Low prices and ease of use are the two utmost factors that make flash drives so popular. Considering this type of data carriers we should take into account a few rules that will help you keep flash memory alive longer and store data even more securely.
Please note that flash drives offers a certain number of read and write cycles. Regarding SSD and memory cards, there is no difference. Sooner or later, USB stick will refuse to work- and we should be prepared for that.
That is why, it is not advisable to store backup copies of files on memory sticks. USB Flash Drive is rather a temporary data carrier, which can store data that we have already saved on our hard drive. But it can help you to easily transfer files between computers. Therefore, to minimize the risk of losing data we can take regular backups, and validate your data with checksums.
The most commonly used file systems on flash drives are FAT32 or NTFS. They don’t store any data validation information. If you insist on validating your data, you can generate MD5/SHA1 checksums for your files.
The checksum is a number obtained due to certain mathematical operations on the file. It is used to validate the data. If the checksum isn’t be complete, it means the file is corrupted. This will help you determine, if any has been corrupted.
MD5 & SHA-1 Checksum Utility comes in handy of you want to generate MDA and SHA-1 hashes.
Another issue worth mentioning is the way you unmount the drive. If you unmount it properly, you can be sure that all existing file reads/writes processes have been completed, and buffers have been flushed.
An interesting solution is making use of a well-known file system, such as exFAT or ZFS. The former is supports Windows without any issues and was specifically designed for the needs of external flash drives.
Whereas the latter comes bundled with built-in data validation and checksumming, but requires some slight configuration in Windows.
Don’t buy crap and read the reviews before making a purchase. It is better to choose a product form a well-known brand, certified product, which combines additional technologies, such as wear leveling.