Back Up Your Hard Drive to a 256-Gigabyte Flashdrive

Flashdrives (also called thumbdrives or data sticks or USB drives or a variety of other names) are amongst the handiest devices available for a computer owner. Now the capacity of thumbdrives is increasing and the prices are decreasing. Where have we heard that before in the computer industry?

A flashdrive is a small piece of equipment used to store and transfer information for computers using a USB connection. You can use a flash drive to store music, photos or other documents. Flashdrives are also frequently used to transfer files from one computer to another (sometimes called “sneakernet”) and also to make backup copies of information storied on a desktop or laptop computer.

Early flashdrives would store less than a gigabyte of data but things change quickly in the computer business. Storage capacities have grown rapidly over the years. Today, you can even purchase flashdrives with one terabyte (1,000 gigabytes or 1,000,000 megabytes) of storage space although at astronomical prices. See http://goo.gl/bxxDn2 for one high-priced example.

If a computer user can settle for less storage space, prices become enticing.

TigerDirect.com is now selling PNY 128GB Turbo Flash Drive for only $34.99 and even PNY 256GB Turbo Flash Drives for $89.99 (both prices are after applying a discount coupon at checkout). These are the lowest prices I have seen for high-capacity flashdrives. The prices also include free shipping. The sale ends February 28.

For years, many of us have used flashdrives to store small amounts of data and carry the information in a pocket or purse. Now these higher capacity drives can even store the entire contents of many computers. For instance, my laptop has a 256-gigabyte hard drive. I can now insert a reasonably-priced 256-gigabyte flashdrive into the laptop’s USB connector and back up the entire hard drive.

There is one thing to keep in mind, however. Copying gigabytes of data through any USB connector will require some amount of time. The new USB 3.0 standard is much faster than the older USB 2.0 standard that has been used for years. The PNY flash drives that are now on sale fully support the faster USB standard. If plugged into a computer that also supports USB 3.0, the result will be much faster transfers than using an older USB 2.0 flash drive.

All USB 3.0 flash drives are backwards compatible with the older standard. You can purchase a newer USB 3.0 flash drive and plug it into your computer that only supports USB 2.0. It will work perfectly although data transfers will be conducted at USB 2.0 speeds. Should you later upgrade to a new computer that supports USB 3.0, the new flash drive will obviously will then take advantage of the higher speeds available.

You can find the PNY Turbo USB 3.0 Flash Drives for sale on the TigerDirect web site at http://goo.gl/TZxGuU. Click on the icons labeled “Available in:” to select the storage capacity that interests you.

Disclaimer: I am not compensated in any way for writing this article. I am simply a fan of flashdrives and a long-time TigerDirect customer. I ordered my 256-gigabyte flashdrive a few minutes ago.

Update on 24 February: I received the PNY 256-gigabyte flash drive today and immediately tested it. I copied a few files from my MacBook Air laptop to the flash drive and everything seemed to copy quickly. The MacBook Air does have USB 3.0 port so it does copy files quickly to and from the PNY flash drive’s USB 3.0 connections.

As I write these words, the laptop is making a full backup of it’s 256-gigabyte solid state “hard drive” to the PNY 256-gigabyte flash drive. While the MacBook Air’s storage capacity is 256-gigabytes, I am only using about 135 gigabytes so far.

2 thoughts on “Back Up Your Hard Drive to a 256-Gigabyte Flashdrive

  1. They are fantastic. But be careful of using them for repetitive incremental backups. I found out the hard way that you can burn up on the write capacity of a 64GB flash drive in just a few months if you are doing frequent (like 6 times a day) backups of a quickly changing large project. Hopefully, the solid state industry will come up with a solution for this sort of rewrite limitation in time. The heavy duty solid state “hard drives” have much more intelligent controllers that spread the write operations around to maximize the device life. The USB drives don’t have nearly as much intelligence. Anyone want a 64GB flash drive that no longer reads or writes? That frequent incremental backup is back on an external hard drive.

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