Wednesday, August 31, 2011

You Should Buy a Flashdrive

Over the past decade, there have been advancements in every aspect of data storage, mobile computing, and data transfer. Every computer has a DVD/CD combo drive that can burn hard copies of data. Every computer has two or three hard drives or multiple USB drives allowing for external hard drives. There is an abundance of cloud computing allowing for data transfer and storage with ease. To truly take advantage of technology, each of these aspects should be explored and implemented. They are cheap and easy solutions that make using a computer that much easier.
There is, however, one part of mobile computing that many people do not make use of when they have the opportunity.
The USB flash drive is an amazing bit of technology that has evolved in to one of the most important pieces of technology to show up in recent years. Flash drives have grown smaller, changed colors, grown in storage capacity, morphed in to funky shapes and unique figurines, and even replaced the idea of a hard drive in some instances.
Even with these impressive changes, I can attest to seeing multiple flash drives “permanently” attached to desktop computers, sitting under a stack of papers on a crowded desk, or stashed in the front of a drawer with 3 other devices.
Personally, I have one attached to my key chain. It goes everywhere with me. It is with me in my office. It is with me at a client’s office. It is with me even when my laptop is not with me. And, the ability to have needed files with me at all times has been a life saver on multiple occasions. There are company forms, printer installer files, antivirus/antispyware programs, internet browser files, and even important personal documents.
The drives provide any number of important functions:
- Document storage and portability
- Mobile computing and functionality
- Disaster recovery (personal and computing)
- Computer security
First off, the drives are great for important document storage. Whether the documents are used on a daily basis or the documents need to be permanently stored for safekeeping. I have seen the tedious task of emailing files back and forth to yourself just to use something at home and the office. Throw the document on a flash drive and you save time and trouble with access available anywhere. If permanence is more your style, a 4GB flash drive may provide enough storage to save every important document you can dream of and, put in a safe or safety deposit box, you’re provided the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that your life is backed up should the worst happen.
When you step back to look at more than just document storage, the versatility provided by the USB flash drive is truly limitless. Check out the following link for countless free programs available to use with these drives, flash drive programs.
Available functions or programs:
- Backup and Restore USB, among other programs, can be used to backup, restore, and synchronize files between your computer and the flash drive.
- Unstoppable Copier can be used to copy files from damaged media sources, including other portable flash drives.
- Portable Apps and Portable allow you to run programs from a flash drive as soon as the device is connected to the computer. And, when you disconnect the flash drive, the programs go with you.
The list goes on and on. There are password security tools like KeePass Portable, which allows you to carry your passwords with you if you use a common computer station. You even have the ability to put an entire operating system on your flash drive. Should Windows go haywire, an Ubuntu OS on a flash drive could give you the opportunity to access your computer even when all hope seems lost.
When looking at recovering from a disaster, whether it be a computer disaster or a personal disaster, USB flash drives can provide assistance.
To combat computer viruses, you can keep the installer files for Spybot S&D or MalwareBytes at the ready. They won’t be infected while stored safely on your flash drive and they are only a few clicks away from being run on a computer infected by a nasty virus. Dr. Web CureIt and Portable AntiVirus are also portable antivirus programs that can be run straight from a flash drive for quick and easy clean-up. As stated above, you can also carry around a Linux operating system if your Windows operating system becomes broken beyond repair. This drastic step could provide you access to your files to facilitate data recovery.
For a more pervasive disaster, USB flash drives can be used to store and save personal documents of immeasurable value. With a properly encrypted drive, you can store scans of your driver’s license, passport, bank account documents, birth certificate, social security card, insurance information, marriage license, and corresponding information for a spouse and children. Obviously, the utmost care needs to be taken with such important documents, but storing this information can protect yourself in case of a flood, a fire, a robbery, or even other massive natural disasters.
Even after all of the above options, there is still one more very interesting use for a USB device, personal security key. A program like Predator allows you to lock down your computer with the USB drive. When the USB drive is attached, the computer will work like normal. Once it is disconnected, the keyboard and mouse are inactive and the screen will dim. A tool like this can provide amazing and easy-to-use security, as long as you don’t lose that USB device!
Whether any of these options will fit in to your computer usage or the programs provide efficient use of multiple computers, there are several options that should be investigated. Options abound on what is possible with a little plastic bit of technology smaller than a pack of gum.

No comments:

Post a Comment