Back up files to a Jump Drive or Flash Memory

Jump drives and flash drives have become dirt cheap. Some jump drives are only a few dollars or free after rebate.

The capacity of a flash drive can be 2 gigabytes or more, which is about the same storage capacity as 3 CD's. However, because your computer's hard drive could be 60-gigabytes, 100-gigabytes, or more. So, it's impossible to back up your entire computer to a jump drive, but you can use a jump drive to safely back up and store your e-mail, documents and most important computer files.

Jump drives are extremely portable. Many USB flash drives are small enough and lightweight enough to fit on a key chain. This means that you can take your data with you wherever you go, without having to lug heavy equipment, or CD wallets.

Some manufacturers make flash drives that are partitioned into public and private components. The private partition is password-protected, which can be useful if you wish to backup data sensitive data securely.

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What equipment is needed?

Jump drives connect to your computer through a USB port, so you'll need to make sure your computer has one. Search this website for USB ports for more information about them

What software is needed?

You do not need software to create a backup on a flash drive. To create backed up files, you simply need to insert the flash drive and drag and drop the necessary files into the flash drive. Although no software is necessary for backup, some USB flash drives, known as “smart drives”, are bundled with software that allows programs to run

from the USB drive when it is plugged into your computer. Typically, the bundled software enables you to encrypt the data that you store on the flash drive or to run instant messaging services or personalized web browsers. In terms of data backup, the capacity to encrypt sensitive data stored on the USB drive is a useful feature.

If you are not running Microsoft Windows 98 or above, you may need to install a USB driver in order for the flash drive to be compatible. The manufacturer of your flash drive can provide you with the necessary driver.

Is it difficult or easy?

Creating a backup on a USB flash drive is very simple to do. You simply need to drag and drop files from their location on your hard drive, to the flash location. Whilst this is a simple process to perform, it can be a little confusing and onerous if you are trying to copy files from multiple locations in your computer to your flash drive. You also need to remember to make the backup yourself.

How reliable are the backups?

Backing up to a flash drive is only really an option if you have a small volume of data. You cannot back up your operating system files, or programs on a flash drive because they are simply too big. Flash drives do tend to have limited instances of reading and writing, meaning that you should not be using them as your primary backup, especially over long durations. In the instance where you need to regularly backup larger files, you may need to consider using an external hard drive or rewritable CD or DVD. Despite this, flash drives are a reliable way of temporarily backing up data, for example, making a copy of a document that you have created at home, and taking it to work the next day.

Tiny, relatively inexpensive and extremely portable, flash drives are a great way to simply and temporarily store small amounts of data.