WOF: Do you carry a USB drive every day? If so, what's on it?

By on August 17, 2012, 6:30 PM

With flash storage being more affordable, compact and rugged than ever, it seems common for people to routinely carry a USB drive -- or six, in the case of our news editor Rick, who runs a PC repair business. Naturally, most of his drives contain bootable utilities, operating system installers, drivers and so on.

However, I know others who carry school and job-related files, portable applications, bootable OSes, music, videos, pictures, books, and personal information like passwords as well as medical and financial records (sensitive stuff is encrypted of course). Do you carry a USB drive on a daily basis and if so, what's on it?

**USB drive images via ShutterStock

User Comments: 46

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

I have a USB on my keyring, so yes I carry it everyday. I have it divided into two areas, 1 part has an encrypted volume and the other part is just for quick transfers of unimportant data.

Nima304 said:

I fix computers for my high school, and I carry a 16GB flash drive in case I need to transfer files from a computer I'm going to reimage or do a OS reinstall on. I keep all of my bootable utilities and software on DVDs, which I carry in a backpack.

Guest said:

Being a PC technician, I carry a 16Gb Patriot Rage (quad channel) USB which I have made bootable with a mutli-installer for Windows 7 (all versions, 32 & 64bit). The rest of the stick is filled with sorted apps, drivers and utilities to install/update PC's. This has replaced all the DVD's and CD's I previously needed to carry around.

This bootable USB also helped me install Win8 on a netbook by just replacing the Win7 install directories with the Win8 ones. :) Very, very handy.

I also carry a 750Gb 2.5" external with bigger stuff and to take clietns backups/snapshots.

Thank you Mr USB! Homer?

Shawn Knight Shawn Knight said:

Nah, I don't carry a USB drive with me. No reason to really since I don't do much PC repair these days and if I do, I have the clients bring the system(s) to me.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

My flash drive is a Corsair Vengeance 64gb and I carry it with me at all times. Most of the files on it are movies, mostly AVIs and MKVs because some of it are huge in size and other miscellaneous files are my projects and vice versa. So it's kind of big of a deal for me.

Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

For anyone looking to carry multiple flash drives with little fuss, it's hard to top the utility of Lacie's iamaKey -- a whimsically named line of USB drives with almost the same dimensions as an actual key.


I know it might seem gimmicky, but the form factor is excellent and the drives are solid metal -- nearly indestructable.

They do fall a bit short in speed and capacity though (16gb) but a good product nonetheless. 5 out d the 6 I carry on me are iamaKeys and Ive not had one fail.

I also have several other flash drives on top of the ones I carry with me, also used primarily for work. The 6th one a carry is an Adata s805. It's designed like a caribiner clip -- I love how solid and functional that one is too.


nismo91 said:

yes. usually it's empty. just for backup drive when I went to someone's place and need some data immediately.

btw it's the super thin one, which I can just put inside my wallet and never forget to bring around. used to be hp v155w but now I used one which is slightly thinner.

Guest said:

You never now what might happen in Windows, so a Bootable Ubuntu Drive is perfect in order to retrieve any important files.

ramonsterns said:

I have one on my keyring, an 8GB drive that cost me $30 about 5-6 years ago.

I carry college work and Fallout 2, in case I get bored and I'm using some dinosaur. Never had time to play though.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

Currently the key chain flash drive carries a copy of "Dream From My Real Father" and other anti-globalist conspiracy fact documentaries.

doradhorror said:

Physical storage for consumers is dying. Most people can set up drop box fine unless you work at somewhere with dial up connection.

EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

I was never one to adopt any of the bigger flash drives, and usually when I have one with me it's 2 or 4GB. It's usually packed with documents like resumes, portfolio pieces and mobile antivirus or bootable software. When I was in school I would use it for transporting files and projects but then I got an external hard drive and my flash drive collected dust.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Yes I do - has a Win7 install image and an Ubuntu install image

Guest said:

@doradhorror..."Physical storage for consumers is dying. Most people can set up drop box fine unless you work at somewhere with dial up connection."

Ah yes, the joy of the cloud. Physical storage is dying? I don't think so! People will always have a need for tangible forms of backup and data transfer. I would only use offsite storage methods as a redundant form of backup to any of my information. Using cloud storage as the ONLY way to store and transfer information is just asking for trouble. Plus, I work in remote areas where cell coverage and wi-fi is nonexistent. Give me a few thumb drives any day for swapping data back and forth from laptop to desktop.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I have a very small one on my key chain - an 8GB. Have the standard computer maintenance utilities on it - CCleaner, Auslogics Disk Defrag, SpyBot, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, etc. It's nice to have that stuff whenever my friends or relatives are having problems with their computers as 99% of the time those utilities will fix whatever is wrong.

