What Makes a Flash Drive Go Bad?

by Katrina Arthurs

Flash drives plug into the USB port of a computer or other digital device to transfer data. Though they have a use span of about 10 years, certain environmental conditions, user errors and host computer problems can cause a flash drive to go bad much sooner.

Environmental Causes

High humidity can cause corrosion of internal connections. Additionally, if a flash drive is connected to a host that is receiving power through an electrical outlet, it is susceptible to power surges caused by lightning strikes.

User Error

The most common cause of flash drives going bad is user error. Dropping or banging the device can cause external damage to the casing and can also cause internal components to loosen or break. Removing the device from a host while files are being transferred is also a major cause of flash drive failure.

Host Computer

While connected to a host computer or other electronic device, the flash drive is as susceptible to virus attacks as the host itself. These viruses can completely erase all data and even damage the functionality of the memory chip. Host computers with malfunctioning USB ports can cause the chip in the flash drive to burn out or fry.

About the Author

Katrina Arthurs began her writing career in 1999. She served as a columnist for the "Edgewood News Herald" then as a reporter and production manager for the "KC Conservative." Arthurs is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in criminal justice at the University of Central Missouri.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera flash drive image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com