JumpDrive® is a Lexar brand name for a Universal Serial Bus (USB) storage device, also called a USB flash drive (UFD). As is sometimes the case with brand names, the term is sometimes used by consumers when referring to any USB flash drive, in the same way Kleenex® is often used to refer to any brand of facial tissue. Technically, the industry refers to these devices as UFDs, though consumers are mostly unfamiliar with the acronym, more often using terms like memory stick, thumb drive, or flash drive.
A UFD is a small, portable device about the size of a lighter or package of gum. The body is an encased circuit board with a memory chip, with one end featuring an integrated USB connector. This connector can slide into a port on nearly any computer, making the drive ideal for quickly transferring data or programs. USB ports support “plug and play” functionality so that a computer does not have to reboot to recognize the device or to disconnect from it. Modern operating systems also have built-in support for memory sticks, negating the need to load device drivers.
A JumpDrive® has no moving parts and requires very little power. Nearly impervious to casual abuse, the UFD has replaced the less robust floppy drive and a handful of other storage, transfer, or backup devices. Memory storage varies according to model, ranging from megabytes (MB) to gigabytes (GB). Light, small and tough, flash drives are a useful compliment for any computer user.
Many newer motherboards have the option in the BIOS settings to boot from a USB drive. A bootable UFD is referred to as a “live drive.” Some flavors of popular operating systems, including a scaled down version of Linux™, are designed to work on a flash drive. Creating a live drive can be a great way to test out a new operating system without installing it on the computer’s internal hard drive.
Whether backing up data files, archiving programs, or building a portable music library, the USB flash drive is a great investment with a humble price tag. They are sold everywhere electronics are sold.