0192837465 0192837465 said:

Yes I do carry an empty one

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If my phone counts as one, yes.

Well, not really. I've stopped using them long ago.

Guest said:

I used to carry a usb drive with me. Now I run a small file server from my home. I can access it quickly and easily from anywhere. It's more convenient than lugging around a heavy usb stick all day long... teasing, but everywhere has internet, so it a file server over a usb stick seems logical.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

I used to carry a usb drive with me. Now I run a small file server from my home. I can access it quickly and easily from anywhere. It's more convenient than lugging around a heavy usb stick all day long... teasing, but everywhere has internet, so it a file server over a usb stick seems logical.

But if you can't boot from it, there is less of a use for it.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

No, no USB drive. Carry most files that I need on my phone. Less important ones in my Dropbox account, more important ones downloaded onto my phone.

I don't do any computer repairs for people anymore, so I don't need any programs, and the benefit of a phone means that I can display whatever I need, rather than needing to plug my USB drive into something else.

hitech0101 said:

Yup mostly college assignments maybe some multimedia and for project work

Guest said:

I have one on my keyring, an 8GB sandisk drive that cost me $25.

Guest said:

6 usb flash drives:

2x 1gb generic I bought about 5 years ago.; various softwares, pics, and vids I collected.

2x 8gb pqi I bought about 3 years ago.; various free softwares from filehippo.com and free-codecs.com

2x 16gb pqi I bought about a year ago.; 1 bootable windows 8 consumer release preview, another 1 containing bootable windows 8 pro x64

Doctor John Doctor John said:

Sandisk 16GB, mostly tools for fixing PCs.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Had 3 for a while, 2x2GB and 1x16GB, the 16GB died on me sadly, the other tow have various tools, one is bootable memtest along with a variety of repair tools, the other has random files and pictures I collect. Both of these drives have been through the washing machine numerous times, one spent over two months in the bottom before I found it, still works. I've dropped one out of a moving car doing 50km/h, stopped picked it up and it was still good. Quite remarkable for RetailPlus branded usb keys that are not designed to withstand this kind of abuse, and they were free on top of that, well, five finger discount. Any large files I put on an encrypted 320GB WD Black HDD in an InWin Ammo.

rvnwlfdroid said:

I never leave home without (at least) one. I'm the one my friends come to when they have infected their system beyond repair, short of an fdisk to fix it. I keep Hirens Boot CD on one, a copy of Ubuntu on another, Backtrack on a third. I also keep an ISO (image) of all OS drives in the house on a 2.5" external 500GB.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I used to carry one, but I have no idea where it's now. All it was used for is transferring files, and I don't need to do this often enough which is why I don't really try to find it.

treetops treetops said:

School stuff, a few movies, avast setup, malwarebytes setup, ccleaner, pictures and I think regular nintendo emulator. I seldom use it but its on my key chain, I think its 16gigs.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I've been carrying a 32gb around with me the past few week between friend's houses. It has my entire collection of Family Guy on it at the moment.

tonylukac said:

Had a Micro Center generic one fail on me, then next week all files were again accessible. Guaranteed forever tho. Sometimes carry one. Kept my Spanish class lessons on there, now I keep versions of Firefox for whatever reason. Also keep my vnc program on there for remote controlling computers for my business. Usually have to visit the site/home at least once because the routers are too complex for the user to set up, and my vnc program doesn't work behind a router firewall.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

I keep a few, mainly for transferring between machines + a 32 gig loaded up with utilities (usually out of date)

I've been carrying a 32gb around with me the past few week between friend's houses. It has my entire collection of Family Guy on it at the moment.

Likewise, though mine is full of UK comedies ( Peep Show, The Office, Green Wing, Darkplace, Man to Man with Dean Lerner, Spaced, Black Books, Monty Python etc.) since there's always someone at the conclusion of every gathering who thinks it's a good idea to inflict an Adam Sandler or Ben Stiller movie on everyone.

Guest said:

amazing how many people here "fix PCs" on a daily basis that requires permanently carrying USB, opposed to just bring it when needed.

that, and the frequency of booting from a usb drive. seriously? daily?

