A Pen Drive is a removable storage device that plugs into a computer’s USB port. Small enough to carry on a key ring, Pen Drives are great for transferring photos, music, documents and any other data from one computer to another. Different manufacturers over the years have named their Pen Drives with many different names causing constant confusion.
As a result of this the Pen Drive can also be known as Pocket Drive, Thumb Drive, Jump Drive, USB Flash Drive, USB Flash Memory Drive, USB Key Drive, USB Memory Key and USB Memory Stick among many others!
Although none of these names are either correct or incorrect, one of the names cause a huge amount of confusion for people, this is when someone referring to a Pen Drive, uses the term “Memory Stick”. This is because “Memory Stick” is a Sony trademark and refers to a type of memory card used in Sony’s electronic devices, it is therefore a completely different product, which will not plug directly into your computer’s USB port!
Pen Drives were invented by IBM in 1988 as a replacement to Floppy Disks but were never patented by them, M-Systems who were later contracted in by IBM to manufacture Pen Drives actually own the patent. So think of a Pen Drive as a modern day floppy disk. The main difference being that a floppy disk contains moving parts which can make the data stored on it vulnerable, a Pen Drive is solid state meaning there are no moving parts inside, making it resilient to dust and everyday magnetic fields and so a safer storage option. Also Pen Drives can hold much, much more data than the floppy disk.
Once connected to a computer’s USB port the Pen Drive appears in Windows as a “Removable Drive” alongside your C Drive, CD ROM Drive etc. You can simply drag and drop photos, music, documents and any other type of data on to the “Removable Drive” just as would with any other folder on your computer (no complex recording like CD or DVD is required). The Pen Drive can then be removed (see Safe Removal of Pen Drive below) from the computer and plugged into another computer’s USB port giving you access to the information you copied to the Pen Drive.
The compact size, robust nature and low cost of the Pen Drive has made it a big hit and an indispensible tool for many. It is ideal for transporting personal, or work data from one location to another, i.e. from home to school or office, or for carrying around data that someone may want to access in a variety of places. An insurance company in the US loads customer bio data and policy details on a tiny Pen Drive and advises policy holders to wear it with a neck strap in case of emergencies, another company is doing the same with policy holders who go Sking. Another company videos their conference and records it onto the Pen Drive so that the delegates can refer to it in future. Pen Drives can also be used to back up your important documents.