Blog Esperanza de vida de una memoria USB

Las memorias USB son ideales para almacenar archivos digitales y están sustituyendo paulatinamente a los CDs y DVDs como medio de almacenamiento preferido.

La ventaja de las memorias USB es que son portátiles, duraderas y tienen una increíble capacidad de almacenamiento (desde 64 MB hasta 256 GB, a fecha 2010). Además, son capaces de retener la memoria incluso después de apagadas. Pero, ¿las memorias duran para siempre? ¿Debe utilizarlas para almacenar documentos y archivos importantes? ¿Cuánto tiempo duran?

Si simplemente guardase datos en su memoria USB y la dejase en un sitio seguro durante 10 años, seguiría funcionando y sus datos permanecerían intactos.

Pero si continúa utilizándola con mucha frecuencia, sin duda se desgastará con el tiempo.

USB Personalizados

Las memorias USB tienen un número finito de ciclos de escritura/borrado

La esperanza de vida de una memoria USB se puede medir por el número de ciclos de escritura o borrado. Las memorias USB pueden soportar entre 10.000 a 100.000 ciclos de escritura/borrado, dependiendo de la tecnología de memoria que se utilice.

Cuando se alcanza el límite, una parte de la memoria puede dejar de funcionar correctamente, lo que puede llevar a que los datos se pierdan o resulten dañados.


Por supuesto, la vida útil de la memoria USB también puede terminar antes de lo previsto si abusa de ella o la somete a condiciones ambientales extremas. Además, si los componentes de la memoria son de baja calidad, las memorias pueden fallar mucho antes.

Tenga cuidado con marcas desconocidas ya que pueden utilizar componentes de baja calidad y economizar en los procesos de fabricación para abaratar el producto. Si está buscando memorias USB de alta calidad, busque proveedores que utilicen únicamente memorias de grado A y cuenten con fábricas con el certificado ISO-9001:2008.

¿Debería utilizar memorias USB para almacenar archivos importantes?

El mejor uso de las memorias USB es copiar y transferir archivo de un ordenador a otro. Si desea utilizarlas para almacenar archivos importantes como fotografías de familia y vídeos, es recomendable que realice copias de seguridad.

Mantenimiento de su memoria USB

Para prolongar la vida útil de su memoria USB y asegurarse de que funciona correctamente durante años, siga las siguientes precauciones:

  • Cuando no utilice la memoria USB, asegúrese de cubrirla con una tapa para evitar la acumulación de polvo y contaminantes en los contactos.
  • No exponga su memoria USB a condiciones adversas, como temperaturas o humedad extremas.
  • Nunca retire la memoria USB del puerto donde esté conectada mientras está en funcionamiento. Además, debe "Expulsar" la unidad (haga clic derecho sobre la unidad USB y seleccione "Expulsar") antes de retirarla de su ordenador.
  • No la deje conectada al ordenador durante un período prolongado de tiempo. Si no la usa, simplemente desconéctela del equipo.

flashbay Autor: Peter Cardin
189 Comentarios | Comentar 
brigit | 21 Jul, 2023
thank you
Chris , Flashbay | 13 Jan, 2023
Hi Victor,

Our USB drives are designed for promotional use and general data sharing needs so the use you describe is outside our supported mode of operation. That said we can share some general principles which you may be able to research further. 

The life span / durability figures you see quoted for USB flash drives are typically expressed in terms of read/write cycles. When only reads are performed a USB flash drive can generally be considered to have an unlimited lifespan. However, there is a phenomenon called "Read disturb" which can occur when the same parts of the memory are read frequently. Most controller chips will take this into account and periodically move frequently accessed data around the drive to mitigate the risk. See for more information. 

The possibility that such operations are occurring on the device mean that it's generally not safe to cycle power when a USB flash drive is connected to a system without safely ejecting it first. 

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Victor | 09 Jan, 2023
Hi all,

What happens with an USB drive in an embedded computer board without an operating system? The files will be only read.
Does the drive auto data correction by rewriting nand flash blocks on only reading files?
And what when there is a power down during reading the files?
I can never find info about power down and only reading from USB drives.

Xavier | 03 Dec, 2022
I have a Sandisk Ultra Flair 32GB USB 3.0 
I use it for watching movies on my TV, about 3-4 hours a day. Using it over and over and over again ... almost everyday.  
Bought it from 2018.. and just used it for WATCHING MOVIES ONLY,  apparently it has worn out today.  
It started to slower access..  sometimes is not detected on my PC. The Copy/Paste process is tend to be slower than usual ...   

I think its not bad ..  4 years, everyday use .. and finally it comes to an end ...
vedanta , none | 20 Nov, 2022

I have a pendrive that has gotten corrupted. When i go to my mac, the erase function under disk utility will not work. It shows an error. When i take it to my windows, cmd, chkdsk, format, it says the drive is write protected. I have tried everything that blogs state and honestly these blogs only state the steps to follow in the ideal conditions. The blogs are always talking about using some kind of software to do the needful and frankly, those tools, atleast the free versions, haven't worked and i do not have the money to purchase them. If you could kindly try to help me out please, i will be very grateful. I do not care about the data. I just want this pendrive working again because buying a new one is out of the question right now.

I would request you to please consider every possible scenario and then provide me the step by step guide so that i can get this pendrive working again. It is a sandisk 256gb drive. Thank You irrespective of the outcome.
Have a great day ahead!
Cliff Sloane | 19 Sep, 2022
Are there any utilities, Windows or Linux, that can analyze a flash drive's condition? If I have an old one, can I figure out its health, the way phone batteries can be tested for current capacity?
Kent | 12 Jun, 2022
Hi, Thanks for the info!  But what exactly is a "write/erase cycle?"  

I currently use Blu-Ray discs to back up my computer, but I'm thinking of switching to thumb drives or SD cards.  But I'm not sure how long they will last.

My standard monthly procedure is:  Format a disc to erase all old data, then use the old DOS "xcopy" command to copy entire folders, with all their files and sub-folders, onto the disc.  There are probably thousands of files in hundreds of folders.  If I used a flash drive instead of a disc, would that mean thousands of write cycles every time I make a backup?

Thanks for your help!
Chris , Flashbay | 09 May, 2022
Hi Linda,

Thanks for your question.

This shouldn't reset any of your settings. 

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Linda Jones | 04 May, 2022
If I remove my USB flash drive from my newly bought digital pic frame, will I lose all my settings? For ex: the time to turn on & off, etc.
Chris , Flashbay | 11 Apr, 2022
Hi James,

Thanks for your question.

It's difficult to give you an exact number here. But, if we assume your Flash Drive is from a reputable supplier and made with first-grade materials it should last many, many years. Especially if it's kept in the safe storage compartment that you've mentioned. 

Sorry I can't be more specific, but I hope this helps you.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
James | 08 Apr, 2022
Hi this article does not answer the question..    If i write something on the USB drive, then sealed in an air/water/electric field tight metal container, kept at normal room temperatures, what is the expected lifespan?
Amir Khan, WDC | 02 Mar, 2022
Hi, i wonder that does USB pendrive that we have today is able to perform recycling to ensure that the data is not always on same location. 
I mean like SSD, we do have a FW that control all that to ensure that we keep the data on different place as putting on single place got higher chances of corrupted if keeping it for too long
Chris , Flashbay | 24 Jan, 2022
Hi Paul,

Thanks for your message.

We'll be in touch via email shortly.

Kind regards,

Chris at Flashbay
paul ward, wardconnectinc | 23 Jan, 2022

I would like to purchase your product

Do you allow pick up via courier company for freight forwarders

What types of credit card do you accept?

Awaiting your response

paul ward
wardconnectinc Inc
525 Av. Franklin Delano Roosevelt,
San Juan, 00918, Puerto Rico USA
+1 254-275-4476-Mobile/Whatsapp
Nick | 07 Jan, 2022
Do the same rules apply to sd cards? Since, sd cards are small and convenient, would they be a good storage medium? I would like to store movies, music, etc.
Rio | 31 Dec, 2021
I have a 1TB HP x796w which I got as a gift from the HP store for being the first customer of the year for that store, the drive I have been now using it for exactly a year now, I always keep it plugged in until I need to go out and often copy data to it like I suppose I might have copied and erased more than 10TB of data and it still works fine no performance or corruption issues just wanted to ask seeing the usage statistics of mine how long it may last. Its manufacturer is PNY tho but is sold by HP, it has a metal casing and a retractable USB port I live in an air-conditioned home usually at 25C and humidity being
Chris , Flashbay | 01 Nov, 2021
Hi Tori,

Thanks for your question.

We suggest that you read the files approximately once or twice a month. This helps to keep the storage in a good working order.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Tori | 29 Oct, 2021
Hi, read through all the questions and answers, but still unclear about someone's comment on needing to "refresh the memory?" 
If you don't need to write anything new to a flash drive, is it best to just leave it in storage or do you need to read the files every so often?
Frank , Black Ops, CIA | 02 Sep, 2021
Thanks, good to know.  Will order a few to store my passwords!
Chris , Flashbay | 31 Aug, 2021
Hi Frank,

Thanks for your question.

