USB Flash Drive FAQ
Q: What is a USB flash drive?
- A. A USB flash drive is a data storage device that consists of flash memory with an integrated Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface. USB flash drives are typically removable and rewritable, and physically much smaller than a floppy disk. Most weigh in at an ounce or less. Our custom USB flash drives are often used for the same purposes for which floppy disks or CD-ROMs were once used. They are smaller, faster, have much larger capacities, and are more durable and reliable because they have no moving parts. Until approximately 2005, most desktop and laptop computers were supplied with floppy disk drives, but since that time, floppy disk drives have been abandoned in favor of USB ports. USB Flash drives use the USB mass storage standard, supported natively by modern operating systems such as Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, and other Unix-like systems. USB drives with USB 2.0 support can store more data and transfer faster than much larger optical disc drives like CD-RW or DVD-RW drives, and can be read by many other systems such as the Xbox video game consoles, PlayStation consoles, DVD players, Blu-ray players, and in some upcoming mobile smartphones.
Q: How do I use a USB Drive?
- A. Just plug your personalized USB flash drive into the USB port of your computer or other USB-equipped device. If the flash drive has a light (LED), it will flash to indicate it is operational. Your computer may recognize a new drive has been detected, and prompt you to open the drive (or run files already on the drive). Choose the option to ‘open’ or ‘explore’ the new drive. If you are running Microsoft Windows as an operating system, you can also see the new drive by clicking ‘My Computer’ on the ‘Start’ menu, which lists all your computer’s drives, including the flash drive. Double click the flash drive to open it. Drag the files you want to copy to the flash drive into the folder that appears on your screen. Your files are now transferred to your USB Flash Drive (normally instantly but can it take a little longer if the files are big). You can unplug your flash drive at any time, as long as files are not being read from or written to the flash drive. Ensure the LED is not flashing (if your device has one). To transfer the items on your USB Flash Drive onto another computer, explore the files on the flash drive as above, and the drag them to a location on the new computer.
Q: Will my USB Flash drive work with any computer?
- A. All computers, Mac or PC, manufactured in the past 10 years are equipped with USB ports and operating system capability. Some solutions you can choose for customization (i.e. AutoRun) may not be supported by Windows 7, Vista, Mac, or by some administrators for security purposes. However, the flash drive is still usable for storage purposes.
Q: What do people use USB flash drives for?
- A. Because of their extreme portability (most weigh an ounce or less), the most common purpose for USB flash drives is transferring files between computers at different locations. As their storage capacity has increased, they have also become more and more useful for backing up important files from your PC’s hard drive and storing them in a secure location. Portable USB flash drives remain one of the most curious computer peripherals available today. Some people wonder what in the world they’re used for, while others wonder what in the world they can’t be used for.
Q: What is the difference between a USB flash drive and a “regular” flash drive?
- A. A “flash drive” is a solid state drive (SSD) technology that stores data like a typical hard drive found in most PCs, but uses no moving parts. Flash drives come in many forms, including external storage devices, portable USB drives, and even as the main storage drive in some extra small laptops. A USB flash drive is the industry term for a very small, portable flash drive meant for easy data storage or transfer, and which connects to a computer via a USB port. USB flash drives are so small that most of them are designed to easily attach to a key ring.
Q: What are the benefits of using a USB flash drive instead of burning files to a CD or transferring them directly to another computer?
- A. Necessity is the mother of invention, and USB flash drives are so popular today because they are faster, easier to use, and more convenient than almost any other method. Burning CDs takes time and is a permanent process. If you’re taking a project home from the office and you’re going to be finished with it at the end of the week, burning a CD just for that can be wasteful. What’s more, if you make changes to the project, you have to burn a new CD in order to take it back to work. Transferring files directly from computer to computer can sometimes be oddly complicated, and in most cases, you need them to be right next to each other. With a USB flash drive, it’s as simple as dragging and dropping your files and folders to wherever you need them.
