To answer this common question, you cannot charge a flash drive, so no, flash drives do not need to be charged. A flash drive is powered by the USB port of a computer when it is connected to the device.
Inside, a flash drive is made of transistors that switch on and off and store data. The power to switch on the transistors is derived via the USB port, and when the flash drive is disconnected from the computer, the power source is removed from the drive. No source of power is needed to retain data on a flash drive.
However, that doesn’t mean data stored on a flash drive isn’t vulnerable. For starters, the flash memory in the drive will eventually wear out. Over time, the components of flash memory lose the capability to store data after thousands of read and write operations. The estimated life span of a flash drive depends on the type of memory used.
A flash drive that has industrial-grade single-level cell memory can perform around 100,000 read/write operations. More affordable flash drives use multilevel cell memory and read/write operations are limited to around 10,000. For most drives, there are five-year warranty options, and in general, users find that their data is still secure after the five-year time frame.
If you add, delete, and modify files frequently, a flash drive with limited read/write operations is not the best data storage option. Other factors, including environmental conditions such as high humidity, can corrupt your data and decrease the lifespan of your flash drive.
The most common issue that corrupts data on a flash drive is improper handling by the user. A flash drive should never be removed from the USB port without utilizing the ‘eject’ command so always use the eject option to avoid data corruption.
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