Once the storage components in any Flash Drive have reached the end of their 'write/erase lifecycle' they won't be as reliable as they once were. This means your Flash Drive may be susceptible to data loss and storage issues if you continue using it, regardless if you erase of the data or not. 

I hope this answers your question.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Frank Lurz | 30 Aug, 2021
You have said, "USB flash drives can withstand between 10,000 to 100,000 write/erase cycles, depending on the memory technology used. When the limit is reached, some portion of the memory may not function properly, leading to lost of data and corruption." 
If the limit is reached, can a quality USB flash drive be erased and used again as if it were new, or should it be discarded?
Chris , Flashbay | 03 Jun, 2021
Hi Peter,

No problem at all.

It’s better to remove the Flash Drive before you turn off the DVD player. It’s also recommended to plug the Flash Drive into the USB port when the DVD player is already turned on. This will prolong the lifespan of the Flash Drive, as it won’t be susceptible to any potential electrical disturbances when the DVD player is turned on and off. Playing DVDs with the Flash Drive plugged in won’t affect its lifespan.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Peter Karakondis | 01 Jun, 2021
Hi Chris, 

Thanks so much for your reply. So from now on I will bulk erase and bulk write as often as possible. 
I never leave the flash drive plugged into the computer, but I have been leaving it plugged into the USB port of our DVD player. Is that OK, as long as I turn the player off after viewing files from the drive?
Also, I assume that I should remove the flash drive from the player when we go to play DVDs on the machine. Is that correct?
Does plugging in and removing the flash drive affect the life span at all?
I have a SanDisk 16GB Cruzer Glide. It has a retractable USB connector, but no cover. I'm now keeping it in an envelope when not in use, but I guess your recommendation of a sealed container provides better protection.
Thanks again for all your help.
Chris , Flashbay | 01 Jun, 2021
Hi Sami,

Thanks for your question.

It's difficult to give you an exact answer here. 

Your Flash Drive should last many many years if it's taken care of properly. We've listed some helpful tips below to ensure your Flash Drive lasts for as long as possible, these tips are also mentioned in the blog post above:

1) When not using the Flash Drive, be sure to cover it with a cap to prevent the accumulation of dusts and contaminants on the contacts.

2) Do not expose your Flash Drive to harsh conditions, such as extreme temperatures and humidity.

3) Never yank the Flash Drive out of the USB port while it is still in operation. Also, you should “Eject” the drive (Do a right click on the USB drive and select “Eject”) before removing it from your computer.

4) Do not leave it plugged to the computer for prolonged period of time. If you do not use it, just unplug it from your computer.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Chris , Flashbay | 01 Jun, 2021
Hi Peter,

Thanks for your message, and apologies for the late reply.

We suggest you wait until the Flash Drive is full before you delete all of the files.

A typical Flash Drive can accommodate varying amounts of erasing and writing to the Flash Drive. The number of available erase/writes is obviously very large for high-quality Flash Drives, like we sell here at Flashbay.

Each erase or write action will be counted once, no matter how many files are involved. As such, it makes sense to bulk erase and bulk write as often as possible, to ensure maximum Flash Drive longevity.

Many thanks,
Chris at Flashbay
Sami Saani | 28 May, 2021
I have 32gb OTG pendrive.
I have stored family photos and videos in it for future.
What would be the lifespan of the pendrive?
Peter Karakondis | 18 May, 2021
I just want to know if it is better to wait until USB drive is full before I delete all the files, or if I should delete files every time before adding new files. Does one way wear out the USB drive faster than the other?
Flashbay Team, Flashbay | 05 May, 2021
Hi Vandan,

Thanks for your question.

For standard use cases there are almost no flash drive read limits unlike the outlined write cycles limits.

But as a rule of thumb we'd say that your flash drive can be read at least 100,000 times without running into any issues at all if you properly take care of it.

I hope this fully answers the doubts you had on this technical point.


The Flashbay Team
Curious Orange, SkyCiros | 03 May, 2021
dave | 18 Dec, 2020

What is the evidence for your assertions? Please cite technical studies. Otherwise it simply looks like you are spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt. You may be 100% correct but you don't provide and links to the proof of your assertions.
VANDAN , Not yet | 01 May, 2021
You pointed out write cycles, but what about read cycles? How long until it degrades by reading only? Thanks in advance!!
dave | 18 Dec, 2020
There is bad info being given  here.  Flash storage will NOT hold data indefinitely, even if stored in the perfect environment.  If not powered, and eventually rewritten, it will lose the data within a single-digit # of years and that digit grows smaller the more writes each cell has endured.

So it's a bit of the opposite, that no you do not need to eject your flash drive if properly designed, it can stay plugged in 24/7 but what it can't do is sit in a safe and retain data for years without refreshing it.

This does not mean the data is guaranteed to be lost.  Like everyone else, I too have old flash drives with data, but the smaller the node of the flash, the faster it loses its memory retention.  One you buy today will not hold data nearly as long as one you bought 15 years ago.
Jamie | 12 Dec, 2020
The time capsule questions remind me of the car that was buried in a concrete vault in 1957 in Tulsa, OK.  When they opened it in 2007 the vault was filled with water and the car was completely ruined.
Jared | 10 Dec, 2020
What chip technology do you use in your USB drives?  Do you ofter thunderbolt 3 drives?
Chris , Flashbay | 25 Nov, 2020
Hi Xian Li,

Thanks for your question.

Yes, it's always advised to safely eject your Flash Drive when it's not in use. 

Regarding your storage question, it's best to keep the capless Flash Drive in a sealed container such as a small Tupperware box. 


Chris at Flashbay
Xian Li | 24 Nov, 2020
Hi, my name is Xian Li. I didn't know that I need to unplug my 2007  flash Drive, when not use anymore like after doing homework for more than a month.  Furthermore, I just realize that I lost my flash drive cap today. If I don't have the cap on where is the best place to store it when not use? Can this really shorten or break my flashdrive?
Chris , Flashbay | 29 Oct, 2020
Hi Vijay,

Thanks for reaching out.

It's tough to give you an exact number here. SanDisk produce high-quality products so they should both last a considerable amount of time in the environment that you've described.


Chris at Flashbay
Vijay | 29 Oct, 2020
If I use a SanDisk 64  otg pendrive once in a week and keep in dust free place of temperature range 25- 38 °C.
Then what will be it's Lifetime.

And same temp conditions but for a 32 gb SanDisk ultra micro SD card installed in my mobile device how long will it run.
mahesh jangra | 06 Oct, 2020
ROFL... its okay even if it retains data for few years as the technology is changing fast.. Initially in 1980s we had floppy disc, then compact disc and now flash drives.. the data storage devices will keep on changing year after year and hence, even if a flash drive has a life time of 2-3 years, that is more than enough.
Eileen | 28 Aug, 2020
Hi there. I just want to know what I can do to airtight a USB stick as I am placing songs onto it and placing it behind my husband's headstone before its sealed forever.(memorable songs)
Charles W Murrell II | 22 Aug, 2020
Great article! I am especially impressed with great questions and (equally) great responses/answers. My question, if I may is, what would you recommend for my smart TV? It uses a (removable) flash drive to constantly record, then re-record my antennae broadcasts in a constant 90 minute loop. GREAT feature but it's burning out my FD in about 2 maybe three months. I'm not complaining as "they" have served me well but I wouldn't mind an increase in "mileage". Any recommendations? Thank You So Much!
Sammy G | 25 Jul, 2020
I stored a bunch of photos on floppy drives back in 1990, should I transfer them to flash drive or wait for the next form of storage?  Just joking, trying to put things in perspective.  In 10 years another form of storage will be in use and it want matter if your flash drive works or not because there will be no USB ports on your computer or whatever device is in current use.
Brian Wilson | 10 Jul, 2020
Looking at purchasing the Samsung 2TB Metal Flash Drive. Would like to use it for Time Machine. Since I have a 1TB HD in the iMac and have had the experience of a 2TB hard Drive failure and lost everything in Time Machine before. Is this reliable for that use.
Chris , Flashbay | 10 Jul, 2020
Hi Brian,

Thanks for reaching out. 

Samsung are a reputable manufacturer of Flash Drives. As such, this particular Flash Drive model should be reliable for your Time Machine purposes. Obviously you need to protect it from the elements when you're storing/burying the Flash Drive - away from any moisture or high heats in particular. 

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Brian Wilson | 10 Jul, 2020
Looking at purchasing the Samsung 2TB Metal Flash Drive. Would like to use it for Time Machine. Since I have a 1TB HD in the iMac and have had the experience of a 2TB hard Drive failure and lost everything in Time Machine before. Is this reliable for that use.
Chris , Flashbay | 24 Jun, 2020
Hi Alexander,

Thanks for your questions. Please see our replies below.

1) This should last many years. Assuming you store it safely when it's not in use, away from high heat or moisture.

2) It depends on which operating system your'e using on your computer (MacOS, Windows etc..). There are a number of guides online that show a step-by-step process to Flash Drive Partitioning. 

3) Yes. Assuming it's well looked after.

4) None that we would recommend. We suggest to compress your files before saving, and obviously removing any unwanted (or hidden) files too. 

