What Kills Your Flash Drive and How You Can Avoid It

Flash drives are useful means for transferring files between computers and sharing information between other devices. However, like any other gadget, flash drives can become corrupt and you can lose your precious data. If this happens, you may need the help of a professional data recovery service to get back flash media info. Still, there are several things you can do to avoid flash drive damage. To understand what kills your flash drive and how you can avoid data loss, it’s important to understand the difference between the three major types of flash chips. 

  • Single Layer Cell (SLC) is the most expensive type of flash media. It can hold only one bit per cell. The SLC uses less power and has faster write speeds. It is a good choice for industrial applications and holding critical data.
  • Multi-Layer Cell (MLC) holds two times more information than SLC. It holds two bits per cell. This flash chip type is commonly used in consumer products. It is cheaper than SLC media but has a lower endurance limit and fewer program/erase cycles per cell.
  • A triple Layer Cell (TLC) holds three bits per cell. It is the cheapest type of flash media. TLC is commonly used in low-end products. It’s not recommended to use the TLC for the storage of critical data.

USB flash drives are the most widely used gadgets people use when they need to transfer files between computers. Compared to other portable media, USB flash drives are smaller in size, work fast and have a large capacity. 

Similar to rechargeable batteries, USB flash drives components can also lose their ability to retain data after thousands of write/erase cycles. This is commonly referred to as endurance. The SLC Flash endurance is 10 times greater than MLC Flash and 20 times greater than TLC. As a rule, the older the flash drive gets, the less reliable it becomes. 

The number of reading cycles performed can also cause the circuit board or contacts’ corrosion. Another reason for USB flash drive data loss is the incorrect removal of media from the computer or other devices. The unsafe removal of the USB flash drive can damage cells that hold internal drive information. In this case, the lost data cannot be repaired by operating systems. Only data recovery services professionals can help.  

The best way to avoid the disaster from happening is to frequently back up all important files. It’s not recommended to use flash drives for frequently updated files. You’d better use reliable flash memory, like SLC flash, for such needs. 

Also, make sure that you always remove the device safely and rever unplug it while it’s reading or writing.

Interesting Related Article: “5 Feasible Ways to Recover Deleted Files from USB Drive