Q: What does “Mbps” mean, and why is it important?
- A. Mbps stands for “megabits per second,” and simply means the speed at which your files will be transferred from your PC to a device—in this case, a customized USB flash drive. The speed can range from 30 or 50 Mbps to several hundreds. Generally, the larger your USB flash drive’s capacity, the quicker it will be able to transfer your files. This is because larger files need to be transferred faster.
Q: How much space do USB flash drives have on them?
- A. These days, drives are almost exclusively available in the range of gigabytes. Sizes can range from 256 megabytes to a massive 64 gigabytes, with a sliding price scale to go along with it.
Q: How can USB flash drives be so small?
- A. USB flash drives use solid state flash technology, which stores data without using moving parts, as most physically larger internal PC hard drives do.
Q: How secure are USB flash drives?
- A. If you’re storing important information about your job, or you’re a creative person storing valuable copyrighted files, many USB flash drives offer encryption features that will protect your files from prying eyes. This is not a standard feature among USB flash drives, but they are available, and that can be invaluable to someone who might leave their drive on a busy train, or in a locker somewhere. Physically speaking, USB flash drives are extremely robust. Without moving parts and being so light, most flash drives can withstand being jostled around, dropped, or stepped on without sustaining internal damage. Most also come in a sturdy, rugged encasement that can withstand plenty of wear and tear.
Q: How should I submit my logo for production?
- A. We require vector files to be submitted. Vector files provide the most precise printing because they adapt to the resolution of any output device. Your logo appears defined without a “pixelated” look. These file types include: .eps, .ai, .pdf*, and .cad. File types such as .jpeg and .tif may also be accepted, but are not preferred. Please consult with your Sales Representative for more information. *Note: .pdf files must retain editing capabilities of program used to create them (i.e. Adobe Illustrator)
Q: Do your products have warranties?
- A. Yes! All of our custom USB products are guaranteed under lifetime warranty. Proof of purchase is required to validate warranty. Lifetime warranty does not cover misuse, modified, or accidental damage of products.
Q: How do we add your logo?
- A.The branding methods we use are determined by the product type and material. Below is a quick insight into each branding method so you can see how to represent your logo and company image in the best light.
Screen Printing: Ideal for logos made from one to four separate colors. Screen printing is a printing technique that traditionally creates a sharp-edged image using a stencil and a porous fabric. In brief, the screen is made from porous finely woven fabric held over a frame. Areas of the screen are obscured with a non-permeable stencil which is a positive of the image to be printed (the remaining open areas are where the ink will appear). When printing multi-color logos, a new stencil is made for each color and the different colors printed sequentially. Screen printing is most suitable for logos with one to four colors that have no shading or color gradation. Before printing, inks are custom mixed to match the Pantone® color references denoted on the proof.
Colorful Printing: Ideal for logos/graphics made from many different colors. Although we use advanced technology, colorful printing is similar to standard desktop printing in that logos can be reproduced in full color by combining the four colors known as CMYK in varying amounts. CMI Promotions uses this technique in combination with polyurethane resin doming to give your logo a very durable finish that is highly resistant to scratches and bumps. Photo printing is the best choice for logos with many colors or those with shading or gradation.
Laser Engraving: Ideal for logos requiring ‘solid’ areas of engraving. Laser engraving gives a very precise and clean finish. We have a variety of different strength laser engraving machines to cater for all types of material from stainless steel to wood. Engraving is not a color process like printing – your logo is transferred to the product by ‘marking’ the product with a laser. So how does the laser work? The laser is designed to deliver energy to the product surface in a way which converts a high percentage of the light energy into heat – the area where the laser makes contact vaporizes and a mark is made on the product. Using a computer, the position and movement of the laser can be accurately controlled to achieve the desired effect. Logos with sharp well defined borders tend to work best. We have an in-house laser engraving department to ensure your logo is engraved to the highest standards by experienced technicians.
