Can a USB thumbdrive “wear out”?

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I have a database application that I share between multiple computers. We keep the database itself on a USB thumb drive and simply move that drive to the other computers as needed. The database is never copied off the thumbdrive, we just update it in place. Seems very simple.

A friend of mine just told me that I was asking for trouble. He said something about thumbdrives “wearing out”, and that sooner or later, probably sooner, the data on my thumbdrive would become corrupt. Is that true? Do these USB drives actually wear out?

Yes.

I strongly recommend that you backup the contents of that drive – yes, sooner rather than later. And perhaps even rethink how you’re sharing that data.

Inexpensive flash memory, the type used in USB thumb drives, memory sticks and other devices, is very, very cool. But there is a dark side that people don’t talk about much.

Flash memory “wears out”.

Read moreCan a USB thumbdrive “wear out”?

Should I backup to an SD Card?

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Now that you can buy a 256 GB SD card for about $100, would that be a good way to back up a laptop? I always hate plugging in an external drive to backup my laptop. This way I can schedule automatic backup and not worry about the media. The 256 GB card has a lifetime warranty and so if fails you can, in theory, get a replacement. Any idea about the expected failure time for reading or writing the SD card daily?

You know, my gut tells me that this is a bad idea. There are a few things that make me uncomfortable.

Read moreShould I backup to an SD Card?

Does downloading a lot on my smartphone shorten its life?

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Does using a smartphone to download torrents reduce the lifespan of its memory card? By how much? How long would a Micro SD 32GB card last when it’s used for downloading torrents 24/7? Will the phone get too hot? Is there any effect on its life?

You have a couple of very interesting questions here about smartphone usage. Ultimately, I have to say that it depends. I’ll discuss why.

Read moreDoes downloading a lot on my smartphone shorten its life?