How Not to Lose Your USB Drive

On May 2, 2008, in public relations, by Barbara Nixon

Pulling Hair OutEver lose your USB drive? I think we’ve all left it someplace at one time or another. It’s an awful feeling to think you’ve lost everything. Here are some tips that may help.

First, and most importantly, ONLY use your USB drive for transport. Never use it as the only place you’ve saved a file. Ever. (Got that?)

Second, e-mail critical files to yourself before you leave the library, lab, or wherever you’re using your USB drive. That way, if the drive gets misplaced, you’ll still have a copy of the really important stuff.

Third, attach your USB drive to your keys. It’s unlikely that you’d leave your keys behind.

Fourth, write your name on the outside of your USB drive with a Sharpie. Or, if it’s a dark USB drive, write your name on a tiny piece of paper and tape it to the drive. 

Fifth, create a simple TXT file that you put in the root of your USB drive. Save the file with the name “Thank you for finding my USB drive” so that if an honest person finds the drive, it will be easy to get it returned to you. Put the following information in the file:And finally, if you decide that your USB drive is dirty and needs washing in the pocket of your jeans (like I did last week), it may still be usable. Take the cap off and hang or place it upside down to dry. Let it dry for a day or two before trying to use it again.


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11 Responses to How Not to Lose Your USB Drive

  1. Honey Lopez says:

    Hi mam, i’m going to include your post in our school mags article about lost flash disk…

  2. Burl Muskett says:

    I used to write for a blog like yours, unfortunately I stopped doing it. Definitely keep it up, you’re a great writer..

  3. MeShae says:

    OMG! Professor Nixon this is such a great post. I haven’t lost mine completely yet, but I’ve had some close calls. I’ll definitely be taking your advice. Thanks!

  4. […] 2009-10-11T13:26:58  @ChristineChi RT @BarbaraNixon: @mbutle @jstroud86 Here are some tips on how not to lose USB drive: [link to post] […]

  5. […] 2009-10-11T13:01:43  @mbutle @jstroud86 Here are some tips on how not to lose USB drive: [link to post] […]

  6. […] USB drive & tips for how not to lose it […]

  7. ez says:

    I would add…

    Copy the file from the USB drive to the local computer hard drive to work on it. If something happens to the file on the local copy, then you have the drive copy.

    Keep old versions on the drive. Copy a backup before you make changes. So down the road you find the file has lost necessary information you can go back to previous versions to find what was lost.

    Use encryption software if you have anything remotely sensitive on it. Should it fall out of your hands, then you don’t have to worry about the information falling into nefarious hands.

    While I was at dinner last night, a student was in tears because earlier that day Adobe Indesign froze and damaged the file containing the semester long project to create a magazine due this morning. Months of work… poof. The only copy was on a USB flash drive. Any of your or my first two pieces of advice would have saved her much agony.

  8. Daisy — I can’t tell you how many of my students have come to me in tears over a lost USB drive. It must be more than a dozen in the last year.

  9. Daisy Olsen says:

    I have not lost many but I have left them behind plenty of times. One time I left one in the computer of a high school where I teach adult education classes. A couple days later someone from my church called me and asked me if I had left it behind. Apparently she knew the teacher who’s classroom I’d left it in, the teacher had opened it, seen files related to the church and called this person. Small world, eh?

    The worst flash drive experience for me, though, was when a drive with MY ENTIRE LIFE on it became totally unusable. My lesson – backup and backup often!