USB sticks and their place amid all cloud services

While floppy disks, CDs and DVDs used to be the media for distributing software and storing data, today, almost everything is distributed via the Internet. Cloud services also want to make other data storage devices like USB sticks and even local hard drives obsolete.

usb sticks

In the following article, we take up the cudgels for the USB stick and explain why you should continue to rely on these handy helpers.

The floppy disk replacement

Only older users will remember handling 5¼- and 3½-inch floppy disks with a storage capacity of up to 1440 KB. Today, such amounts of data are already generated by a Word document with a few pictures.

As a replacement for floppy disks, (re)writable CDs were initially preferred, but in practice, this proved to be costly and not very flexible for custom files. With falling flash memory prices, the triumph of USB sticks also began.

Corsair Flash Voyager GS512

Currently, sizes of up to 512 GByte storage capacity are available. Albeit still at prices of over $300 Euros, such as the Corsair Flash Voyager GS512.

The history of Dropbox

In 2006, a young man named Drew Houston forgot to take his USB flash drive from home, which he had important data. Annoyed by this, he developed a solution to avoid having this problem in the future. In 2007, the company Dropbox was founded out of this problem. (Source: Wikipedia)

Dropbox, OneDrive and other cloud services vie for the favor of customers and try to retain them with free storage. Microsoft goes one step further and integrates OneDrive as an essential component of Windows. Which mutates into the standard storage space for file storage in Microsoft Office, but you can switch this off.

As practical as a cloud storage service is, it does not replace a USB stick for fast file exchange between different PCs since the files always have to upload and then downloaded again. Which is not pleasure with typical DSL upload rates for larger amounts of data. In addition, you may not want to entrust sensitive data to the vastness of the World Wide Web.

Not just a floppy disk replacement

A USB stick also offers many other applications and is more than just a floppy disk replacement. In the meantime, you can also conveniently install Windows from a USB stick. As our article “Creating a bootable USB stick as an installation medium for Windows” describes.

An emergency Windows based on PE is also good for a USB stick. With the combination of the right tools, you can even create a real toolbox for typical PC problems on a USB stick. Our WireDale USB support stick also shows this, which you can use mobile in many situations with a bootable emergency kernel and over 400 freeware tools that you can start directly from the stick.

Many USB sticks variations in form & functionality

USB sticks are available in countless variations: different memory sizes, designs, and colors slide on, fold open, as a check card, or quite classically with a protective cap, in the form of keys or other objects such as current Star Wars figures.

Performance issues

Whether you absolutely need a USB stick with USB 3.0 also depends on the intended use. A simple USB 2 stick is sufficient for smaller documents and a few pictures. However, anyone who transports larger amounts of data should think about purchasing a stick with USB 3.0, especially since these are also downward compatible.

But be careful: Only a USB 3.0 interface does not make a fast stick. The performance differences are partly considerable. Moreover, the manufacturers – if at all – usually only state the read rates that the stick achieves. Chip compared a few USB 3.0 flash drives in September 2015.

Conclusion on USB sticks

USB sticks are and remain practical companions and still have their firm place in the computer world. Especially the fast availability, mobility, speed, and flexibility speak for the little helpers. They cannot replace a cloud service. Neither can a USB stick since both have completely different application approaches and partly also fields of use.

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