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How to keep your flash drive from failing

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But what happens when a flash drive fails? What happens when an error prevents someone from accessing their important data? Luckily, flash memory drives are structured in a similar way to hard disk drives, and are subject to the same file errors that computer users have grown accustomed to solving over the past few decades.

These three steps will keep your flash drive in prime condition and get rid of those pesky error messages.

1. Format

If the data on the drive is obsolete and no longer needed, do not just delete it. The more writing and re-writing a drive does, the more prone it will be to errors, whereas if the drive is completely wiped and restored to its factory state, it will be a clean slate for all data. Continuously deleting data is one of the leading causes of errors within flash media, and it is beneficial to all who use USB flash drives to get into the habit of formatting their drives regularly.

2. Diagnosis

If a problem does arise on a flash drive, it is important to figure out where the error is originating. If files can be saved to the memory card or flash drive, it means that a file error has occurred. It is possible to fix this with the relevant ‘check disk’ program that should be installed on most computers and laptops. If a file will not save, or the computer is not recognising the flash drive at all, it is more likely a system error. 

This can come as a direct result of a USB connector which has become contaminated with fingerprints or dust. A clean pencil eraser will remove any visible marks, and many of the flash drives on the market nowadays are being delivered with a cleaning product included.

3. Retrieve data

If, as is sometimes the case, there is data left on the drive when an error occurs, a disk check program on Windows, Mac and all other main operating systems can help to retrieve the data. Run the program and allow the operating system to attempt to fix the problem with the drive. If this fails, the only thing that can be done is to reformat the drive, which will lose the data but return the drive to a working condition.

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