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Storage in a flash: USB devices

The number of workers who share data between a computer in the office and one at home grows with the popularity of home computers. Vendors have introduced different types of storage to meet the challenge of transferring more than a couple of megabytes of data between non-networked machines.

Most of these solutions have garnered lukewarm acceptance because of cost and performance problems and the necessity for special hardware to read and write to the chosen storage media. A much better solution exists in the form of flash memory devices that use the USB interface.

In "Storage in a Flash," which appeared in the January issue of Windows & .NET Magazine, we gathered some of the most popular USB flash storage devices to test their usability, performance, and special features. Most USB flash storage vendors offer devices in a range of capacities. We asked vendors to submit devices with the largest capacity and the most features.

All the devices I tested have a similar form factor—about 3.5" long and 1" wide—with the exception of SanDisk's Cruzer, which is wider to accommodate replaceable media. Most of the devices are available in various capacities, and each model sports a unique color scheme identifying its capacity. All the devices feature some type of USB connector protection in the form of a cap or retractable connector mechanism.

Numerous operational abilities and requirements are common across the products. All require special drivers for Windows 98 and operate in Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Mac OS without requiring a vendor-supplied driver.

All the devices I tested effectively move data between USB-equipped systems. Aside from selecting the capacity you need, deciding what type of security model fits your needs might determine the best product for you.

To read the complete review, click the URL below.

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