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I use a USB storage device to back up my data. How can I correctly log the USB Flash memory on and off? How can I speed up the data access?


For transport and as a temporary storage facility for private and important data USB memory sticks and SD cards have since long become indispensable. Above all, due to the small size, the enormous capacity of currently 2 up to 256 gigabyte and low purchasing costs, the handy USB memory sticks have become a perfect travel companion.

Even flatter an lighter are SD card storage devices, which have comparable capacities and can be purchased at a reasonable price. SD cards have been used in the past as mass storage devices in digital cameras. Current notebooks and desktop PCs also by default have SD card slots so that you can take advantage of the small cards not only to share of digital photos but as a universal backup device for all the important documents and private files.

Note: The following instructions and tips apply to Windows 7, but it is a similar way in Windows Vista and Windows XP.

USB mass storage: Things you should

Currently, USB mass storage devices are available in earlier USB 1.1 but as well as in USB 2.0 bus which is much faster. USB 2.0 enabled drives to reach a maximum transfer rate of 480 Mbit/s (60 MB / s). You can connect USB 2.0 devices on older 1.0 USB slots. However the maximum data transfer rate is then reduced to 12 Mbit/s (1.5 MB / s) or less.

Note The new standard USB 3.0 will enable data transfer rates of up to 5 GB/s (625 MB / s). There are already some USB 3.0 Flash device on the market. Models with 16 GB costs about 50 euros. For the USB 2.0 model with the same storage volume, you pay half. When you transfer regularly only small amounts of data from a few gigabytes, a USB 2.0 Flash drive is sufficient.

SD cards: Things you should know

SD cards use a Flash memory such as USB memory sticks. The abbreviation SD stands for SECURE (D)igital. Older SD cards offer memory capacities from 1 GB up to 4 gigabytes.

So-called SDHC card (SD high capacity) represent a further development of SD cards and are available today with storage capacity of 2 32 gigabytes up to. Significantly higher capacities offer the SDXC cards. SDXC may stand for "SD eXtended capacity" and describes the significantly greater storage volume, the cards can make this class available. Up to 2 terabytes are theoretically possible, commonly cards 64-Gbyte capacity currently.

You reach current SD cards a maximum data transfer rate of 104 MB/s. be careful when you buy at the right size, because there are cards with a much lower dimension for small devices such as MP3 players.

Practical: SD cards have a small slider, which you can set a read-only and thus secure the stored data against accidental overwrite on the edge.

Format storage media

Windows 7 deals with both USB and SD cards as removable, rarely also as local disks. In any case, the location on the Windows must be correctly to read the file system. Typically, USB flash drives or SD cards with the FAT file systems are or FAT32 formatted. Thus, this media from older Windows systems can be easily raised, managed and described. In some cases, it is advisable to format the disk to NTFS, to speed up data access or to use, that are in a different file system not available to Windows features.

USB storage device, install and sign up

USB storage media require a driver, the Windows 7 usually automatically makes available.

1. Connect the USB stick to a free USB slot in your PC case. Windows 7 then reports that the device driver software is installed.

2. In the connection, Windows reports that you can use the device.

3. Click the status message in the info bar to get details about the installation progress of all USB media.

Check out USB storage media

To avoid data loss when writing or even damage to the file system of USB flash drives, you should basically the stick on to the system log, before removing it. This also applies to SD cards.

1. Click the small arrow in the InfoBar.

2. Click in the following dialog box on the icon for Safely remove hardware and media eject.

3. Click in the following list the appropriate entry for your USB stick.

4. You receive a message that the hardware can be removed. Subtract only now the USB stick.

USB-sticks/SD cards: enable write caching

Windows 7 provides a write cache available, which ensures that data time delay on the disk are written when the system load is gering(er) you for your internal hard drives by default. The advantage: The storage and reading of data is done faster, suffer no slowdown when working.

You can enable this function via a hidden setting in Windows 7 also for USB storage media and SD cards to improve the flow. Achieve a clearly noticeable performance benefit for USB devices that are referred to as the local disk — this applies especially but not only for USB hard drives. But then you sure that the stick or the card every time properly to the system log off before you remove him or her.

In addition, this option is important if you want to format the file system of the disk to NTFS later. Read more about this in the fourth installment of this series.

And as you proceed:

1. Connect the USB stick or SD card, and then click the Windows icon.

2. In the field for Search programs and files Enter the term Device Manager.

3. In the hit list at the top of the start menu, click on the entry Device Manager.

4. The Device Manager opens. Click the small arrow next to Drives.

5. In the following list, double-click the entry for your USB or SD media.

6. In the dialog box ... Device PropertiesClick the tab Policies.

7. Select the option Better performance.

8. Click on OK, and then close Device Manager. The write cache is now enabled.


More useful information, see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

2442620 USB and SD storage media ReadyBoost to an SD card or a flash drive

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