Vicenarian said:

1 x 32 GB Patriot Supersonic USB 3.0

1 x 4 GB Kanguru FlashBlu High-Performance Drive

2 x 8 GB Lexar Jumpdrives

And, of course, a 500GB Zalman USB 3.0 portable with a Scorpio Black inside

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

amazing how many people here "fix PCs" on a daily basis that requires permanently carrying USB, opposed to just bring it when needed.

that, and the frequency of booting from a usb drive. seriously? daily?

The point is not that the USB drives are used daily. The point is carrying the USB sticks daily and when needed you have them with you. I carry a knife daily but that doesn't mean I use it every day. As for carrying the USB sticks only when needed, I'm glad you are fortunate enough to know when you will need them.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

I use to have a 2gb usb for school but now that I graduated we have parted ways. Just don't need it for everyday use usually.

KbloodyK KbloodyK said:

I carry a 128GB portable SSD as well as an internal 32gb SSD and two 32GB micro SD cards and a 32GB dongle size USB. I also have a 1TB HDD in my car (which I always have there) and on all of my media storage items, I have: every single episode of every single Seth Macfarlane TV show, Dexter, The Walking Dead, tons of movies, multiple bootable operating systems (about ten different versions of Linux, Lion, windows 8 Preview, and Back Track 5) I have a few different types of SDKs and hundreds of iphone, android, and windows games! I have a backup off all of my devices (laptop, desktop, Thinkpad, Samsung galaxy 5.0 Samsung Galaxy s2, Kindle DX) and I have tons of comics, and ebooks. And as well as about 100gb of encrypted secret stuff that I know you all have as well! (and if you say that you don't, you lie)

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

@ KbloodyK

100gb...sounds like a sizeable volume!...Encryption would make it Aes128 Secret Stuff ?

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

128GB/256GB is small chips now for portable storage.

Can't fit much HD content on that.

I turned a 320GB 2.5" into a nice little external drive but its more of a temporary place for entertainment.

32GB and 64GB flash drives can be had for $20-$30 all day but to answer the question, I have a 16GB flashdrive I carry with me all week. I work at a hospital that also supports nearby clinics. With my on-call and various tasks/workload I need my USB key just about everyday.

From changing wall mounted PC's in operating rooms to working on thin clients, it's a crucial part of my life! Almost picked up a Patriot 64GB for $25, when I can get it for $20 I'll probably bite the bullet.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

One for data (a 32 GB unit), and the other with Linux on it. However, if I am carrying my notebook+bag, the number can go up.

killeriii said:

Bought a "Tough n Tiny" 8GB a few months ago. Love it. Hardly notice it's on my keychain.

I have some mp3's on it to play in my car on occasion. But mostly it's kept empty to transfer files when I need.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I carry a spare 8gig flash drive in my pocket. Nothing really on it that's important. Used to care 2 on my key chain with bootable tools and OS's installers, but they get too beat up on my key chain.

I carry this one for it I need to get files from a customers laptop and I can't find the shop's flash drive. Or if I'm I happen to be somewhere and need to take a file with me.

It's amazing that with all computers can do for us, sending large files still seems to be a bit of a pain.

Guest said:

I carry a 8GB usb drive

I have my collage works and assignments. I have installed GoodSync so that when ever I plug in to my pc it syncs to dropbox. it will have assignments and note I copy from class and if I make any new files in dropbox it will be automatically copied to pen drive. Its a very handy. OH BTW I dint set up to sync whole dropbox but a specific folder which I keep college work.

All the things are backed up in 3 places.

Guest said:

These come very handy for work-related backups. Too bad my stupid employer disables my workstation's USB ports, but there's always a way to circumvent everything...

JessicaDeveloper JessicaDeveloper said:

My flash drive has heavy softwares that I don't want upload in my cloud or installers, sometimes photos or music. But no sensitive information.

That remember me, @adonisfigueroa is specialist losing flash drivers.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

That remember me, @adonisfigueroa is specialist losing flash drivers.
Was the link automated or did you create the link?

The link should be "http://www.techspot.com/community/members/adonisfiguer
a.256975/" instead of " [link] ".

If the link was automated, someone should be notified about the issue.

WinXPert WinXPert said:

I have a multi boot usb drive (Puppy Linux, RC, Bart PE and HBCD). Plus utilities and antivirus tools I use in reparing PCs. I use PortableApps as my launcher.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.