Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Back It Up! The SanDisk Cruzer Blade 8 GB USB Flash Drive Works Well!

The Good: Easy to use, Does what it promises, Hard to damage, Decent storage capacity
The Bad: Easy to lose or destroy, Often requires proper shutdown, No indicator for data transfer, Gets warm!
The Basics: The SanDisk Cruzer Blade 8 GB flash drive is an excellent tool for backing up essential files, even if it does so with minimal flare.

Flash drives are definitely one of those ubiquitous bits of technology by which one may easily date at person. Young people take flash drives for granted; people of a certain age and older are amazed by both the technology, the reliability, the inexpense of them and how fast they became a standard in the marketplace and a fashion accessory. Yes, back in my day, we paid for RAM by the Megabyte and it wasn't cheap at all! So now, to be able to get something like an 8 GB SanDisk Cruzer Blade USB Flash Drive on clearance at the local grocery store for $3.99 is pretty much enough to give the teenager still active in my memory a freak out. I mean, 1 MB RAM at $25/stick . . . means I'd pay how much for 8 GB?! Sure, RAM is not the same as flash memory, but you have to understand the time when even Megabytes was a relatively new unit of measure!

So, because the local grocery store made it stupidly inexpensive to stock up and because my wife and I had been somewhat negligent before now in creating recovery discs for our various Windows operating systems (and, it turns out while Flash Drives have become ubiquitous and reliable, laptop computers have started to suck and break down at a rate that implies flat-out corporate corruption!), we decided to stock up on SanDisk Cruzer Blade flash drives. Each Cruzer Blade is an 8 Gigabytes flash drive that runs through USB 2.0.

For those unfamiliar with flash drives, these are convenient little pieces of computer hardware that essentially act as a portable hard drive. They are a male USB port connected plugged into a very small board and it holds any sort of computer information that can be held on a standard hard drive. Because virtually every computer these days has a USB port (the "U" stands for "Universal!") this becomes a remarkably efficient and easy way to transfer information from one computer to another and to walk around with files. Far more durable than floppy discs and easier to transfer information to than a CD-R, especially now that CD drives on computers are no longer universal by any means, the flash drive is a remarkable piece of technology that makes files portable between computers in a way that is often as easy as clicking a flash drive into a USB port!

The SanDisk Cruzer Blade is a one and five-eighths inches long by 5/16" wide by 1/4" thick piece of plastic that is red and black. One end has a USB interface which plugs into any USB port - it is a standard type of port on computers, the flat-looking interface that is rectangular shaped. There is no protection on the Cruzer Blade for the USB port, so one risks getting dirt or other elements in one's computer if one carries the Cruzer Blade around a lot. Given that several of mine are in storage for deep back-up, this has not been much of a concern for my usage. In an office environment, the Cruzer Blade and its exposed end ought to be fine. At the opposite end from the male USB jack is a small loop in the plastic base that can be connected to a strap (like a shoestring or a lanyard) that allows one to carry their Cruzer Blade around their neck (strap of any kind or keychain is NOT included with this flash drive).

Whenever you plug the Cruzer Blade into a computer that has Plug and Play capability (Windows XP or above, according to the back of the card this came on) the computer will register the drive and usually open a window to show the contents of the drive. In Windows, files may be dragged onto the drive or dragged off the drive to copy files to or from the drive. It is that easy. Unlike having to spend minutes loading large files with multiple floppy discs or having the inconvenience of having to find a CD burner for a CD-R/CD-RW, the Cruzer Blade is literally as easy as plugging in and dragging (or copying) files to it!

The Cruzer Blade has a 8 GB capacity which means most people can replicate their entire data collection from their primary computer and save it on here! This makes for a great back-up option in case of fire or disaster or covertly transferring information! I was very pleased that a single 8 GB flash drive was able to create a recovery disc for Windows 10. While it took a few hours to create initially, the time it saves in restoring my wife's crappy new laptop to functionality is impressive. The only important functional detail to remember is that if you are plugging it into a PC or other Windows-based system, it must be properly removed from the system using the "Eject" option from the tool bar. Otherwise, some of the files may not open properly.

In addition to Windows-based systems, the Cruzer Blade plugs into USB ports on Apple computers running Mac OS X 10.6 or above. This means it can be a wonderful interface between any of the music-storing Apple products that have a USB port and a computer!

The Cruzer Blade is very convenient, though because of its small size, it may easily be lost. I got a strap for it pretty much right away because the red and black-colored module seems to blend in with virtually everything. A strap comes in handy in that regard and I've found that I tend to be quite glad that I put one on the end loop. Having been schlepping the tiny drive around, I've found that the Cruzer Blade is handy and durable. I've sat on it, dropped it and nervously spun it around on its strap. This flash drive is not indestructible, but as far as day to day wear goes it may as well be. Because of its small size, however, I have noticed that the Cruzer Blade gets much warmer than other flash drives I have used in the past. That was a bit of a surprise for me, but I have never kept the flash drive attached to a computer long enough for the heat to have any form of adverse effect upon the information stored on the drive.

With 8 Gigabytes of storage space, this packs a great amount of storage into a very discrete package. Anyone on the go who works with multiple computers will want to get one of these. This drive is inexpensive enough that if you keep an extra one by your bed with your essential computer back-ups, it's convenient enough to grab when you're scooping up the cats and fleeing fire, flood, tornadoes, etc. And as one who has important data to protect, that is exceptionally important to me! And with laptop computers that come with a lot of preloaded crap, it is nice to have a drive like this with just the essential Windows files in order to be able to reload one's computer with just the key components when Windows 10 and other programs inevitably crash.

For other flash drive reviews, please check out my takes on:
Kingston DataTraveler 32 GB Flash Drive
Verbatim 1 GB Store'N'Go Flash Drive
ATP Breast Cancer Awareness Flash Drive


For other electronics product reviews, please visit my index page for an organized listing of all of them!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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