First of all they can be called many names. Jump drive is a brand. They are also called Thumb Drives, USB drives, backup drives, portable drives or, for that matter, whatever you want to call them.
What are the differences?
There too many to mention all of them. By now almost any manufacture is OK to use. Most “bad” ones have been weeded out of the market. You mainly need to be able to know what you want to use it for.
* Some swing open while others just have a cap on them. Some even slide in and out. Larger drives are connected by using a USB cable.
* Transferring or storing a small amount of data- This drive can normally be as small as 500 Megabytes. You still need to know how big the file or files will be however.
* Using as a backup drive- This depends on if you are going to use a backup utility that will over write the files each time. If you are going to back up individual files or programs on a regular basis I would recommend a large drive. Backup Drive physical sizes are normally bigger than a simple flash drive. Their storage space can be as large as one terabyte. In fact, they get bigger every day. Small flash drives have gained in storage space and can be as big as 16 GIG at this writing.
* Cost considerations – The type of drive you get may depend on your budget. Although a very large drive is nice to have you may be forced to buy a smaller drive. USB drives have come down in price very fast. As the large drives started coming out the small drive prices dropped like a rock.
* Storage capacity- Here is a good way to look at it: If you have a 500 GIG drive on your hard drive, buy a drive half that size. Usually your data would have fit on a 500 GIG drive without a backup as an example. However, have a computer technician look at your storage needs. Do not try to play technical. This never saves any money. If you do it right the first time, you will go years without a worry.
Are there any warnings I need to know about?
Yes! As in any new