Should USB drives be used for storing files?

Published: July 07, 2014 08:00 AM

Q. In “How to Store Your Digital Photos Safely,” which included information about computer storage on USB flash drives, you mention that those devices are not designed for long-term storage. I have completely replaced my CD backups with backups to USB flash drives, as I assumed that they were OK for long-term storage. I agree that they are easily lost or, with suitable neglect, can be damaged. However, I keep mine in a safe and get only the kind with a protective cover over the USB plug. What is the remaining risk?—John Barber, West Chester, OH

A. The key reasons were pointed out in the article: Because USB flash drives are so small, they are easily lost or damaged—or even stolen—at which point all of your data is gone.

For the pros and cons of all the storage choices out there check how to store your digital photos safely, plus learn how to organize, save, and send your photos

Also, read about cloud storage services and find the best electronics stores to buy an external or USB drive.

Send questions to ConsumerReports.org/askourexperts.


E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Electronics & Computers News


and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:


Cars New Car Price Report
Find out what the dealers don't want you to know! Get dealer pricing information on a new car with the New Car Price Report.

Order Your Report


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more