I recently upgraded all of the computers in my house. Of course, when you do a project like this, you need to consider how you're going to move years and years worth of documents, pictures, and music from your old computer to the new one.
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There are many solutions to this problem, but I decided to purchase a flash drive. My local BJ's happened to have an instant rebate on the PNY 8GB flash drive model P-FD8GB/MINI-EF. The rebate brought the price down to just under $20 so I figured I'd give it a try.
The first thing that I noticed once I got the product home, is just how difficult it is, to remove this product from its package. The entire drive is only about 2.5" long by 3/4" wide, and it is surrounded by a tight-fitting plastic cover. Surrounding the plastic cover is a fairly large cardboard hanger. There's no way to get to the device without cutting into the plastic, but they leave very little wiggle room. You must be very careful when cutting the plastic not to damage the device! And clearly I wasn't meant to re-use the package storage as I basically had to mangle the plastic.
Once I had the device in my hand, I wanted to try it right away. So, I did what I had done with all of my previous flash drives - attempt to remove the device's cap. But struggle though I did, the cap did not come off. Why? Well, eventually I figured out that this device has a nifty little swivel design. That is, the drive and cap are held together by one round screw, right in the middle of the unit. When you hold the unit by the cap, the drive can swivel around that screw. Swivel it a full 180 degrees and it will click into place, with the stick pointing directly away from the cap, ready to be inserted into the computer. When you're finished, simply swivel the drive back in the opposite direction, and it will click back in place, with the stick safely tucked into the cap. It's clever (once you figure it out), and prevents the cap from being misplaced (something that happens all the time when the cap is removable).
Speaking of the cap, it has a small hole at the top so you can hang this device from a keychain or a necklace. I would not recommend using the device while it's attached to a heavy set of keys, however. I can well imagine a scenario where the device is broken by having too much weight pulling down on it, while it's in the computer's drive.
Finally, it was time to use the device. Inserting it into the computer's USB port is a snap. Once inserted, drivers are installed extremely quickly. In fact, if you blink, you'll miss it. All you'll know is that your computer suddenly recognizes a removable disk, which you can proceed to open, and use, as you would any other disk on your system.
8 gigabytes is a lot of space, but I had more than that to move so I had to break my files up, and move them in several chunks. For instance, since my music collection was too big to move at once, I simply sorted my music folders, then copied the first half of them onto the flash drive. Once they were copied onto the new computer, I erased everything on the flash drive, and went back for the second half of the folders. By moving all of my files in chunks less than 8 gigabytes at a time, I was able to move everything I needed in just a few passes. Naturally, you can choose to buy a larger-capacity flash drive, but for my purposes, this inexpensive 8gb drive worked just fine.
I had no issue with the speed of transfer, nor did I encounter any kind of error or problem whatsoever.
Besides using these drives to move large chunks of data, you could also use them for long-term storage. You do not want to lose all those photographs you've been storing on your hard drive, right? So make sure you back them up periodically. These flash drives are an ideal way to accomplish this important task. They're also convenient if you bring a lot of work home with you, or you have to carry a lot of files to various sites. Just be aware that these drives don't come with labels, and their dark color doesn't allow you to write on them very easily. Even if you were to use a light-colored marker, there's very little space to write anything. Your best bet would be to use your own label and write really small. Or make use of the hole in the cap to attach the drive to a keychain or luggage tag or something similar, where you can write the drive's contents.
This particular model's package states that it will work with Windows XP/2000/Vista and MAC 8.6 and higher. But I have used mine in my Windows 7 machines with no problem. Also, it will work with USB 2.0 and 1.0 ports.
This little, inexpensive device meets my needs just fine. I only wish it came with a carrying case, something I could safely store my device in, once I wrestle it out of its package. It would also be nice, if it came with a chain, or string, to hang the device from. Still, these are minor issues; overall I'm quite happy with my device and have no trouble recommending it.
Another type of memory from PNY:
PNY 4GB SD Card
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