What is a USB stick

A USB stick is an electronic storage medium that communicates via the "Universal Serial Bus". A USB stick can be used to establish a connection between a computer and an external device and to exchange and save data in this way. USB sticks are very popular due to their handy pocket format, high storage capacity and access speed, and easy handling.

USB sticks: what they can do, what they cost

The USB stick is a small-format storage medium. The data is electronically stored on a flash memory. The first USB sticks came onto the market in 2000, at that time with a storage capacity of 8 megabytes. There are now sticks with a capacity of 1 Tbyte. The speed of reading and writing has also grown steadily

Although USB sticks can do more and more, they have become smaller and smaller. The smallest stick, including the protective cap, is only 19.5 millimeters long, 15.5 millimeters wide and only 7 millimeters high. Even waterproof models are now on the market. But USB sticks are not only popular because of their high storage capacity and handy size, the price is also unbeatable: the practical memory pens are available for just a handful of euros.

Despite their small size, USB memory sticks are quite durable and robust. According to the manufacturer, data stored on it can survive for up to ten years. Nevertheless, the memory cells are not free from signs of wear. Although the data can theoretically be read indefinitely, the manufacturers usually only guarantee 100,000 write cycles per memory cell.

USB interfaces and compatibility

USB sticks are available for the now outdated USB 1.1 bus, the significantly faster USB 2.0 bus and the currently fastest USB 3.2 bus. The widespread USB 2.0-capable sticks can theoretically store and read data at a corresponding interface at 480 megabits per second, but these values ​​are rarely achieved in practice. The USB 2.0 bus is backwards compatible with the USB 1.1 bus, but the transfer rate is reduced to 12 megabits per second.

USB sticks do not have a lock, so they can be disconnected from the computer at any time. If this happens while the device is reading or writing data, data may be lost. Therefore, you should notify the operating system of this before removing the stick and only disconnect it from the computer after all write operations have been completed.

Modern operating systems recognize the sticks automatically. How the respective operating system handles the USB stick is different: Under Windows, after plugging in, you will find an additional drive to which the next free drive letter is simply assigned. Under Mac OS, the stick is activated as a drive with its name.

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