Do USB ThumbDrives Ever Die?

Can you trust USB thumbdrives to always keep important files safe?–PC Pitstop.

Do USB Thumb Drives Ever Die?

By Leo Notenboom

I have a database application that I share between multiple computers. We keep the database itself on a USB thumb drive and simply move that drive to the other computers as needed. The database is never copied off the thumbdrive, we just update it in place. Seems very simple.

A friend of mine just told me that I was asking for trouble. He said something about thumbdrives “wearing out”, and that sooner or later, probably sooner, the data on my thumbdrive would become corrupt. Is that true? Do these USB drives actually wear out?

While the technology continues to improve, the fact is that flash memory has a limited number of times it can be written to. It can, in fact, wear out.


I strongly recommend that you backup the contents of that drive – yes, sooner rather than later. And perhaps even rethink how you’re sharing that data.

Inexpensive flash memory, the type used in USB thumb drives, memory sticks and other devices, is very, very cool. But there is a dark side that people don’t talk about much.

Flash memory “wears out”.

Article Continued Here

This excerpt appears with permission from Leo Notenboom.

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3 thoughts on “Do USB ThumbDrives Ever Die?

  1. yes, I have removed all USB-drives from my computers, except very short term storage. It is crazy to have Gigabyte USB-Sticks and some files loose information that can last months until one notices it. In the meantime many other files are changed and restorage is a matter of hours of work. This is not bearable for a data processing, where people have Terabytes of data and must look for every single file if it is still correct.

  2. yeah this happened to me. I had homework on it, and it died, in a very serious way. It was totally un-recoverable even when I used all the advice out there, it was totally dead. I will never trust one again for important info as a storage location, I will only use it for transferring files from uni to home and vice versa then save the info on my laptop hard drive and also my pc

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