USB Flash Drive – Pen Drive – USB Thumb Drivers

USB Flash Drive – Pen Drive – USB Thumb Drivers

The Pen drive or USB Flash Drive is a very common accessory today, both for personal use at home, in the office or in business.

Indispensable device to store information of all kinds: Documents, Programs, Photos, Music, Videos and any other file, whether for permanent storage or to transport it to another device as long as it has a USB (Universal Serial Bus) reader.

What is a USB device?

The first thing is to define that it is a USB – Universal Serial Bus device which is a protocol that allows a standard connection of various peripherals and units to other electronic devices, be they computers or other similar ones.

Its purpose is to create a connection standard between a computer and other devices. Created in the 90s by several large companies in the sector (IBM, Intel, Compaq and Microsoft among others.

Among the peripherals and other equipment that can be connected to a computer through a USB connection, the most common are: keyboards, mice or mice, printers, modems, cameras, mobile phones, flash drives, external hard drives.

Generations of USB devices

Generations of USB devices can be classified in this way including the new USB4 standard:

Let’s first define some terms:

What is a specification ?: It is a document that indicates all the elements of a technology and how it will be implemented. For example USB 1.0 is a specification. These specifications are agreed by an organization or by a group of companies that develop these technologies.

Tipos de Conectores USB

USB 1.0

(low speed). Created in 1994, the maximum speed at which information could be moved was 1.5 Mbps, a sufficient connection for devices such as the mouse and keyboard.

USB 1.1

(full speed). Increased transfer rate to 12 Mbps.

USB 2.0

(high speed). It is launched in the year 2000 and in the year 2001 it became standard. It transfers data at a speed of 480 Mbps, although its actual maximum rate is 280 Mbps. Its cable has four lines: two for data and two for power.

USB 3.0 – USB 3.1 Gen 1

The third major revision of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard received the name change to USB 3.1 Gen 1 by The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF). However, there are no changes to the technical specifications. USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB 3.0), with 10 times higher performance (4.8 Gbps) and better management of power consumption. It is compatible with the previous ones and includes five additional contacts. Live together with 2.0.

USB 3.1 Gen-2

USB-IF has introduced the SuperSpeed ​​USB 10 Gbps specification, called USB 3.1 Gen 2. This specification extends the data transfer rate to a theoretical rate of 10Gbps (or 1.2GB / sec).

USB 3.2

The USB-IF has introduced the specification for the new USB standard with a speed of 20 Gbps, called USB 3.2. This specification extends the data transfer rate to a theoretical speed of 20Gbps. Available now in 2019.


The new standard introduced in March 2019 is based on Thunderbolt 3. It uses the reversible USB-C port. It is expected to be available by 2021.

Types of USB Connectors

There are different types of USB connectors on the market, one for each need and for each type of device, from a mobile to a printer. In this gallery of images taken from we can appreciate the different types of USB Connectors

What is a USB Flash Drive or Pen Drive?

The Pen Drive or USB Flash Memory is a small storage device that contains a flash memory and uses the USB communication protocol to connect a computer or other electronic device. It allows to store and transport information in the form of files, both data, images, videos, music or any other.

The pendrive has revolutionized the way of transporting and transporting information, completely displacing the use of the old floppy disk, CDs and DVDs. Its success lies in two main elements: the storage capacity and their size. Its cost, which has been reduced to accelerated steps, is another variable that contributes to the use of these devices.

What are the Components of a USB Flash Drive or Pen Drive?

These are the basic components of a Pen Drive unit.

1. A type A male USB connector.

It allows the connection of the Pendrive with the computer or another device.

2. USB mass storage controller.

It is the microprocessor that controls the USB device. This controller has a small RISC microprocessor and a small number of RAM and ROM memory circuits.

3. Bridges and Test Points.

They serve as tests during the manufacturing of the unit or for loading code into the processor.

4. NAND Flash memory circuit.

Control the storage and recovery of data.

5. Crystal oscillator.

Allows control of data output.

6. LEDs.

They are indicators of data transfer between the device and the computer.

7. Write protection switch.

It works as a switch and is used to protect data from write or erase operations.

What is the storage capacity of a Pendrive or USB memory?

