Jump drive

16GB SanDisk Cruzer Micro USB Flash Drive1. Alternatively referred to as a USB flash drive, data stick, pen drive, memory unit, key chain drive and thumb drive, a jump drive is a portable storage device. It is often the size of a human thumb (hence the name), and it connects to a computer via a USB port. Flash drives are an easy way to transfer and store information, and they are available in sizes ranging from 16 GB to 1 TB.

Unlike a standard hard drive, the flash drive has no movable parts, containing only an integrated circuit memory chip that is used to store data. Flash drives usually have plastic or aluminum casings surrounding the memory chip and a USB connector for use with most modern computers.

Note: The picture to the right is a SanDisk Cruzer Micro 16GB flash drive.

How do I use a flash drive?

A flash drive can be utilized like any drive on your computer. Start by inserting the flash drive into a front or back USB port or to a USB hub. Once connected, in Windows open My Computer or File Explorer and you should see the drive labeled as "Removable Disk," "Flash drive," or as the manufacturer's name. Once the drive has been determined, you can copy any file you want, and then paste it onto the flash drive. You can also drag-and-drop files onto the flash drive.

What is the difference between a jump drive and a flash drive?

A jump drive and a flash drive are one and the same with different names. The confusion seems to arise in the difference between a flash drive, which is a device (detailed above) and flash memory, which is a non-volatile storage medium. Flash memory is used in many devices, including flash drives, solid-state drives, and memory cards.

How are USB flash drives used?

The USB flash drive is most often used to store and transfer files between computers. For example, you could write a report on a school computer copy the file to a USB flash drive and then connect it to your home computer to continue working on the same file. USB flash drives are also a great and easy way to backup your important files. For example, you could copy all of your pictures, documents, music, or other files to a flash drive and store that flash drive somewhere safe in case something were to happen to your computer.

Tip: Like all past storage media, flash drives are now being replaced by cloud storage. If you are looking for faster methods of transferring data you can use cloud storage as an alternative method.

Related pages

2. The term flash drive may also be used to describe a solid-state drive, or SSD.

Also see: Hard drive terms, Memory terms, Non-volatile, Portable drive, Solid State Device, SSD, Storage, USB