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Alexander Anderson | 24 Jun, 2020
i have multiple questions for you! please answer them with the numbers i assign them, as to avoid confusion! thank you in advance!
1.) i regularly use my lexar s57 probably plug it into my laptop 3-8 times a day! its 128GB! how long should it last i got it a few days ago?
2.) how should i partition my flash drive?
3.) i need this flash drive to last me at least 8 years! can i count on it?
4.) is there a way i can add storage to my flash drive?
any further questions will be asked in the future!
                                                                                                                      Alexander Anderson
Chris , Flashbay | 22 Jun, 2020
Hi Todd,

That's an interesting question.  But unfortunately we don't have any information regarding these notices you've mentioned. Based on what you've said, it may be a case of potential security searches of a passenger's data, and a request to remove/erase data if they suspect something suspicious. 

Perhaps the airport authorities can shed more light on this.

Sorry we couldn't offer more advice on this one.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
todd wiseman | 19 Jun, 2020
Can u comment on the new airport warning signs about ALL DATA WILL BE ERASED at pass thru to board planes ?? it's mid June 2020 and these signs are going up , rumour is to void hackers smuggling data and bank card NFO to other countries

Toronto ONT
Chris , Flashbay | 11 Jun, 2020
Hi Mark,

Thanks for the question.

1) Deleting partition tables is similar to deleting any other data stored on the Flash Drive and should not impact the lifespan of the Flash Drive any differently. This assumes your Flash Drive is from a reputable brand, and the deletion is executed properly. 

2) Making a Flash Drive bootable on a regular basis should not in itself impact the life expectancy of the drive but you would want to ensure that any features such as on disk caching or processes that frequently write large amounts of data to the disk were disabled. This is because such features and processes could write very large amounts of frequently changing data to the drive which would result in lots of write/erase cycles. Remember, Flash Drives are primarily designed to be used for data storage where data is written relatively few times and read many times rather than as active disks where data is frequently changing. 

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Mark | 10 Jun, 2020
How often can I delete partition tables and such stuff without damaging the USB flash drive's life?
And how often can I make a USB into a bootable one?
Will doing it once per week affect the life expectancy?
W.J.R. Halyn, WilderHaven Resources Inc. | 23 May, 2020
Note to Tifsy:
Just for security, copy the USB to at least one more, for safety's sake.  Occasionally something goes squirrelly, and after a USB dies, the data is more often than not, utterly irretrievable.  The cost is negligible; the security of having 1 (or 2!) copies is priceless.
Chris , Flashbay | 19 May, 2020
Hi Tifsy,

Thanks for getting in touch. 

The Flash Drive is perfect for such uses. You won't lose your data, assuming your Flash Drive is made by a reputable manufacturer and that it's kept in a safe place when it's not in use; away from moisture and high heat for example.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Tifsy | 18 May, 2020
I’ve YEARS worth of mail, and packets for personal medical stuff just collecting dust, I’ve been dying to get rid of them but too scared to shred them without having them for the future. I was thinking about copying them all on a few USB sticks after reading the article. Can I guarantee that as long as I plug in the USB stick just when I need to upload and store a new file along with all the previous ones that they will never erase?
Chris , Flashbay | 29 Apr, 2020
Hi Terry,

That's an interesting question.

None of your password information will be transferred from your Flash Drive to your Computer unless you instruct otherwise. The process you've mentioned does sound quite secure, but one extra step you could take is to store your passwords in a secured password-protected folder or file. 

As you may know, we offer Branded Flash Drives to companies all around the world. One of our most popular models is our Code Flash Drive that features a PIN security system to access the data on the drive. You can see more information on the Code USB here:

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Terry , Manuka Honey | 28 Apr, 2020
Many thanks for the most informative and helpful info. Very much appreciated.

My question is on security: I store sensitive passwords and info in a good quality flash drive. After I have accessed and read that information but not transferred or copied it to my PC, is it possible, after I have safely ejected the flash drive for a clever hacker in any way to subsequently view that information - in particular, my passwords?

Put another way, has any info been automatically transferred to my PC which may subsequently be available to view in any way?
Chris , Flashbay | 20 Apr, 2020
Hi Martin,

Thanks for your comment.

The second point above was posted by the community. This isn't direct advice from us. 

To clarify the point in question; A Flash Drive will last several years if left untouched. There's no need to use a Flash Drive each month to preserve its quality. This assumes the Flash Drive is manufactured by a reputable brand and that it's kept in a cool, dry environment. Away from high temperatures and moisture. 

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Martin | 17 Apr, 2020
I'm confused by some apparently contradictory earlier posts concerning the life expectancy of files on an untouched flash drive:
1) Sam Sanchez, Flashbay 22 Feb, 2013 : "We reckon at least 60 to 80 years if left in a safe in the perfect environment. ... But from real world test, as this technology is new, 10 years is certainly attainable."
2) Unkown 25 Jun, 2017: "... if you don't use flash memory for extended time, it can go bad. To avoid this problem, use flash memory every a few month at least a time."
Chris , Flashbay | 31 Mar, 2020
Hi Rama,

Thanks for getting in touch. 

HP is a reputable brand of Flash Drives and other such hardware. As such, we don't see any issues switching over to them. All of their models are of good quality.


Chris at Flashbay
Rama Chandra | 30 Mar, 2020
I am using Sandisk Cruzer Blade USB Flash Pen Drive 16GB currently. I am thinking of using HP Pen Drive now. Any recommendations?
Carlo Maria Mosco | 25 Jan, 2020
Hi Chris, 

I've no questions, but I wish to thank you a lot for sharing all the these information, that i found very very useful.

Carlo Maria
Chris , Flashbay | 13 Jan, 2020
Hi Phil,

It's a good question.

The files you created between 2015-2017  should be compatible with your Microsoft Word programme for many years to come, but it's good practice to check on this every few months. Here is a useful guide I've found online that might be of help:

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Phil | 10 Jan, 2020

I'm looking to use some flash drives to keep copies of important documents (mainly notes on books), once I've finished creating these documents I rarely edit or access them, I've noticed a few of them created 2015-17 while I was at uni are now an older file type and new editions of them must be made on MS Word, my concern and question is: how often should I check up on files saved to a flash drive for compatibility with my operating system? I don't intend to migrate from Microsoft and their Office package. 

At the moment I'm using OneDrive which offers 1tb, but I'm concerned they may arbitrarily wipe everything with a mere 48 hours notice; hence I'm looking for other backup options.
Chris , Flashbay | 07 Jan, 2020

Here is some more detail on how untrustworthy suppliers can promote false capacity claims, and how you can determine the true capacity of a Flash Drive.

MBR (Master Boot Record) is the first and boot sector of a USB Flash Drive, which contains information on how the physical drive is partitioned, the disk capacity and what file system is in use. So if an unscrupulous supplier modifies the capacity information in this sector, the drive will able to fool the Operating System to report a wrong capacity.

There are two popular methods to determine the true Flash Drive capacity:
1) Reformat your Flash Drive, and it will then state the true capacity.
2) Use an online tool such as H2testw which essentially copies several files to the Flash Drive until the capacity is reached. It then produces a capacity report stating the true capacity of the Flash Drive.

I hope this answers some of your questions.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Chris , Flashbay | 06 Jan, 2020
Hello, and thanks for your question.

Regarding your first question, the true capacity of these cheaper Flash Drives is often written in the 'small print' on the packaging or the suppliers website. We wrote a good article on a Flash Drive's true capacity here:

It's difficult to answer your second question without knowing all of the details. But our advice would be to spend a bit extra on a reputable brand. This ensures you're actually getting the stated capacity, and the Flash Drive won't fail on you after a few uses.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Chris , Flashbay | 02 Dec, 2019
Hello, and thanks for the question.

Without having the Flash Drive to hand, it's difficult to say what exactly has gone wrong. 
However, one possible reason is that the data has been corrupted, which has caused firmware issues within the Flash Drive. Another possible reason is the physical components of the Flash Drive are faulty, but this isn't necessarily related to the eject issue you've mentioned.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
W.J.R. Halyn | 30 Nov, 2019
Nice information here on this site.
I'm trying to find out what happens to a flash drive that's been removed and "Eject" wasn't used.   It happened a couple years ago; there was no data transfer ongoing, computer was quiet, but I unplugged the drive when focus was off it.   Yet, the next time I plugged the drive in, it was dead.  Unrecoverable.  Tried several programs to look at it, nothing would scan or open anything on it.
Sadly, this happened twice before I realized it was necessary to ALWAYS use "Eject" before pulling the drive, and I've never had a problem since.
So...  my question is, what specifically has happened to the drive that makes it unreadable and unfixable?
Chris , Flashbay | 25 Nov, 2019
Hi John,

Thanks for getting in touch.

The playback quality should remain at a high level for many years. 

This assumes that your Flash Drive is made of high-quality parts and that it's stored safely when not in use.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
John David Sutherland, none | 22 Nov, 2019
I recently had the contents of 4 DAT tapes put onto a PNY 16GB 3.0 Flash drive (AIFF files), so this is a transfer once/playback forever type deal, how long can I expect a high quality recording to maintain it's high quality playback quality.
Chris , Flashbay | 20 Nov, 2019
Hi Frederick,

Thanks for your question.

