Computer storage is something you might struggle with when you need to move your data around. This is the time many users come around the question, ‘ what is a flash drive’ and rightly so because it can help you move your data around with smooth convenience. A USB flash drive is a portable stick device that you can plug in any computer device with a USB port. It allows you to store any amount of data on the device, depending upon its storage capacity. The system inside the drive runs on flash memory.

Pros & Cons

Less power usage Exposure to data leakage
Conveniently portable Limited erase cycles of data
Durable internal system Risk of malware
No reboot or power supply requirement

Flash memory

Flash memory is a type of storage processor that stores and remembers our data for us. In a computer/laptop, you have something called the RAM that does it for you. But RAM uses electric power, whether that is through a direct connection like a PC or a rechargeable device such as a laptop. Flash memory is more like ROM, which does not require any kind of electrical power to operate.

The portability aspect of the device is largely connected to the flash memory. It makes it easy for you to be able to move and transfer your data from one device to another. The flash memory enabled by a flash memory chip inside the USB stick keeps your data stored safely within the device until you need to use it.

Original USB Drive

The first USB flash drive was introduced during the early 2000s with a storage capacity of just 8 MBs. It is also occasionally called a pen drive or a thumb drive. Before we had a USB drive, storing and copying data was practically an impossible feat at this level. The initial levels of the drive had many complications and of course, as a new invention, it was expensive too. But at this point we can get one handy for just a couple of dollars, depending upon its storage capacity.

The universal device has evolved to this reasonable rate and usage due to technology that made it possible to manufacture it at a lower cost. The storage capacity can now go up to 256 GB and costs much less than what the initial prices used to be. The question of ‘what is a flash drive’ is much farther in its development now. It can store, transfer, and remove large amounts of data if you get one with higher memory capacity.

Specifics in a USB flash drive

We are two decades away from the first time a USB drive was introduced to us and it has been innovated many times over in these years. You can get a USB for almost any amount these days, in varying specifications. For example, there is a USB 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 all differentiating in the speed they work at.


 The earliest version of a USB was introduced in the 1.0 version, which is understood from the number, the slowest in all three versions. Different versions within the 1.0 USB had a rate of 1.5-12 MB per second. Later, there was an update 1.1, which was adopted more universally.


This was the version that was innovated from the earlier 1.0 version, around the start of 2000. It had a transfer rate of 480 Mbps to the max. It improved the performance significantly by giving users a clear and efficient solution to their transferring issues. It was also called a Hi-speed USB device.


During the ten years after the first release of the USB with the earliest version, there was continuous work to bring the best version to life. The innovations and experiments lead to the 3.0 version or what was more commonly known as the SuperSpeed USB. This one brought the transfer speed to 5 Gigabits per second, which is significantly faster than the previous version.

Can you work without a USB drive?

The above-stated reasons feel like they balance out the pros and cons of this device mostly, but the pros mostly outweigh the cons. There are many ways to protect your USB drive against any kind of malware or data leakage issues. While you can hardly find something as lightweight and portable enough to carry large amounts of your data in. It is a smart and immediately convenient device that mostly helps you and can be kept from being an issue if you look after it properly.

We hope this answers your what is a flash drive question appropriately enough. Almost all professionals and students use USBs to copy and transfer their data around. Even though lately, a lot of transferring and copying has been shifted online where people use collaborative apps and tools to work or send around data. You still need a USB in case you need to transfer a large amount of data to another device.