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USB Flash Drives - Use Them Cautiously

What are USB "flash drives"?

The "flash" in the title means that the devices utilize a type of flash memory that can be written on to and erased numerous times. They are great for TRANSPORTING files from one device to another. They are NOT meant to store files long term, as in being a "backup" device and should not be used as such.

USB flash drives come in all sorts of shapes and colors. There are SLOW ones that are a USB 2.0 standard, and FASTER ones that are USB 3.0. There are some that have only 2-4 gb memory, but others that can go up past 128 gb memory.

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These "clouds" are basically large "server farms" where data can be securely held and kept safely backed up.

There are many “Clouds” to choose from with probably the most common being Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Apple iCloud Drive, however there are many others as well. The cost is minimal, 99 cents/month for 100gb of storage, and on up the tiers to $10/month for 2 terabytes. Each service will vary, so you will need to explore what plans they have.

Having your files stored in a "Cloud" offers you a way to keep all your files synchronized across multiple devices (iPads or tablets, Laptops, Desktops, etc). When a file is uploaded or changed on one device, all the devices connected to your "cloud account" will then be updated to reflect the current file changes.

Most of the major "Cloud Drives" offer a desktop app that will install and integrate into your desktop browser (File Explorer in Windows or Finder on Macs). This allows you to organize, move files, or create folders in your "cloud drive", just as you would do with any of your files on your hard drive.

A file in the "cloud" is available anywhere you may be, such as at the Family History Library, "on the road traveling", and so on, as long as you have internet of course.

What if your computer hard drive suddenly dies? Don't worry, your files are still stored on your cloud drive. Replace your hard drive, reinstall your "cloud's" desktop app, and the files will download back to your desktop. This should NOT be your only backup strategy though!!

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Stephen A Meyers
Idaho Falls, Idaho

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