This shouldn't affect the life expectancy of your Flash Drive. This assumes that your Flash Drive is from a reputable brand, that uses high-quality parts.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Frederick | 19 Nov, 2019
Hello flashbay team. I bought a 64 gb 3.0 flash drive and i tested it in a flash drive test app (h2testw). I want to know if testing a flash drive affects its read/write cycles. Is testing a flash drive consumes too much cycles?
Jayjay | 05 Sep, 2019
( ⚆ _ ⚆ ) "But if you continue to use it over and over again, it will definitely wear out eventually.
When the limit is reached, some portion of the memory may not function properly, leading to lost of data and corruption."
Well, that's reassuring! *sarcastic*
Rod Fielding | 25 Aug, 2019
And... before you ask ... No, I do not have any finacial or any other kind of interest in the Integral company. I know their products well. that's all.
Rod Fielding, Zen Internet | 25 Aug, 2019
Yes... Integral ->

Try: integral dot com
Ajay | 24 Aug, 2019
Can you recommend me any good brand USB for storing family photos in Indian climate
Chris , Flashbay | 15 Jul, 2019
Hi Vic,

As per Rod's reply above, you should be able to transfer your files from one USB to another without any problems. This assumes your laptop has a working USB port and the two Flash Drives are in good working order.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Rod Fielding | 14 Jul, 2019
I don't know exactly what problems you might been having with your elderly laptop but if it's working at all - and assuming you have at least one USB port - there should be nothing preventing you from copying a bunch of files from one USB drive to another. If you have two USB ports, you could put one drive in each and copy the files directly. (Maybe open each drive in file manager and drag items from one window to the other). If you have only one USB port, the easiest way to go might be to copy all the files from the USB drive to somewhere on your laptop's hard drive - and then from there to the new drive.
Otherwise, take the two USB drives to someone with a fully functioning PC and ask them to do it. I could do it fopr you if you would trust your drive to the post.
Vic Morelli | 14 Jul, 2019
I have a laptop that is about 10 years old, that I cannot use because updates to Windows 7
are not available and even when they were I was unable to install them.  Can this laptop be
used to copy files from an equally old USB drive to a newer USB drive so that I can have a 
backup ready when the old one expires?  The files are all videos or photos, some of which
have lost quality.
Sandra | 08 Jul, 2019
About that 'extra quality',  I forgot to say that once I had the photo blown up, I was embarrassed to see that I had stuck out my tongue at the camera. Class photo ruined.....
Good luck with your new glasses!
Rod Fielding | 07 Jul, 2019
Hi Sandra:
Interesting to see your reply. I think we're a similar age. I had an eye test a few days ago and was told I have cataracts too - not serious enough for surgery yet, but my day will come. I shall be getting specs now - for the first time - and the photos I look at henceforth might suddenly acquire some extra quality that wasn't apparent previously. 
Best Wishes
Sandra M | 07 Jul, 2019
Thank you, Ron - after writing to you, it occurred to me that the fault may not be in my drives but in my eyes. I had cataract surgery some months ago; I'm thinking that I never saw the noise in my photos until now? Laugh if you will, I'm certainly laughing at myself. I still believe the digitals are nowhere near the quality of the old cameras, but at least I can stop worrying that they will get worse. And maybe some day the quality of a digital photo will be as good as those from the old cameras of long ago. 

About ten years ago, a friend loaned me a class photo taken when we were in the fifth grade (1952). The size of the photo was no more than 2x3 inches but I was able to blow it up to a beautiful 8x10 after scanning. 

Thank you again.

Rod Fielding | 07 Jul, 2019
(To Sandra M)
I agree/sympathise with everything you say - except for the notion that photos (jpeg files etc) stored on usb flash drives or on hard drives will lose quality over time. The quality of image you see or print that you get from a stored file immediately after copying it to a drive or disk will be exactly the same (if using all the same equipment or materials) whether it is done at that time or years later - unless the file is corrupted (damaged) in which case it will either print/view with obvious defects/artefacts or not be printable/viewable at all.
Sandra | 07 Jul, 2019
Hi Chris,
I am a doting grandmother who loves working with photos of my children and their children.  I began with my first scanner, scanning all of my old print photos, including some of myself from seventy-five years ago, taken by our babysitter! Then I began scanning new prints from my children as I got them. Then I copied their digital photos, either from their pc or from CD/DVDs they gave me. 

I have noticed several things after nearly 20 years of saving: 1) the CD-stored photos of myself are of higher quality than those of my grandchildren (sadly) even though they were prints, scanned with an inexpensive scanner; 2) the photos of my grandchildren taken with a pre-digital camera, and scanned, are often better than those taken with a digital camera (depending on the camera, of course); 3) the quality of photos taken with early cellphones was poor for several years, so photos taken in those years are virtually unusable for printing, even with expensive photo software; 4) even the best digital photos (taken before my kids began using cellphones) lose quality when stored on flash drives and external hard drives; and 5) maybe I'm crazy but I believe even those on DVD are deteriorating ---- can that be?

This is all to say that I have a question: are all of these photos from roughly 2002 to present, someday going to look like old Polaroids? Or at best, like the early cellphone photos?  You say ten years but I'm talking about will my grandchildren have photos of themselves as toddlers, seventy years from now? Should I be saving prints made from these photos, to back up the DVDs? Until a couple of years ago, I thought anything saved on an external hard drive was permanent, now I'm worrying about my DVDs. 

I'd be very grateful for your thoughts on this, and please forgive my rambling .... I'm an old woman, what can I say?

Sandra M
dk | 01 Jun, 2019
This article is incomplete. The "lifespan" of a flash drive could also refer to its shelf life: how long the data remains readable after sitting on the shelf unused for a number of years. Answering this question may require a physicist, but I'm fairly certain that the minute electric charges that represent bits on the storage medium will eventually dissipate. Whether this is 10 years or 100 years, there is a theoretical limit to the stability of the data.
Chris , Flashbay | 08 Mar, 2019
Hi Francis,

Good question.

We don't offer this service, but there is software out there that can potentially help you.
I've listed some options below which can tell you about the general health of your Dad's Flash Drive.

1) Check Flash (ChkFlsh)
2) RMPrepUSB
3) H2testw

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Francis , The Medical City | 07 Mar, 2019
Hi! Is there any software available to check on the potential remaining lifespan of a flash drive? My dad has one that is starting to have errors but he is insistent on conti using to use it
Chris , Flashbay | 25 Feb, 2019
Hi Khawer,

Thanks for getting in touch.

That depends on many factors, including; the brand of the Hard Disk, how you look after the Hard Disk and how often you read/write onto it. 

If your Hard Disk is from a reputable brand, and it's well maintained it should last you many years.


Chris at Flashbay
Khawer Khan | 23 Feb, 2019
What about Hard Disk?
Gerhard , Flashbay | 16 Jan, 2019
Hi Jeff,

Thanks for getting in touch.

The Write Cycle generally refers to the expected life expectancy of a Flash Drive. More specifically, it refers to the process of uploading and deleting data from your USB Flash Drive. Each of these actions degrades the Flash Drive slightly. High-quality Flash Drives like ours take an extremely long time to degrade. Cheaper Flash Drives will degrade quicker.

Many thanks,

Jeff Irok | 14 Jan, 2019
So, what exactly is a "write cycle" (no answer found on Google, unfortunately!)  Is it simply writing to the drive?  Does it start when I put the drive in a USB slot and it's recognized (or on power-up if it's already in there) and end when I take it off or power down?  Something else?
Rod Fielding | 30 Nov, 2018
I think you are looking in the wrong place if you want to buy flash drives in low quantities or you want to buy one at a time. This supplier is about selling flash drives intended for promotional gifts and giveaways - printed with logos or sales messages etc. If your only concern is about quality, you should look for drives from established brand-name manufacturers like Integral (a British company) or the likes of Verbatim, Philips, Intenso or SanDisk. Search on eBay or elsewhere for 32gb Verbatim, Philips, Intenso - and you will see them offered in the 8-10 pound price range for that size, which is a good 'bang per buck' size to be choosing. (But, of course, Flashbay is an excellent place to go if you need to source quantities of printed gift items).
Hayden | 30 Nov, 2018
I've read great reviews on your flash drives mainly regarding quality and longevity. I go to order but find I'm unable to purchase because I'm not buying large quantities or have a business. Could you direct me to a company that can compete with the quality od your flash drives please. Thank you
Sarah Chambers, Flashbay | 10 Sep, 2018
Hi Maurice,

Thank you for your message.

The lifespan of storage media can vary depending on a range of factors. The most important thing to do when storing important information is to preserve the storage device under optimal conditions.

