We all know how useful USB flash drives are, but here’s a chance to learn a little bit more about this handy little device!
In this article:
- What are USB Flash Drives?
- Why Were USB Flash Drives Invented?
- Who Invented the USB Flash Drive?
- When Was It Invented?
- How Do You Use a USB Flash Drive?
Everything You Need to Know About USB Flash Drives
What are USB Flash Drives?
USB flash drives are devices primarily used for data storage. You can copy files stored in flash drives and you can also save different kinds of files on it. It has four main components:
- Universal series bus (USB) plug – connects the flash drive to computers or laptops
- Mass storage controller – the flash drive’s microcontroller made up of a small amount of RAM and ROM
- Flash memory chip – stores the data
- Crystal oscillator – controls the data output
USB flash drives are relatively small, fitting in the palm of your hand. They are durable and reliable and don’t have any moving parts and don’t require power to retain data.
Why Were USB Flash Drives Invented?
Do you remember what it was like to transfer data before flash drives were available? It was trickier and more inconvenient. Back then, the only option was to burn data onto CDs or use floppy disks. Both CDs and floppy disks had limited storage space, were more prone to damage, and required special software or hardware. The USB flash drive was a solution to these limitations.
USB flash drives work on all operating systems, so there’s usually no need to install any new software. You can also plug it into any computer’s USB ports. It also offers more storage options and it’s more durable. And on top of all of that, transferring data has never been quicker — the USB 3.0 boasts a 5 gigabits per second transfer rate!
Who Invented the USB Flash Drive?
It’s hard to pinpoint the main inventor of the USB flash drives because innovation is often a product of many minds and hands over a long period of time. The simplest way to trace its history is to understand its development as a result of merging two technologies: flash memory and the universal series bus interface.
Fujio Masuoka invented flash memory. He was a Japanese engineer who worked for Toshiba. Masuoka wanted to develop a device that did not need to be powered to store information. He patented electronically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) or flash memory.
On the other hand, a team led by computer architect Ajay Bhatt developed the standard USB interface. Bhatt and his team were interested in simplifying the plugs of the different devices we use to enhance the performance of our computers (ex: printer, mouse, keyboards, etc.). They were the first to introduce this standardized port more commonly known as the “USB.”
When Was It Invented?
Masuoka patented flash memory in 1981, while Bhatt and his team introduced the USB interface in 1994. M-systems put these two technologies together. They were the first to patent USB flash drives in 1999 and called it DiskOnChip (DoC). It became commercially available in 2000 by Treck Technology and soon after by IBM.
How Do You Use a USB Flash Drive?
Here’s what you need to do to use your USB flash drive:
- Plug your USB flash drive into a USB port in your computer
- If you’re using a Windows computer, a window will normally pop up on your screen (usually labeled as “Removable Disk” or “E: drive”). Click the “open folder to view files” button. If there is no pop-up screen, you can also find the folder in “My Computer”
- For Mac users, open “Finder” and look for your flash drive under “Devices”
- To copy files from your flash drive to your computer, click on the file you want to copy and drag it to the desktop or your desired folder location
- To copy files from your computer to your flash drive, click on the file you want to copy and drag it to your flash drive folder.
Make sure to right-click on your drive and select “Eject” before removing the flash drive from the port. It’s best to keep your flash drive in a dry place to avoid condensation and corrosion.
Moving files from one computer to another has never been easier with a USB flash drive. Watch the video below by Howcast to know how:
Flash drives are must-have gadgets in this digital age, but it took several people and attempts to shape it to the way we know it today. They offer a better alternative to older storage devices, like CDs and floppy disks, which have limited storage space and can be damaged more easily than a USB flash drive. We hope this guide has helped you understand more about the origin of the flash drive and the people and events that have contributed to its creation and evolution.
How do you use USB Flash Drives in your business? Let us know in the comments section below.
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