I'm shopping for a USB Flash Drive

Any suggestions?

I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting a 256k one. But do I need that much memory? Would a 128 suffice? There’s quite a drop off in price at that point (they’re ~$30). 256k’s are ~$60 on sale.

Other than that, I’m just looking for something small enough to put on my keychain that won’t be too bulky.


  1. Is there any danger to the device or the data being in my pocket for portions of the day?
  2. Can I run password programs off of one?
  3. Are there any operating systems incompatible with the brand/type you recommend?


I have a 128 MB drive made by Lexar. It’s big enough for most things I need to tote around, except for when I have a lot of graphics - then space is a little tight. What kind of files are you planning on carrying?

  1. I’ve had my drive jammed into the bottom of my handbag as well as in my pocket for large portions of the day with no ill effects.
  2. I’ve never tried to run a program off of one, but I don’t see why not.
  3. AFAIK Win98 needs a driver to see the USB drive, but Win XP and Mac OS X automatically register it as a new drive. In fact, the cross-platform capability is what attracted me to USB thumb drives in the first place - no more format worries!

I love my little USB drive. Who needs zip disks or floppies with such a lovely bit of hardware? :slight_smile:

Make sure the device is USB 2 capable. Older drives are USB1.1 only, and data transfers are much slower.

Make sure the chassis is sleek and slim. Some USB drive chassis are too thick and may block nearby USB ports from being used. If you don’t have an USB port on the front of your computer I suggest getting a USB extension cable.

Security - I’ve noticed some drives that use a built-in thumbprint scanner to unlock the data. Now that’s neat!

I run several programs off my 256 meg drive, and it works like a charm. As far as Windows is concerned, it’s just another hard drive.

Excellent input. Anything I should be wary of (i.e. crappy design/materials)?

I have 2 32 MB ones and a 64 MB one, all given to me at various conferences. They’ve been plenty big. All came with cables, which is a must because the two USB ports on the back of my laptop are so close together that I can’t fit it in w/o the cable and still use my mouse.

I’ve run them on Win’98 and WinXP with no problems. The 32MB one came with the drivers on a littel disk, the 64 MB one required you to download them. No problems. I’ve taken them through airport security many times, kept them in my pocket, and in general did not treat them gently, and have never had a problem. Couldn’t live without them now.

I was looking at these recently, and make sure you get one with the keychain hole on the BODY of the drive, not the CAP. It seems to me that hanging it from the cap is just asking to lose it.

I love mine. I shopped the Recycler newspaper and got 64MB for $15. Never buy new if you can help it is my motto.

If you have a digital camera then get a card reader/writer for your memory cards. I have a Zio that reads the compact flash of my camera. It came with a USB extension cord so I can plug into the back of my computer and leave the cord hanging in front. There are lots of versions of these but I prefer one with a hard mounted USB connector so I can plug it directly into my laptop.

I needed a USB port in front of my computer so this option was both cheaper and more useful. The unit cost less than $30. There are times when I want to grab a single picture from my camera so I can just pop the card in and grab it without going through the camera setup.

Check this baby out, its kind of cool in a James Bond sort of way.

USB Watch

Yeah, I saw one of those on eBay, raizok! I think the pen ones are cooler and a tad more utilitarian.

Magiver (great name), do the digital camera ones both read memory sticks and act as a flash drive? Because that’s exactly what I need. Got a linky?

Yes, you can use it like a flash drive. You are using the camera memory like a floppy. Stick a 256 meg card in and you have a 256 meg hard drive. Since it’s a USB unit your computer will recognize it as a new drive immediately. Nothing to install. I use it to swap large files back and forth.