The degradation level of flash memory / pen-drives is linked to the number of write cycles, which is typically around 100,000, and more than enough for average use. Also, as flash drives don't use magnetic fields to store data they aren't susceptible to magnets – making a flash memory safe and long-lasting devices for storing important files and documents.
Many thanks, 

Sarah Chambers
Maurice Smulders | 07 Sep, 2018
If we were to write between 24 and 48MB per day on a 16GB flashbay drive, how long would the endurance be?
Sarah Chambers, Flashbay | 26 Jul, 2018
Hi Frederick , 

We would be more than happy to look into this for you. 

please visit to submit your question and a member of our team will be in touch to help. 

if you have any further questions do not hesitate to ask, 

many thanks, 

Sarah at Flashbay
Frederick George Fosberry | 25 Jul, 2018
I would like to buy a usb3 flash drive so that i can save programs from my tv what do you recommend I get.
Sarah Chambers, Flashbay | 18 Jul, 2018
Hi Denise, as the thumb drives in question are not Flashbay products we would be unable to determine the exact cause of the issue. There can be several different reasons why your USB device isn't being recognized:

* If you are on a company network, perhaps your network administrator has blocked access to removable storage or new local disks. We suggest you try on some other personal computers
* The USB port on drive or computer has a poor connection: check for dust/fluff in the ports.
* The drive has corrupted over time, this should not have happened, but perhaps Sandisk used poor quality memory. 

Good Luck

Kind regards, 

Sarah at Flashbay
Denise | 17 Jul, 2018
I have 2 thumb drives that have important info on them. They have been stored in zip lock bags and then I an unused storage container on my desk. They have not been used frequently. I’d guess about 20 times. I plugged them into my desktop computer and the computer doesn’t recognize either of them and they don’t light up. Both are Sandisks. Is this common? Anything I can do to get the computer to recognize them?
Sarah Chambers, Flashbay | 09 May, 2018
Hi Bill, 

We would be more than happy to look into this for you. 

please visit to submit your question and a member of our team will be in touch to help. 

if you have any further questions do not hesitate to ask, 

many thanks, 

Bill Everett, PROJEX | 06 Apr, 2018
Hi Chris I sell strictly flashbay drives - 16 and 32gb I have a customer that copies data on the drives and sends them to the field. Some of the drives will work for a month or 2 and then stop working. Any thoughts?
Chris , Flashbay UK | 27 Mar, 2018
Hi Joe,

Thanks for your message.

Absolutely. Here at Flashbay we offer a variety of these accessory options for all of our Flash Drives, ranging from magnetic clip boxes to metallic tin boxes and even wooden boxes.

For further information, please check out our individual product pages on our website and scroll down to the available accessories section further down the page:

I hope this helps!

Many thanks,
Joe | 26 Mar, 2018
Are there 'little boxes' on the market in which flash drives can be properly stored (and especially protected from dust)?
Noah | 22 Feb, 2018
I have a question though. Is there a way of checking how worn off your flash drive is? (I mean on computer) if there is different ways as far as windows 7,8 and 10, can you explain those to me as well?
Lucy | 14 Jan, 2018
Hi I have some files, like pics, music, and some documents I want to keep. I plan on keeping forever, but want to know if I should use a usb stick or portable hard drive. I don't actually open them frequently, it's like my digital photobook kinda thing. The data size right now is 10gb.
Robert Leavitt | 12 Jan, 2018
On the subject of thumb-drive lifespan - I bought my first 4GB drive about 2002-03 to move files between college and home PCs. The chrome is worn through, the brand logo vanished long ago from knocking around in my pocket with keys, change, nail-clippers, etc. but it is still going strong.

Of course, I don't use it, or ANY drive,  for anything irreplaceable. I either have a back-up, can replace any lost data fairly easily (although sometimes with a fair bit of swearing), or can manage to survive without it.
Robert Leavitt | 12 Jan, 2018
On the subject of thumb-drive lifespan - I bought my first 4GB drive about 2002-03 to move files between college and home PCs. The chrome is worn through, the brand logo vanished long ago from knocking around in my pocket with keys, change, nail-clippers, etc. but it is still going strong.

Of course, I don't use it, or ANY drive,  for anything irreplaceable. I either have a back-up, can replace any lost data fairly easily (although sometimes with a fair bit of swearing), or can manage to survive without it.
jimmy | 06 Jan, 2018
Love him or hate him, Edward Snowden revealed that the CIA uses flash drives to access air gapped systems. Does Flashbay have any way to guarantee that (at least out of the box) their products aren't loaded with Brutal Kangaroo or other malware exploits?
James | 23 Dec, 2017
Hello, I have a question about my Sandisk 8 GB flash drive stick. I installed Counter Strike Source with a steam library on it, and I want to play it from my flashdrive. Will running the game off my flash drive cause it to wear out quicker than usual, or will it make little difference. The flash dirve has about 1GB of space left on it and is 3 years old.
Ed | 18 Sep, 2017
Hi, I use a flash drive on my smart TV to watch movies. Is there a difference in this type of read cycle since it's continuous for about an hour and  half compared to reading the same movie and same amount of data in a few seconds while copying?

Chris , Flashbay UK | 15 Aug, 2017
Hi Siddhartha,

Thank you for your question.

Whilst we cannot comment on any specific brand of USB Flash Drive, all USB Flash Drives do have a finite life span - continuous use inevitably does accelerate this process.

As mentioned above, the best course of action is indeed to ensure that you always have back-ups of all the data you wish to preserve, as a failsafe for when/if the USB Flash Drive fails.

I hope this helps!

Chris at Flashbay
Unkown | 11 Aug, 2017
You need to make backups. Otherwise you will lose all of them. It is important to note that all drives at some point fail. Backup is the solution.
Siddhartha | 10 Aug, 2017
i have a sony and sandisk usb flash drive and i have a lot of music videos and movies in it so i plug it in my tv and watch it for hours nd hours and leaving it plugged in for days so i was wondering could it get spoilt after taking it out and pugging it in so many times in the tv and even letting it stay there for days?  because i have a lot of valuable photos in it
Unkown | 25 Jun, 2017
There are three problems in flash based memory. The first problem is write cycle limit. If you write over tens of thousands times on a same memory block, the block will be permanently damaged. The second problems is read limit. If you read the same memory block over tens of thousands times, data on the memory block can be tainted. To avoid this, it's recommended to rewrite data periodically after use of thousands of times. The third problem is that if you don't use flash memory for extended time, it can go bad. To avoid this problem, use flash memory every a few month at least a time.
Chris , Flashbay UK | 13 Jun, 2017
Hi Ele,

Thanks for you message.

Best practice would be to unplug it, as cars can become very hot, and this may lead to the USB overheating.

I hope this helps.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Ele | 13 Jun, 2017
I use my USB in my car everyday to listen to music but never unplug it from the car. Is it safe to leave it in the car or should I unplug it every day to avoid the heat?
Chris , Flashbay | 12 Jun, 2017
Hi William,

Thanks for your question.

Whilst we cannot comment on specific software, in general, an erasing tool does cause greater wear. This is because each secure erase has ten passes writing over the USB. Writing over the data multiple times causes the USB to wear our faster.

Regarding the formatting tool - most users should find the capabilities of standard Windows Formatting tools more than adequate for their needs.

I hope this helps.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
William | 11 Jun, 2017
Would using a data wipe tool like Dariks Boot and Nuke on a USB wear it out faster? 

Which formatting tool would you recommend? 

Windows Format tool?
Windows Diskpart?
nene_tataie | 08 Jun, 2017
I have a Verbatim 4GB Flash Drive i bought it in 2006 it still works after 11 Years, with moderate use :D
Chris , Flashbay | 07 Jun, 2017
Hi Ajay,

Due to its portable nature and long lifespan, we would always recommend a USB Flash Drive to store all of your movies. You need to consider how many movies you want to store which will determine how large the Flash Drive needs to be. For example, our largest capacity model is 128GB. This could store approximately 244 movies in MPEG format. There is a handy guide on the page below regarding capacity sizes and how much data they can store.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
AJAY | 06 Jun, 2017
I need a good life long storage to put all my movies so according to you which is better? Harddrive or USB Flash drive or SSD?
Chris , Flashbay | 06 Jun, 2017
Hi Ananyay,

Thanks for your question.

Assuming that your Flash Drive is made of high-quality parts, like we use here at Flashbay, the data will be retained for many many years. This also assumes that your Time Capsule protects the Flash Drive from moisture or any other potentially damaging elements.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
jeffrey | 05 Jun, 2017
is there any way to tell if your flash is slc or mlc? Also, what does 10,000 r/w cycles mean in terms of real world usage? For example in hours. If youre just running an OS like chromium on an emmc and not downloading much does that increase size? is a read write cycle only when something is added or downloaded - i mean does an os by itself when just browsing the internet read and write to memory? Thanks for any replies.
Unkown | 05 Jun, 2017
Time capsule?
There won't be any device available to read your flash device when they open your time capsule. To keep data, you need to transfer to new devices on a regular basis, say, every five years, etc.
ananyay guha | 04 Jun, 2017
hi sir

i was wondering what could be the expected data retention for a USB Flash Drive if kept in air tite or in a vacuumed state to prevent oxidation. (i am building a time capsule)
Chris , Flashbay | 19 Apr, 2017
Hi Paula,

Thanks for getting in touch.

Based on the information you've supplied, it's difficult to give you a definite answer. 

