So you have pretty much stopped using CD Rom's to transfer and store data because of ease of USB storage devices, often called a memory stick, thumb drive, flash drive and by many other names. The small size, low price point and massive amount of data you can hold (16 GB for under $30 USD) make it an appealing alternative to other media storage options. There are a few issues that people should consider when using these devices.
· Because they are often handed from one person to another viruses are easily stored and shared on a device
· The small size makes it easier to be stolen or lost, so sensitive data may be exposed
· They are fragile and can easily break or malfunction
Although the first two points are valuable and something to take into consideration it is the third bullet point I look to focus on.
The easiest and most important thing for you to do is use the flash drive as storage backup and not your primary drive. Basically, save it to the hard drive on your computer and then save it to your flash drive. This will allow you to have a backup system in place should failure occur.
Perhaps you have deleted files that you need and was hoping to find a way to recover data; there are several commercial products that you can use to do this. A simple Google search will pull up many results that will provide you with a list of products that should help. Not all data can be recovered, but assuming that the drive device is not broken this should provide a good option.
If your flash drive is broken, say the male part has snapped off from the device or even if the drive was stepped on there is a good chance the data can be recovered.
If the device has severely damaged it may be much more difficult to do data recovery. However, a professional will best be able to provide you with the best options.
The best option you have is to backup data before hand; take the time to educate yourself on how best to do this. Saving in two spots does add a little time, but the ultimate value will be noticed once your data is lost and you remember that you have a backup.