A flash drive is an invaluable tool for anyone who regularly works with computers, from high school students to IT managers. These inconspicuous storage devices don’t just carry files; they can back up computer systems, double PC or phone storage, install programs and act as secure external file managers. Beyond this basic ability to store and transport files through USB, flash drives exhibit a surprising array of additional options, including extra file security and unique designs.

Which Size Is Right?

The primary question to consider when selecting a flash drive is how much storage accommodates the user’s needs. A 16GB flash drive supports a sizable amount of media and documents, including roughly 500 images, 1000 songs or 40 minutes of videos, depending on the size and quality of the files. It can also support hefty program files for office needs, such as extensive spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. A 16GB USB flash drive is perfect for storing vacation photos, transporting work documents to a meeting or transferring MP3 files to another computer.

Keep Files Secure

File security is often a primary concern for users storing highly sensitive business or personal information, such as passwords, private business documents and financial information, especially when unauthorized access is a risk. For these situations, choose a model with software that allows files to be saved in password-protected folders. Some thumb drives offer the option to sign up for a software service that will recover accidentally lost or damaged files. For physical protection, consider models that can withstand pressure, heat and water.

Transfer Files Quickly with a 16GB USB Flash Drive

Most USB drives offer reliable and speedy file transfer and work with tablets, desktops and laptop computers. Simply plug in the device and drag and drop files to a desktop, or load files onto the drive to transfer to another machine. Most flash drives are available with either USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 technology. USB 3.0 is the fastest available transfer speed, with a maximum rate of 5 gigabits per second, theoretically performing 10 times faster than USB 2.0, which tops out at 480 megabits per second. USB 3.0 drives are always backwards-compatible, so they can still plug into a USB 2.0 port, but will function at the lower speed. Many computers have both types of USB ports.

Choose Among Fun and Functional Designs

Many 16GB flash drives are available in a variety of fun designs and have optional features that boost their function. With a clip or key ring loop, the drive is secured to a backpack, purse or key chain for quick access. Retractable designs protect the USB connector without the risk of losing the cap, while rotating designs require a simple twist to close them inside a protective case. Choose from fun colors, such as green, pink or blue, or opt for sleeker colors, such as black, white or silver. Fun design options include everything from movie themes to unique shapes like snowboards or surfboards. Alternatively, choose a low-profile design, which won’t stick out from the computer.

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