One of the most important benefits or characteristics of these devices is the storage capacity, which has grown almost exponentially in recent years. Currently there are 2 TB (TeraBytes) capacity flash drives, much higher than the hard drive of any desktop or laptop computer.

Many times we wonder how many files we can save on our flash drive, how many photos, songs or videos. We consulted the official page of Kingston Tecnology ( and we found this comparative table of one of the largest manufacturers of USB flash memory devices, which we allow ourselves to reproduce to have a best idea that we can store on our flash drives.

Table with the storage capacities of the USB memory or pen drive

Fotos Grabación de video2 Utilización del
8MP 12MP 18MP 24MP 24
48 Mbps (min.) 720p
30fps (min.)
30fps (min.)
30fps (min.)
.MP3 de
Películas .MP4
Juegos PC Copias de seguridad
4GB 1500 1000 667 500 20 10 22 15 8 X 1038 3 X X
8GB 3000 2000 1333 1,000 40 20 44 30 16 X 2076 7 X X
16GB 6000 4000 2667 2,000 80 40 88 61 33 1 4151 14 X X
32GB 12000 8000 5333 4,000 160 80 176 122 66 2 8302 28 1 1
64GB 24000 16000 10667 8,000 320 160 260 244 132 5 16605 56 3 2
128GB 48000 32000 21333 16,000 640 320 352 488 264 10 33209 112 6 4
256GB 96000 64000 42667 32,000 1280 640 704 976 528 21 66418 224 12 9
512GB 192000 128000 85334 64,000 2560 1280 1408 1952 1056 42 132836 448 24 17
1TB 384000 256000 170668 128000 5120 2560 2816 3904 2112 83 265672 896 48 32
2TB 768000 512000 341336 256000 10240 5120 5632 7808 4224 166 531344 1792 96 64

Hay que tomar en cuenta que parte de la capacidad de un dispositivo es utilizada para el formateo y otras funciones, es decir que no toda la capacidad esta disponible para el almacenamiento.

Uses of the USB Flash Drive or Pen Drive

The possibilities of uses that a USB Flash Drive offers us are very varied and range from the storage of encrypted files, to the installation of an operating system from this device, to external storage for portable devices and applications.

Storage Units:

It is one of the most common uses and one of the main ones for which these devices arose. Its storage capacity has increased permanently since they appeared on the market, which has allowed storing large amounts of information in the form of files of all kinds: documents, spreadsheets, images, videos, music, programs, among others.

Transportation Units:

In addition to the storage of information, the transport of it between different host devices (computers, tablets, cameras, etc.) is another of the widespread uses of USB flash memory or pendrive. Its storage capacity, the possibility of using them in different devices and their size contribute to this use.

Portable programs or applications:

There are programs or applications that have versions that do not need to be installed on the computer and can be run from an external drive and a USB memory is very suitable for this, allowing you to carry any application with you and run it where you need it.

Booting or charging operating system:

We can install in our pendrive an operating system with option to boot from this unit, which allows us to start a computer, either to test a different operating system or to perform some test of the computer. For example we can test Linux on our Windows computer.

Backup or temporary backups:

Due to their storage capacity, they can be used to store a large number of files temporarily or as a backup.

Keys or passwords:

There are applications that allow you to use a USB memory as a key or password to enter it.

Music album:

We can save our favorite music and play it just by inserting the pendrive into a music player.

Portable antivirus:

Most antivirus have portable options for virus detection and removal from a USB memory stick.

Operating system recovery units:

Operating systems have options for creating recovery drives in case of problems and USB flash drives are ideal for this.

Photo album:

Creating a photo album and giving it to a loved one is one of the options for using the USB flash drive.

How long does the data last on a USB Flash Drive?

Is it possible to store data in a flash memory indefinitely ?. The answer is no. And it is one of the few disadvantages that can be found to these devices. The lifetime of a flash memory is long but finite.

The main manufacturers of flash memory indicate that its useful life is 10,000 to 100,000 write cycles, that is, it depends on the use we make of the device. For most people, they don’t even come close to some of these values ​​in everyday use.

How to choose a USB Flash Drive?

If we are going to buy a USB Flash Drive or Pen drive we have to take into account certain aspects to make the best decision. Everything will depend on our requirements and the amount of money that we are willing to invest.

