USB drive

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USB drive

(1) An external hard disk drive or optical disc drive that plugs into the USB port. See portable hard drive.

(2) A solid state storage module that plugs into the computer's USB port. Using flash memory chips that hold a terabyte or more of data, the solid state USB drive emulates a hard disk. USB drives are extremely popular for backup as well as data transfer from one machine to another. They can also hold an operating system and be used to boot the computer (see bootable disk). Their ever-increasing storage capacities have all but obsoleted writable CDs and DVDs. See sneakernet.

Known By Many Names
Debuting at the turn of the century, a USB drive is also called a "flash drive" as well as many other monikers. Any combination of the words "USB," "flash," "key," "drive," "jump" and "stick" are used (see USB drive names).

Transfer Speed
USB drive vendors use the data transfer ratings of CD-ROMs, where each "x" equals 150KB per second. For example, a 90x drive is 13.5MB/sec (90 x 150). See CD-ROM drives and solid state.

Long-Term Marketing Mileage
Vendors give away custom-printed USB drives preloaded with promotional material, because people keep using them.

No Bigger Than the Plug
In 2010, Verbatim launched its Tuff-"N"-Tiny line, only two millimeters thick. Although the contacts are exposed (top left), the units are water and dust proof.

Steampunk Drives
A 19th century USB drive... of course. These drive cases are hand crafted. See steampunk. (Image courtesy of WillRockwell,

Fun and to the Point
Bevy makes devices that hold a user's photo collection, and this rather appropriate USB drive holds its promotional material.

One Terabyte USB Drive
In 2013, Kingston Technology introduced the first 1TB drive. Imagine telling someone in 1993 when floppy disks were widely used that in 20 years, a handheld device would hold the equivalent storage of 650,000 of them. By 2017, 2TB drives were introduced.
References in periodicals archive ?
'Brutal Kangaroo' is a tool suite for Microsoft Windows that targets closed networks by air gap jumping using thumbdrives. Its components create a custom covert network within the target-closed network and providing functionality for executing surveys, directory listings, and arbitrary executables, WikiLeaks said in a statement.
(27.) See Connecting with PayPal Beacon, supra note 3 (The PayPal Beacon thumbdrive device works with the merchant's point of sale system by creating a Bluetooth network that detects a participating customer when they enter the store.).
Therefore a digital forensic examiner, SA Gonzalez, is called to authenticate the photographs and videos that SA Gonzalez found on the thumbdrive during his forensic examination.
Memorex bills its ThumbDrive as featuring faster transfer speeds than competing models, making it perfect for storing data, digital photos, video and music files between home, office or school supplies.
The Trek ThumbDrive Touch ( is one such device.
But a new breed of relatively inexpensive flash memory drives--dubbed "thumb drives" for their size--from suppliers such as Trek ( plug into any computer with a USB port to transfer or back up as much as 512MB or 1GB of data.
Yet speaking of semiconductor memory, did you get the news release about "Thumbdrive?"
Called Thumbdrive, the device offers a plug and play capability to connect quickly and easily to USB-equipped desktop or notebook PCs, without requiring software, a drive unit or wires.
In addition to giving the pilot superb graphical information on engine data and fuel flows, the E-max also datalogs up to 100 hours of flight time which can be easily offloaded onto a thumbdrive through a USB port.
By desktop, I mean the shelf that sits above the cubby holes that separate my stapler, otoscope, thumbdrives etc., not the home screen on my computer.
In an ocean of alerts, which can easily overwhelm us, we risk not taking fundamental security measures - such as basic cyber resilience among employees, patch updates, poor password management, and movement of files to insecure thumbdrives.