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Flash Drives vs. Thumb Drives

Friday, April 7th, 2006 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management

What is the difference between a flash drive and a thumb drive?

Flash drives and thumb drives have many similar qualities, but there are a few differences.

A flash drive is a compact USB memory drive that acts a lot like a portable hard drive. You can store data on it, as well as, transfer it from computer to computer. They are able to hold a great deal of information, but they do come in different storage sizes. The greatest amount that is available today is 2 GB. These types of drives have easily taken over floppy disks, because floppies can only hold 1.44 MB. That’s quite a difference!

Beside being able to hold mass amounts of data, flash drives are as small as a pack of gum and they can easily fit into your pocket for easy transportation. They are also more convenient to use than an external hard drive, because of their small size. Nobody wants to drag a hard drive around everywhere they go!

Like I said before, a thumb drive is very similar in the amounts of data it can hold and its size. Thumb drives are like digital lock boxes. They come with a write protection feature. This is just a switch located at the bottom of the drive that when it is unlocked, you are able to write data to the thumb drive, but when it is locked, you can only read data from the drive. This feature helps with accidental deletion of some of your files.

Other than that, flash drives and thumb drives both work to store your personal data, whether that be documents, pictures, music, etc. All you have to do is drag and drop the files you want onto the drive and then you can edit them just like you would anything else. You can also transport the information between different computers very easily. So, if you want to show that awesome picture to your mom or share that new song with your friend, you can do that with either one of these USB drives.

Flash drives and thumb drives both usually work on Windows 98 and SE, ME, 2000, XP and on Mac OS 8.6, 9.0 and higher as long as you have USB functions on your computer. They even work on some Linux programs. All of these capabilities depend on your system. The cost of both of these devices vary greatly depending on the manufacturer and the size of storage you get.

Basically, the main advantages of these drives is that they hold more data and they’re easier to carry around. They’re more practical than a floppy disk, a CD or an external hard drive. So, if you often find yourself wanting to share information on different computers and you want a secure way to save your data, a flash or thumb drive will be perfect for you.

Read this tip if you’re interested in giving a name to your thumb drive:

Read this for some protection tips for your drives:

~ Erin

10 Responses to “Flash Drives vs. Thumb Drives”

  1. netverse says:

    This answer is weak, doesn’t really explain anything. A flash drive is a thumb drive. Thumb drive is the nickname for a flash drive the size of your thumb.

  2. Pdubb says:

    I totally disagree with you (netverse). The answer was simple (not technically complicated) for us non-geeks. It answered my question/issue/concerns in determining which one to get.


  3. CaliforniaKid says:

    The original answer was helpful to ME !! lol.

    Thanks for your assistance and the comments too.


    bad answer. doesnot explain the difference. only gives some specifications

  5. Jeff K says:

    In response to comments above that say it doesnt explain the difference, there is a reason for that. Its because this article is total BS. There is absolutely no difference, they are two names for the exact same thing. Like americans call a sport soccer, and other countries call it futball. Yet they are the exact same thing, just two different names. Same here. There is no difference between a flash drive and a thumb drive. I dont know what crackerjack box this website or the writer got its degree in/from (for example i studied computer science at UW/WSU/PDX), but if they dont know something as simple as that, I wouldnt trust getting any other computer/tech related information from them.

  6. […] Flash Drives vs. Thumb Drives | … – 07.04.2006  · Q: What is the difference between a flash drive and a thumb drive? A: Flash drives and thumb drives have many similar qualities, but there are a … […]

  7. Candy says:

    You sound like a hater. The answer served me very well and I thank you for it. Sounds like you got up on the wrong side of the bed today.

  8. Expert says:

    Both thumb drive and flash drive are the same and no differences. The write protection feature of some device cannot use to categorize because of this security feature today (May 2016) can be done by software or hardware.

  9. XRumerTest says:

    Hello. And Bye.

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