Depending on the age and make, the 'sync issue' could be caused by a worn out Flash Drive. However, if you're using a high-quality Flash Drive this is not likely to be the cause.

The sync issue could also stem from your converter box, in which case you should try restarting it and also look at the manufacturers website for possible solutions.

Finally, if you're recording whilst streaming programmes, a poor internet connection could also be the cause.

I hope this helps.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Paula | 18 Apr, 2017
I am using a usb stick to record TV on my convertor box and recently notice when I play it the audio and video is not in sync.  Does this mean it is worn out and needs to be replaced?
Chris , Flashbay | 28 Mar, 2017
Hi Alex,

Interesting question!

Just like our models, SanDisk use high-quality parts. As such, your USB Flash Drive is more durable than other, lower spec, models.

That said, we don't advise putting your Flash Drive through the Washer and Dryer again!

Many thanks,

Alex | 28 Mar, 2017
I have a SanDisk 32GB flash drive I got a couple years ago
This flash drive is incredibly durable. It gets inserted and removed multiple times a day, files are written to it constantly, it gets carried around in my pocket a lot, it gets dropped, and even went through the washer and dryer once. Did I get a really good drive or are most durable like this?
Chris , Flashbay | 09 Mar, 2017
Hi Dejan,

Thanks for the question.

Assuming you're using a high-quality Flash Drive, there is no reason the longevity of the drive would be affected. 

Opera promote their 'Opera Portable' service on their website. More information is here:

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Dejan | 08 Mar, 2017

I'm used to run a couple of portable applications (most notably Opera browser) from my USB flash drive. Is it a good practice, in terms of usability and longevity of USB drive??
Chris , Flashbay | 13 Feb, 2017
Hi George,

Thanks for getting in touch, good question.

Based on what you've described, including the fact that you're using a high-quality Flash Drive, the listening of music once or twice a week will have very little impact on the life of the Drive.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
George , Henne Laboratories | 10 Feb, 2017
If I put 20 albums of music on a good quality flash drive, will the number of times that I listen to the music affect the life of the drive?  Let's say I plug it in once a week to listen to some music, then unplug it when I'm finished.
Unkown | 07 Feb, 2017
The write limit applies to each block flash memory. If you write too many times to a memory block, your memory is no longer usable. This has implications with the number of files you store in a directory. If a directory holds over thousands of files or subdirectories, after copy of each file, memory blocks holding file/subdirectory information will be rewritten, consuming one write cycle. It will hit the write limits very quickly. This is a major problem. To prolong life of flash memory, avoid writing many files, especially in a single directory. Make small numbers of very big files. This is especially true when you make backup copies. I have 15,000 files to backup regularly. I make a single zip file about size of 500MB and store on flash memory. If I copy them directly, flash memory soon becomes unusable. This happened to my SanDisk memory card before!
Simon Hayes, DMZ Ltd | 06 Feb, 2017
I am really enjoying reading this discussion for which I thank you especially as I use your USB Flashbays a lot to move video (ts files) from my Humax PVR (linux) to the computer (WIN)  (write @4GB; read and then erase off flash). However I have run into snags of files not being fully saved to the flash after a five or six successes; tried formating the drive (NTFS) rather than erasing the files and this worked for a couple of times and then same problem. Tried formatting as EXT2 seems to work more reliably. It was when reading about EXT2 v EXT3 that I heard about the # of writes reducing the lifespan and researching that claim got me here. What I find difficult is understanding a write cycle? Does a file write and erase 1MB with less write cycles than a file of 1GB? Why does a new flash drive act more reliably than one used after transfering six 4GB files? Or could it be the Humax that is at fault?  Any light on the conundrum would be appreciated :)
Rod Fielding, Zen Internet | 03 Feb, 2017
You don't mention what brand (if any) of drive you are using. It could be that your actual problem is that the drive itself is not all it's cracked up to be. Try Verbatim or Transcend or Philips instead - and see if the problem repeats..
Chris , Flashbay | 03 Feb, 2017
Hi Simon,

Thanks for getting in touch.

To answer your questions:

1) When files are stored in a file system they're not added as one large file, they are stored in small pieces called blocks. The size of the blocks varies depending on the file system in use and the parameters used when formatting. These blocks are then stored on the flash drive as groups of individual bits and it is these groups of bits that are written, read or erased. Writing / erasing a 1MB file will therefore involve writing / erasing at least 1,000 times fewer blocks than would be needed for the 1GB file (which is 1,000 times bigger). Essentially, the bigger a file is, the more blocks it will be made up of and therefore the more individual bits on the drive will be cycled when writing / erasing the file. 

2) Flash drive controllers include a feature called wear levelling which tries to ensure an even spread of blocks across the disk so that no particular portion of the disk wears out faster than another. If a block does wear out the controller would mark it as bad and not attempt to store data there. File size should not therefore affect reliability unless there are not enough good blocks left to store the file, which is not likely as each individual block would need many tens of thousands of write / erase cycles before it would wear out. 

3) It is possible that the device writing the files is not completing the operation or performed the operation correctly but we can't speculate on individual brands or devices as there are such a variety in the market place. One possibility is write caching where a device doesn't immediately complete writing a file but instead caches some part of it and completes the write at some later time. If the drive is removed before the device flushes the cache and completes the whole write operation then the file may not be readable. Properly ejecting the flash drive by selecting the appropriate eject option on the device before removing it would usually cause the cache to flush and be written to the drive. 

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Simon Hayes, DMZ Ltd | 03 Feb, 2017
I am really enjoying reading this discussion for which I thank you especially as I use your USB Flashbays a lot to move video (ts files) from my Humax PVR (linux) to the computer (WIN)  (write @4GB; read and then erase off flash). However I have run into snags of files not being fully saved to the flash after a five or six successes; tried formating the drive (NTFS) rather than erasing the files and this worked for a couple of times and then same problem. Tried formatting as EXT2 seems to work more reliably. It was when reading about EXT2 v EXT3 that I heard about the # of writes reducing the lifespan and researching that claim got me here. What I find difficult is understanding a write cycle? Does a file write and erase 1MB with less write cycles than a file of 1GB? Why does a new flash drive act more reliably than one used after transfering six 4GB files? Or could it be the Humax that is at fault?  Any light on the conundrum would be appreciated :)
Ketchup | 07 Jan, 2017

Thanks you alot for your quick answer.
thanks you.
Rod | 07 Jan, 2017
Leaving the USB flash drive plugged into the TV won't do it any harm at all - you can leave it there for months (with no ill effects) if you wish. Your TV might pester you with messages every time you switch the set on (to ask if you want to access the drive) but that's not really a problem.
If you're looking for more to watch - you can get recent-release films on USB drives, try a search on eBay for MP4 movies on flash drive - or something like: USB-Flash-Drive-with-Free-Movies-Recent-Films-MP4
Ketchup | 07 Jan, 2017

i have a question. I made lately my first use of a USB flash drive. i know we are in 2017 now and i know i am slow ^^. i've put videos on my 32GB flash drive to see them in my new 43' Plasma TV  equipped with an USB plug... I want to know if i always need to unplug it from the TV or i can let it in for a week or 2 ?
Do i need to unplug it each time i am not watching the videos ?
Brent | 23 Dec, 2016
I use the drive for a router and I am consistently writing log files to the drive. Does anyone really know what the max write limit for a USB drive is? Unfortunately, I really don't have any other option other than small USB hard drive that I can attach to the router.
Tomo | 03 Nov, 2016
Would it be wise to use flash stick instead of a external hard drive for storing game's on,meaning that it will be used a lot (will this cause degradation faster if I play games stored on it a lot).
Rod Fielding | 26 Oct, 2016
RE: the message below:
Thanks, Chris...
You're right about the registry. I can see entries there for drives that were used once (ages ago) and then passed on to other users. So there's no need for the info to be stored/retained on my machine. I wondered if it might slow down my PC eventually when there are details stored for 50 or 100 long-gone flash drives.
Thanks for offering to send me that helpful application. I look forward to seeing that.

Hi Rod, Thanks for your question. a) This information is stored in the registry, usually in the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetEnumUSBSTOR Also, applications exist which can show you a listing of every USB drive ever connected to the computer (I will directly email you an example of an application today) b) There shouldn't be a limit, however 'older' devices may take longer to be recognised than more recent devices. Many thanks, Chris at Flashbay
Chris , Flashbay | 26 Oct, 2016
Hi Ali,

An interesting question!

The USB Flash Drive just needs to be kept in a cool, dry place. Without too exposure to heat. 
If it's a high-quality Flash Drive (like our models) it will last for well over 10 years. 

Regarding the seal... It depends where you're burying it! 

