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Will Leaving A Flash Drive Plugged In Damage It?

Bob from FL writes:

I use a flash drive to back up all my data and I leave it plugged in all the time. Does leaving it plugged in all the time wear it out quicker, or should I be plugging it in only when I need to copy something to it?

This is great question, Bob – especially since we’ve all been conditioned from the days of mechanical hard drives that the longer a mechanical device is running, the shorter its remaining lifespan is. The good news is this isn’t true for flash drives, as the wear and tear comes from when data is being written to or read off of the device, not sitting idle.

One reason that it might be a good idea to disconnect the drive is in the event of electrical surge. If a surge is powerful enough to damage the components inside of your computer, it may also damage anything connected to the computer at the time. If your hard drive is fried in a lightning strike and your flash drive goes with it, you may have no backup left.