Question of the Week
Question: "I have a USB Flash Drive that I've been using for quite some time to backup my pictures. Yesterday, I went to save something to it and I got an error message explaining that I could not write any files to the drive. I can still see and read all the pictures that are on the drive, I just can't save any new pictures. What's up with this?"
Answer: This is an excellent question and describes a situation I have faced a number of times myself.
The issue our customer experienced is another drawback to using USB Flash Drives as your primary source of backup. A Flash Drive is an SSD - that's Solid State Drive. SSDs are great devices - they are faster and quieter than traditional hard drives and there's no motor to burn out. However, there are some downsides.
One negative aspect of SSDs is the cost per GB of storage. A tradional SATA Drive costs about 6 cents per GB. An SSD drive is somewhere around 32 cents.
The downside of an SSD that applies to this week's question is this: you can only "write" to an SSD drive so many times and then you can't write to the drive anymore. At this point, I'm just asking you to take my word for this. If I were to layout the technical reason this happens, our heads would be spinning!
Still, I don't want to scare you away from SSDs because of their write limits. Most of the time, when it comes to USB Flash drives, the average user will either lose the drive or send it through the washing machine (usually destroying the drive) long before it reaches the end of its writing ability.