Caring for your Flash Drive
Taking care of such a little device is pretty simple. Follow these tips to ensure your flash drive has a long life and that your data remains intact:
- Unplug your flash drive properly through Windows
- Replace the cover when not in use
- Store it in a safe place
1. Unplug your flash drive properly through Windows
I’ve seen a lot of flash drive owners pull out their drives from their computers without using the “Safely remove hardware” icon located in the system tray. This could cause file corruption or, even worse, it can cause the entire flash drive to become corrupted and unreadable (the latter can happen if the flash drive is removed while the main index file is being modifed). The best practice is to remove your flash drive by doing the following:
- Close any directory listings you might have open in Windows Explorer
- Close any files, portable applications and launchers running off the flash drive
- Click on the Safely Remove Hardware icon from the system tray
- Select your flash drive and click Stop
- Click on OK in the pop-up window
- When your flash drive light goes off, then it’s safe to remove your flash drive
2. Replace the cover when not in use
Keep the protective cap on the USB connector when not using your flash drive to keep the connector clean and to prevent it from getting damaged.
3. Store it in a safe place
Finally, I have to add, keep it in a safe place! I left mine on my desk with the lanyard dangling and my dog decided it was her new toy. Seeing my flash drive in her teeth made me realize how easily she could have destroyed it or even choked on the cover. Luckily, a Toy Poodle isn’t much of a challenge even for me, so it was very easy to wrestle it out of her jaw lock and bribe her with a real treat instead. It still bears tiny dent marks on the plastic case from this experience. I have also misplaced it on numerous occassions, forgetting where I put it or loosing it between several papers.
So that’s the basic requirements of taking care of your little flash drive. I’ve read there isn’t much danger at airport security machines (you see test results at this site: http://www.i3a.org/itip.html); however, you might want to check the specifications of your particular drive to make sure. Finally, label your drive with your contact information. It wouldn’t hurt to create a file in the root directory named something like “LostandFound.txt” and put your contact information in there too, in case the outside label becomes illegible.