Many thanks,

Chris , Flashbay | 26 Oct, 2016
Hi Rod,

Thanks for your question.

a) This information is stored in the registry, usually in the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\USBSTOR 

Also, applications exist which can show you a listing of every USB drive ever connected to the computer (I will directly email you an example of an application today)

b) There shouldn't be a limit, however 'older' devices may take longer to be recognised than more recent devices.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Ali , Aramco | 26 Oct, 2016
If I buried a flash in a time capsule, would it survive? For how long? What do I seal it with to increase the probability of it surviving? (I don't expect you to know the answer but might as well ask).

thank you,

Ali , Aramco | 26 Oct, 2016
If I buried a flash in a time capsule, would it survive? For how long? What do I seal it with to increase the probability of it surviving? (I don't expect you to know the answer but might as well ask).

thank you,

Rod Fielding | 25 Oct, 2016
Every time I use a USB flash drive for the first time, Windows takes a moment ot two to go through its 'install new hardware' routine but it never needs to do this again - even if it's a long time before the drive is used again and many more new drives have been introduced to the computer in the meantime. So,Windows obviously stores information about each new drive and holds it for a long time - or permanently. My questions are: (a) where is this information stored {I'd like to look and see how much there is] and (b) is there any limit to the number of new drives that can be introduced and registered by Windows in this way? I would guess that I have introduced over 50 flash drives to my PC over the last 18months. I use XP on a machine that is not connected to the Internet.
Chris , Flashbay | 14 Jul, 2016
Hi Gabriele,

Thanks for the question.

Your memory stick will work on your computer with Windows 10.

Many thanks,

Gabriele | 13 Jul, 2016
Hi Chris,

I am not a computer whiz, have very limited computer knowledge, but am wondering about whether a USB memory stick that was used on a Windows Vista OS can also be used on the new Windows 10 OS, once all the information on it has been deleted.
Chris , Flashbay | 19 May, 2016
Hi Saboor,

Thanks for the kind feedback.

Both options should be fine. However, if you want to be extra careful you should use option 2.

Using this option gives you a 'safety net'. You can check that your new file is ok and that you haven't accidentally overwritten anything before deleting the old file.

I hope this helps.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Saboor Siasang, Personal | 18 May, 2016
Hi Chris and the Flashbay Team,
First of all, appreciate your detailed replies to every question here. I immensly benefited from reading all queries and answers. My question: After working on an existing file, which of the following two options would be safer with usb/ flash-drive: (1) replace a document, photo, song, files, folder with the newer version, or (2) save-as the edited version of foregoing examples using 'different name' and deleting the older one?
Chris , Flashbay | 05 Jan, 2016
Hi Nik,

Thanks for your question.

Your Flash Drive will last you for more than 10 years. This is assuming that it’s made from high-quality parts like we use here at Flashbay. 

It also assumes that your Flash Drive isn’t exposed to any poor conditions such as high temperatures or moisture.

As such, we would always recommend a USB Flash Drive over a CD/DVD to store your data.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Nik | 05 Jan, 2016
Hi,Flash bay team.....
I want to know if the Flash drives has memory Storage cycle of 10 years,then which is more suitable for Backups Storages for longer periods ?DVD or Flash Drives 

Thank you
Chris , Flashbay | 03 Dec, 2015
Hi Gayle,

Thanks for getting in touch. Happy to help.

1) This message can be caused by a few different factors (including a possible virus). Our friends at 'Make Use Of' have a very handy guide to help with your first question:

2) Each time you save a file down to your Flash Drive it counts as a 'write' cycle. However, from what you've described below this would have very little 'wear and tear' on the drive.

3) I would always advise to 'safely remove your USB Flash Drive' after each use. This way it cannot be corrupted when restarting your laptop or computer.

4) Formatting is an option. However,  I suggest 'scanning' your USB Flash Drive for viruses using your installed virus software. I suggest doing this step before formatting the drive.

5) Quite possibly. The scan should reveal any viruses or malware.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Gayle Donaldson, Avon Independent Sales Rep | 02 Dec, 2015
Thank you for taking my questions.

1---am receiving a write-protected msg when trying to update my files. Read-only attributes were applied to files unbeknownst to me. My backup files also have read-only in their properties, but the error only began this week. My bookkeeping worked fine 2 weeks ago.

2---with my business cycle being 2 weeks, I am only updating files every 1-2 weeks, adding new customer sales data to spreadsheets or saving additional pdf files. Am writing a revised file rather than a new one with the added data, so is that more wear on the flash drive?

3---Have had the flash drive inserted when restarting. Does that compromise the flash drive? I am not booting from it.

4---If I format the apparently compromised flash drive, will it work properly again? 

5---Would the culprit be a virus or malware?
Chris , Flashbay | 05 Nov, 2015
Hi Noam,

No problem at all. Happy to help.

Regarding your first question: Your laptop's age shouldn't affect the need for more (or less) read and write cycles. The number of read / write operations would be similar or the same regardless of speed, it's just that more of them would happen in a shorter timeframe for a faster device or computer. 

Regarding your second question: A write cycle is purely the process of writing or erasing data to a specific part of memory - in this case, your USB Flash Drive. Generally speaking, the number of write cycles performed is dependant on the size of the data you're writing or erasing and the way that the drive is formatted and the time it takes depends on the speed of the drive and the computer. A slower drive or computer, with the same formatting and performing the same operation as a faster one, would still need to perform the same number of cycles but it would generally need a longer period of time to finish the job.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Noam Preil | 05 Nov, 2015

Thank you for getting back to me. Actually, the laptop I have now is from 2003, and so while a modern computer boots from the USB in under 15 seconds (while Windows on the hard drive takes over four minutes), on this computer it can take up to a minute to start up, not including the ten seconds to start an X Server when I need one.

As such, I have not really noticed a huge speed difference (this is probably also because while the device is 3.0, the port is 2.0). 

This leads to my next question. Does running it on this computer in theory increase the number of read/write cycles due to the fact that it is slower?

Lastly (for now), what exactly is a write cycle? Is it a KB, 512 B, or is it a set time, not size?
Chris , Flashbay | 04 Nov, 2015
Hi Noam,

Thanks for getting in touch.

If you keep your Flash Drive in a safe, dry area and don't expose it to high temperatures it should last you well over 10 years. That's assuming that your Flash Drive is made from the same high-quality parts that we use here at Flashbay.

Regarding your second question. A 3.0 device won't necessarily last any longer than a 2.0 device. The 3.0 device simply enables faster data transfer rates - as you will no doubt know.

Regarding your final question. The USB Flash Drive will last longer if it's not always being used to download/upload packages onto your desktop or laptop. You can search for tips on how to minimise logging and disk writes to extend the life of the drive. Downloading packages shouldn't cause a problem but operating systems write a lot of data to disk in routine operation and that should be minimised when running from a flash drive to help ensure the drive lasts as long as expected. 

I hope this helps answer your questions.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Noam Preil | 03 Nov, 2015
Hi FlashBay.

A few months ago I purchased a SanDisk 32GB USB 3.0 device, and due to my computer's hard drive breaking I have installed Debian 8.2 on it. Due to errors at different points in time, I have needed to reinstall the system around 3 times. If I run a small server off of it, mostly accessed by myself - although occasionally I give the IP address to a friend to help me debug it, as well as streaming music with Spotify as well as common use (internet browsing, music, document writing, image editing, etc.), how long could I expect it to last?

Do 3.0 devices last longer than 2.0? 

I have installed many packages including chromium, abiword, gnumeric, nodejs, npm, wine, as well as two desktops, and I was wondering if the USB would last longer if I don't use the desktops and just stick with a window manager?

Also, I find it amusing that a 14 year old who has switched schools 7 times in the past 3 years seems to have better grammar than most of the other people who have written comments on here.
Tim Stevens | 22 Sep, 2015
Hi Chris
Thanks for swift response.  Happy to note that my flash drives probably won't die overnight!

Chris , Flashbay | 21 Sep, 2015
Hi Tim,

Thanks for getting in touch with us.

It depends on what exactly is wrong with the Flash Drive and what elements it has been exposed to. However, some general areas to watch out for are:

1) Excessively slow upload and download times when trying to use your Flash Drive

2) The 'USB Device not recognised' message is appearing more often on your computer or laptop 

3) The Flash Drive is showing empty folders or is losing data despite you saving data onto it.

4) Warning errors about being unable to read or write to the device

If any or all of the above points start to happen frequently it may mean your Flash Drive is about to stop working.

As we say to all of our customers, if you care for your Flash Drive and keep it in a safe, dry place it should serve you for well over 10 years.

I hope this helps answer your question.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Tim Stevens | 21 Sep, 2015
Hi Flashbay
If a flash drive fails after, say, 10 years, does it simply stop working, or does it begin to fail in ways that are noticeable?  I guess what I'm asking is will I get any prior notice that the drive is going to fail?
Chris , Flashbay | 07 Jul, 2015
Hi Rahul,

Your operating system will likely make a high quantity of small read and writes.

There are two main factors determine the speed of this data transfer: The interface (USB2.0 or USB3.0) and speed at which the NAND flash memory can be read/written to. The read/write speed is influenced by many factors such as whether your memory is MLC/SLC, whether you have more than 1 chip (and if so, whether the controller supports multiple read/write channels)

For most flash drives the performance bottleneck is the memory, rather than the interface, so USB3.0 offers little noticeable benefit. If you buy a high quality/performance flash drive, whose memory is optimised for quick data transfer, then will you see additional speed benefit with USB3.0 over USB2.0.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay.
Rahul Saini, Steria | 07 Jul, 2015
Thanks Chris,
Could you also let know if it USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 Flash drive have any effect on running a cloned Ubuntu OS from it ? Will USB 2.0 performance be noticeably lesser than USB 3.0 for running a cloned OS off the Flash drive ? Any performance test result links pointed out are very much welcome !!!
Chris , Flashbay | 06 Jul, 2015
Hi Rahul,

Thanks for getting in touch.