Q: Are USB flash drives susceptible to corruption from airport security technology?
- A. USB flash drives and solid state drives are airport security safe!
Q: What’s the minimum order quantity?
- A. The minimum order quantity is 50 units for our most popular items. Please contact us for a full price list, and you will see that even for small quantity orders, our prices are very competitive! For other products, our minimum order quantities vary slightly depending on the requirement, so please get in touch for a precise number.
Q: What is an SD Card?
- A. An SD card is a memory card that stores information from electronic devices. It has become such a standard that many different devices are equipped with slots that accept the cards, which store data in flash memory. Flash memory allows data to be stored on the card without any access to power. The data doesn’t “use up” the card – it can be rewritten. SD cards are small and light, and therefore highly portable, and you can use them between devices. They are so small that devices such as cell phones can carry the card inside. They last about a decade, and can store memory into the terabytes.
Q: SD-Compatible Products
- A. A wide range of electronic devices can read and/or write to SD cards. Mobile phones, digital cameras, video recorders, computers, printers, game systems such as the Wii, and audio players – all these and more can use SD cards. It’s a safe bet that if a consumer product has functions having to do with sound or images, it probably has a slot for an SD card. If you have several of these products, those with SD slots can share information between them if you write information on the card using one device, then read the card from another. You can move digital photos from your camera onto your computer this way.
Q: Types of Data
- A. SD cards can hold several kinds of data, and you can save those different types of data on the same card. SD cards can store audio, video, photography, and documents. Even though all these may be stored on a single card, a device can only read the different kinds of data it was designed to read. So a printer might be able to read to photos on an SD card in order to print them, but not the documents. To know if your device can read a certain data type, you have to check the specifications that came with the product.
Q: SD Cards and MicroSD Cards
- A. MicroSD and SD cards are related technology and serve the same function: storing data. The main difference between them is their size. SD cards are the largest, measuring about 1 by 1½ inches. The other two formats were created to work with certain mobile phones. Converters exist that allow SD-compatible devices to read the MicroSD cards. Only the large SD card has write protection that prevents you from losing data by mistakenly writing new data on top of the old data. A locking slide switch is found on the SD card itself. When locked, the card becomes read-only.
Q: SD Speed Class
- A. An SD Speed Class is a rating that lets consumers know how fast the writing speed of a card is. Classes 2, 4 and 6 have data transfer speeds of 2, 4 and 6MB per second. Class 2 applies to MPEG-4, and MPEG-2 and H.264 to video recording. Class 4 applies to HDTV, MPEG-2 video recording, and DSC consecutive shooting. Class 6 applies to professional video camera consecutive shooting and mega-pixel DSC. The host devices using these classes share the rating. This allows you to match the card and the host device so you get optimal performance. (A host device is the product into which you plug the SD card.) Some devices accept more than one card, but won’t have all of the performance features where memory is concerned unless you use a certain type. Read the host device’s manual for recommendations. This can also be an issue as far as storage capacity is concerned. Speed Class is written on the card – look for a circled number 2, 4 or 6.
Q: SD Card Memory Capacity
- A. The amount of data that your card can hold depends on the memory capacity of the SD card, the type of data you want to put on it, and how the information is compressed. For instance, a 32GB card might hold 320 to 720 minutes of a movie, depending on the quality of the recording. It is important get advice on choosing the right memory capacity from the manual supplied by the device in which you plan to use the SD card. With the recommendations in mind, purchase enough memory to allow good function. Make sure audio playback is smooth, for instance, or that the photo resolution is what you desire.
Q: What is an (CF) Compact Flash Card?
- A. CompactFlash (CF) is a mass storage device format used in portable electronic devices. Most CompactFlash devices contain flash memory in a standardized enclosure. The format was first specified and produced by SanDisk in 1994. The physical format is now used for a variety of devices.
If you have other questions about custom USB drives, flash memory, or want to know more about a certain product, please contact us right away!