If you are considering digitizing your home movie memories you may be wondering what is the best method for storing your new digital files. What is the difference between a flash drive and a hard drive? Which should I use for my needs?


A flash drive, also called a USB drive or thumb drive is a small, portable digital file storage device most commonly used to share or transfer files. There are numerous brands of flash drives available in various storage sizes. They are usually the size of your thumb, and most commonly come in 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, all the way up to 128GB. You can find flash drives with storage above 128GB but in our experience these thumb drives are less reliable. Thumb drives are very affordable, for example you can buy a name brand 32GB flash drive from an office supply store or on amazon for around 7-15 dollars on average.


External hard drives are larger than thumb drives and also more expensive. They are portable to a degree but have several moving internal parts so there is a possibility of damaging them if they are not transported carefully. Some of our favorite hard drives are made by Western Digital-the 1TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive starts at $50+, or LaCie-the Rugged Mini 1TB External Hard Drive starts at $80+. Hard drives are able to hold more digital files and are well suited for regular use, reading and writing files. They are wonderful for storage of back up files or files you are working with, for editing as an example. USB flash drives on the other hand are not designed for writing and rewriting files repeatedly, and they are slow to work off of. Scott McMacken, blog contributor for Secure Data warns, “USB drives are not built for repetitive write cycles, so you should never edit photos, movies, sounds and other large files directly on your flash drive.” At AllYourMemoriesonDVD.com, we recommend transferring your digital files off a thumb drive and onto your computer’s internal hard drive for the best work flow if you desire to edit your own footage. It is also a good practice to copy your flash drive files to your computer for safe-keeping.


At AllYourMemoriesOnDVD.com most customers request flash drives for their video transfer files. Flash drives work well because they are more affordable than hard drives and because they are a convenient portable way to share multiple video files. Flash drives are also pretty durable compared to hard drives. We have experienced issues with hard drives that were not sufficiently padded and packed when shipped to us, and a hard drive will likely break when dropped (as opposed to a flash drive that can survive being dropped and roughly handled). If a customer comes in with a very large quantity of videos, we may recommend a hard drive.


So what will work best for you? James Huenink, author of the article, “External Hard Drive vs. Flash Drive: What’s the Difference?” sums it up nicely: “The flash drive is designed for short-term storage and ease of transport. The technology that makes it inexpensive and portable makes it less reliable for constant use but perfect for transferring large files when a network isn’t feasible. Hard drives are designed to read and write files regularly, so they last longer under constant use. They are also more expensive than flash drives, but they have more capacity. Use these to store files, applications, and other tasks and items you regularly use.” Flash drives are the most cost-effective way we’ve found to accommodate the needs of a vast majority of customers. We welcome our clients to provide their own digital file storage devices if they prefer, or we have some on hand for use in your video transfer project. We will format the drive according to your specifications or with the most widely compatible format. We’re here for you and your video transfer needs – if you have any questions, give us a call at 805-377-7333.


Sources for Reference:


Huenink, James. “External Hard Drive vs. Flash Drive: What’s the Difference?” Lifewire. December 03, 2021. < https://www.lifewire.com/external-hard-drive-vs-flash-drive-5208546 >  Reviewed by Jon Fisher. May 11, 2022


McMacken, Scott. “Is a USB Flash Drive More Reliable Than a Hard Drive?” Secure Data. February 13, 2013. < https://www.securedatarecovery.com/blog/is-a-usb-flash-drive-more-reliable-than-a-hard-drive-2#:~:text=Overall%2C%20flash%20drives%20can%20be,to%20avoid%20permanent%20data%20loss> May 12, 2022