Assuming that your USB Flash Drive is made from high-quality parts, like the ones we use, your Flash Drive should serve you well for many years rather than many months, even if you're using it to run a cloned Operating System.

This also assumes that you store your Flash Drive in a safe area and don't expose it to any high temperatures.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Rahul , Steria | 06 Jul, 2015
I intend to run a cloned OS , Ubuntu 14 LTS, cloned using CloneZilla, from a USB Flash drive. Given that OS running would lead to many many read write cycles than the usual, I want to expected life expectancy in years or does it get reduced to months for the case when we need to run a cloned OS from a USB Flash drive
SF | 23 Jun, 2015
Thank you for your help.
I am trying to figure out the safest and most efficient way to back up music albums that were released on CD-Rs, as they can decau really quickly.
Chris , Flashbay | 23 Jun, 2015

Thanks for getting in touch.

Assuming that your Flash Drive is made from high-quality parts like the ones we use, it will last for well over 15 - 20 years.

This is also assuming that you store your Flash Drive in a safe and protected environment and don’t expose it to any harsh elements such as high temperatures or magnets.

I hope this helps answer your question.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
SF | 23 Jun, 2015
How long in years will a USB live, if only one writing session is done, for archive purpose, or for making a music album on it, when will the data decay?
Chris , Flashbay | 23 Apr, 2015
Hi Shelly,
Thanks for getting in touch.
If you only use your USB Flash Drive for viewing pictures it should last for well over 10 years. This is assuming that you look after your Flash Drive as mentioned above.
This also assumes that your Flash Drive is from a reputable brand, like Flashbay, and that high-quality components have been used to build the drive.

Of course - always remember to keep a backup of your pictures on another medium to ensure they are safe no matter what happens to the Flash Drive. 
I hope this helps.
Many thanks,
Chris at Flashbay
Shelly | 23 Apr, 2015
You were talking about write and erase, but what if I use the device only to view pictures? I have a USB with pictures on it, but I only ever view them alone and never add new ones. I do tend to leave the device in my computer for hours at a time, though. Given this information, how long do you think a USB used in this way will last?
hurairah | 24 Nov, 2014
Thankyou chris,
im a student of information technology and one of my professor told me that USB
is volatile memory to some extent because data will lost after a period of time if we dnt plug it on system for a long time. and also because USB cels need charge to keep data but when they dnt get charge data will be lost or corrupted. 
thanks again for your advise :)
Chris , Flashbay | 21 Nov, 2014
Hi Hurairah, 

Thanks for contacting us.

Like most models of Flash Drive out there, our drives are non-volatile which means that once data is written to the memory the drive does not need a power source to retain the data on the drive. Volatile memory units do require power, usually provided by a battery. 
The exact period of time that data will be retained on a drive will vary depending on how much use the drive has had and how it is stored in the intervening time but in general 10 years is a good guide. 

I hope this helps answer your question.


hurairah | 21 Nov, 2014
hey, does a USB is a volatile memory? as u said it can take up to 10years of storage. ans me if yes then why? if not then why?
Chris , Flashbay | 17 Nov, 2014
Hi Luis,

Thanks for contacting us. We'd be happy to help answer your questions.
Can you please contact me via my email address below? I can then respond to all of your questions.


Luis , IUAV | 16 Nov, 2014
Hi, flashbay team

I am a student of Industrial Design from IUAV Univeristy of Venice.

I'm researching the subject of the Life Cycle Assessment of flash drives.

I would be particularly grateful if you could tell me where your production sites are located;
if you use one or more production sites; where the raw materials come from;
and any further information about the energy consumed in production, the amount of water used and any production waste.

If it does not break any confidentiality clauses, I would be very grateful if you could tell us the overall production cost or unit cost.

Chris , Flashbay | 03 Nov, 2014
Hi Troy, 

Thanks for the comment. In short we estimate 10 read operations to be equivalent to 1 write operation in terms of wear to the NAND flash memory. 

In your specific use case, the retention of the flash drive will depend on:

i) Memory type (SLC, MLC, TLC):

Single level cell (SLC) NAND will have the best data retention. It is subjected less 'read disturb' than MLC or TLC. However SLC NAND flash  is much more expensive than MLC or TLC NAND flash.

A read disturb occurs when a cell that is not being read receives elevated voltage stress and can occasionally result in a bit flip. The probability of read disturb is much lower than is a write disturb.

ii) Flash management

The controller chip does a lot of work to reduce the wear on NAND flash by employing the following techniques: Wear-levelling algorithms, bad block management, error detection and correction, write amplification and over provisioning.

We generally use controllers made by Silicon Motion (SMI) which have excellent flash management. If you buy a flash drive which is much bigger than your data storage requirement you will also benefit from better wear levelling than a drive with little free space.

Our advice would be to purchase a high-quality Flash Drive and run your chosen Operating System from there. It might cost you slightly more but it will be worth it.  People have been running Operating Systems from Flash Drives for quite a while now so there's no reason to think your Flash Drive will stop working after a couple years - if you purchase one with high-quality parts!

Kind Regards,

Chris at Flashbay
Troy | 01 Nov, 2014
Hello, You only mentioned write cycles which causes wear on the drive. Do read cycles have the same effect on the drive? If I install OS (such as linux) on a flash drive and use it as a boot drive. It will be left running 24/7, and it will do reading most of the time after initial setup. How long will the drive lasts? Thanks
Chris , Flashbay | 13 Oct, 2014
Hi Andy,

Thanks for getting in touch.

We wouldn't recommend going back to the hand-written notes and typewriter. However, what we would recommend is 'backing up' important files and documents – i.e making copies of your important files. As with other technology (or notepads for that matter) there is always a possibility that the hardware (or pages) may get damaged, especially if not cared for properly. 

We use the best quality parts for all of our USB Flash Drives and we’d like to think that your Phillips Flash Drive is made with similar quality and care. As such, your Flash Drive should serve you well for many years if you take care of it.


Chris at Flashbay
Andy | 13 Oct, 2014
Hi, Flashbay team. After reading your informative item I'm a bit concerned, as I'm using a memory stick for my diary and other important documents. I recently lost a lot of important work, as I'd been using floppy discs, and a data transfer wasn't successful in retrieving all the data. It makes me think of returning to hand-written notes and a typewriter. Is it a good idea to continue writing daily to my 64GB flash drive (Phillips), for example?
Chris , Flashbay | 15 Sep, 2014
Hi Jesse,

If you're only using your Flash Drive once a week it will serve you well for many years to come. Remember, as mentioned in the article, it's important to use a Flash Drive supplier that uses 'Grade A Memory' and you obviously shouldn't subject the Flash Drive to any harsh conditions such as high temperatures or humidity. This will ensure a long life for your Flash Drive. 

We always use Grade A memory and all our Flash Drives come with a 10 year warranty.

Many thanks,

Chris at Flashbay
Jesse | 15 Sep, 2014

one where you say you will continue it over and over again then it will wear out, it meant if i use it for 7 days a week and 24 hours then it will wear out? what about Every Sundays like today?
Monica , Flashbay | 23 May, 2014

Thank you for your message.

The lifespan of storage media can vary depending on a range of factors. The most important thing to do when storing important information is to preserve the storage device under optimal conditions.

The degradation level of flash memory / pen-drives is linked to the number of write cycles, which is typically around 100,000, and more than enough for average use. Also, as flash drives don't use magnetic fields to store data they aren't susceptible to magnets – making a flash memory safe and long-lasting devices for storing important files and documents.
Many thanks,
Monica at Flashbay
Movie Viewer | 23 May, 2014
1.  If I have really important files to store for indefinite period of time, what media would you recommend:  a choice of external hard-drives, pen-drives, DVD+/-Rs, DVD+/-RWs?
Thank you.
jonathanfgh | 14 Mar, 2014
I have had many hard drives fail but never a USB, yet .............
Monica , Flashbay | 20 Feb, 2014
Hi Robert,

According to the Windows ReadyBoost team you should get more than 10 years usage out of a flash drive used with their technology but unfortunately we can't comment on your specific model. 

However, we can certainly say that all Flashbay flash drives come with a 10 year warranty and are compatible with Windows ReadyBoost.

Robert Bystrom | 19 Feb, 2014
If I had a 64GB USB 3.0, made in 2013, and I have it almost always plugged in, as I use it for Readyboost 24/7 wherever I go, how long should I expect the drive to work?

Drive is Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 64GB
Sam Sanchez, Flashbay | 22 Feb, 2013
Hi Rock,

We reckon at least 60 to 80 years if left in a safe in the perfect environment. Over these time periods I think oxidation would be the rate determining step to failure. But from real world test, as this technology is new, 10 years is certainly attainable.

Rock Normand | 22 Feb, 2013
Hi there
It would have been nice to know the theoritical length of data retention for the stick sitting in the safe. A million years?
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