Guide to Buying a Pendrive. 5 Aspects when choosing a USB Flash Drive:

1.- What storage capacity do we need:
There are different types of files that we can store on a USB memory:

Documents: they are files that contain information elaborated in word processors, spreadsheets, presentations, pdf files, among others. Generally its size does not take up much space.

Images: photos, presentations, infographics among others.

Videos and / or audios: music recordings, movies, presentations. They are the heaviest.

Programs and applications: software of any kind.

According to the type of file that we are going to store, we must select the size of our pendrive. Here we can see the Storage Capacity Table.

2.- Transfer speed:
It determines the speed with which we can read and save the data in the unit. We recommend a unit that is Generation 3.0. onwards (see USB Generations table)

3.- Quality of the device:
It is given by the security provided by the device that our data will not be lost due to any failure of the same. For this it is necessary to choose between the best brands among which we have: Sandisk, Kingston, Toshiba, Verbatin among others.

4.- Security:
It refers to the access to the data in our USB memory, how to protect that access can be very important and depends on the content of the unit. There are units that have device security integrated, either by software or hardware. We can also add security ourselves by setting passwords to access the data. You can see Pendrive more secure

5.- Unit Cost:
How much does a USB stick or memory cost? This depends on all the above elements and on what we are willing to invest. There is to choose between colors and shapes.

What is better a USB Flash Drive or External Hard Drive?

When selecting a product and deciding which one is the best, we must be very clear that this will depend on our needs. In other words, depending on what requirement we have, a USB flash memory or an external hard drive may be better.

We must also take into account that we may have a certain requirement, but the solution to this requires a budget, that is, it implies a cost that we must evaluate if we are going to assume it or not.

Let’s analyze certain parameters to compare a flash drive with an external hard drive.

1.- Size (physical): If what we need is to store and transport information in a small unit because it has to be transported frequently from one place to another, the answer is better a Pendrive or USB Memory. The Pendrives are very small units that we can carry in our pocket or even in the form of a keychain, against external hard drives, most of them have a larger size, so they are not so comfortable to transport.

For this feature it must be taken into account that we have certain novelties on the market such as SanDisk Extreme – Portable SSD drives, very small and highly resistant SSD hard drives.

2.- Storage capacity: If our storage need does not exceed 2 TB, our option may be a USB flash drive, since this is the maximum capacity available on the market. Of course, pendrives of more than 512 GB (that is, 1TB or 2TB), have a fairly high cost and more if we compare it with any external hard drive of the same capacity.

If our storage need is greater than 2TB, chances are we need backup storage and for this an external hard drive is the best. In this case, another variable must be analyzed: traditional external hard drive or external SSD hard drive.

3.- Price or investment to be made: From what was previously analyzed, if our need does not exceed 512 GB or if it is less than this, we can get countless models and brands, colors, sizes and of course prices. The decision is easy to make since there are many options and the cost is not so high.

4.- Transfer speed: it is a very important variable when making a decision. Fortunately, in most drives, both pendrive and hard drives, it is a feature that has evolved a lot and we have available speeds according to their storage capacity. That is, the greater the storage capacity, the faster the read and write speed. From the USB 3.0 format, new standards have appeared with higher speeds.

What is Bootable USB Flash Drive?

The first thing we have to define is what it means bootable. This word comes from bootear which tries to be a verb of to boot which means Start. When we turn on a computer, the computer starts executing a series of «initial» instructions that, among other things, allow it to detect the hardware of the computer and the actual load of the operating system. This is called starting or booting the computer.

This boot or boot process is normally carried out with the operating system that is installed on the computer, whatever it may be: windows, linux, etc. When we are going to install the operating system for the first time or when we are going to repair the current one by formatting the hard disk, it is necessary to start or boot from a DVD that contains the operating system to be installed, which is the most common way of doing it.

But since there are many new computers or laptops that no longer have a built-in dvd player, this process needs to be done differently.

One of the ways to boot a computer without a DVD drive, is by means of a USB stick or bootable memory, it is simply a USB memory that contains a certain operating system and is recorded in such a way that allows a computer or computer can boot.

Where to buy a USB flash drive?

Buying a USB Flash Drive or Pendrive online is a good option taking into account the following elements:

Variety: You can find the most complete selection of USB flash drives of all brands, capacities and shapes.

Prices: find the best prices, the best offers even with free shipping.