model you are purchasing should be no larger than your thumb.

USB flash drives are very useful devices for computer users who transfer a lot of data between computers on a regular basis. No matter what kind of a computer user you are, such a drive may certainly be a welcome addition to your collection of external data storage devices.

(This article has been compiled by Uniblue Systems, a Malta-based international software developer for the home and small office market. For more articles with tips and information about computer use one may go to

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