Saving to Flash Drive: Copy Files & Drives?

In summary, the conversation discusses the process of transferring files from a hard drive to a flash drive and then onto another computer. The main question is whether the files will be saved in the same structure as they were on the hard drive. It is mentioned that this is possible, but the capacity of the flash drive may be an issue. The conversation also touches on the differences between sector sizes on different drives, the possibility of fragmentation, and the need for defragmentation. It is recommended to use a file backup utility instead of just copying folders directly to ensure compatibility between different file systems.
  • #1
WWGD
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Hi all,
Hope this is not too simple/dumb:
When we save , say a Hard drive to a flash drive,
are the saved files saved in the drive with a schema similar to the one
that existed on the hard drive? Sorry I am being kind of lazy in not doing an experiment;
thought someone may save me time. Basically, a friend wants to transfer files from their hard drive
in one computer into another computer, using a Flash drive. Can one just copy a whole drive in a single
shot, or must one copy directories or even files individually? And, once the files are copied into
the Flash drive: can we copy them , all, a drive at a time? I am just confused, since I am used
to copying sets of files individually, and not full directories or even full drives in a single shot.
 
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  • #2
WWGD said:
Hi all,
Hope this is not too simple/dumb:
When we save , say a Hard drive to a flash drive,
are the saved files saved in the drive with a schema similar to the one
that existed on the hard drive? Sorry I am being kind of lazy in not doing an experiment;
thought someone may save me time. Basically, a friend wants to transfer files from their hard drive
in one computer into another computer, using a Flash drive. Can one just copy a whole drive in a single
shot, or must one copy directories or even files individually? And, once the files are copied into
the Flash drive: can we copy them , all, a drive at a time? I am just confused, since I am used
to copying sets of files individually, and not full directories or even full drives in a single shot.
If the thumb drive has sufficient capacity (which I seriously doubt it would unless you were copying a very small hard drive to a very large thumb drive) then yes, you can just transfer the root directory of the HD to the thumb drive and thence on to a second hard drive.

The windows file system is independent of specific hardware implementations so a different schema on a thumb drive is irrelevant to the macro level operation of transferring files.
 
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  • #3
Flash drives can store files and directories. The difference is in the sector size as small drives have small sectors and large drives have large sectors. It has to do with keeping the sector numbering consistent between drives. Larger sector sizes mean there's more wasted space on large drives and that's by folks like to archive seldom used files to reduce the number of partially filled sectors. Basically each file will have a partially filled sector as the last block of the file. Hence less files means less partially filled sectors and better storage usage.

Files aren't always stored sequentially though as drives become fragmented during use i.e. deleting and adding files.
 
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  • #4
There was a scam that went around a few years ago. Someone sold external drives to folks with high storage. Internally though, inside the drive enclosure was a thumb drive that could only hold a few gigabytes.

You might be able to find an external drive sufficient to hold all your files.
 
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  • #5
jedishrfu said:
Flash drives can store files and directories. The difference is in the sector size as small drives have small sectors and large drives have large sectors. It has to do with keeping the sector numbering consistent between drives. Larger sector sizes mean there's more wasted space on large drives and that's by folks like to archive seldom used files to reduce the number of partially filled sectors. Basically each file will have a partially filled sector as the last block of the file. Hence less files means less partially filled sectors and better storage usage.

Files aren't always stored sequentially though as drives become fragmented during use i.e. deleting and adding files.
Don't most ( PC) systems periodically do defragging, so that files would not be spread about the hd too badly?

jedishrfu said:
Flash drives can store files and directories. The difference is in the sector size as small drives have small sectors and large drives have large sectors. It has to do with keeping the sector numbering consistent between drives. Larger sector sizes mean there's more wasted space on large drives and that's by folks like to archive seldom used files to reduce the number of partially filled sectors. Basically each file will have a partially filled sector as the last block of the file. Hence less files means less partially filled sectors and better storage usage.

Files aren't always stored sequentially though as drives become fragmented during use i.e. deleting and adding files.
Thanks; hpw about the replication side, passing from a flash drive into a host PC? Would the copying preserve in the host, the structure of the files in the Flash drive?
 
  • #6
WWGD said:
Don't most ( PC) systems periodically do defragging, so that files would not be spread about the hd too badly?
Only if you tell it to (there is an option to tell it to do it periodically, yes, but some of us do not turn that on). For example, if your boot drive is a SSD, they defragging is a TERRIBLE idea.

Thanks; hpw about the replication side, passing from a flash drive into a host PC? Would the copying preserve in the host, the structure of the files in the Flash drive?
As I have already said, yes.
 
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  • #7
Thanks both for your patience with my embarrassing "Where can I buy myself an Internet, of the latest model " -type gap in my knowledge.
 
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  • #8
One thing I would add is to ensure the filesystems (logical disk schema) match, otherwise you can run into some weird filesize and filename length issues when transferring between Linux/Unix and Windows NTFS filesystems to FAT32 commonly used on flash drives.
I recommend using a file backup utility instead of just copying folders over directly.
 
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  • #9
stoomart said:
One thing I would add is to ensure the filesystems (logical disk schema) match, otherwise you can run into some weird filesize and filename length issues when transferring between Linux/Unix and Windows NTFS filesystems to FAT32 commonly used on flash drives.
I recommend using a file backup utility instead of just copying folders over directly.
Thanks; any suggestions to these effects? File backup sysytems and verifying the match ( I am copying between different Windows PCs)?
 
  • #10
WWGD said:
Thanks; any suggestions to these effects? File backup sysytems and verifying the match ( I am copying between different Windows formats)?
Windows 7+ has two excellent backup tools built-in, one for file backups and one for whole disk, both can be accessed in the Control Panel.
You just need to ensure the flash drive is formatted as NTFS, which you can determine by right-clicking it in the File Explorer > Properties. If it's FATx, save anything already on the drive you care about and reformat to NTFS.
 
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  • #11
WWGD said:
Hi all,
Hope this is not too simple/dumb:
When we save , say a Hard drive to a flash drive,
are the saved files saved in the drive with a schema similar to the one
that existed on the hard drive? Sorry I am being kind of lazy in not doing an experiment;
thought someone may save me time. Basically, a friend wants to transfer files from their hard drive
in one computer into another computer, using a Flash drive. Can one just copy a whole drive in a single
shot, or must one copy directories or even files individually? And, once the files are copied into
the Flash drive: can we copy them , all, a drive at a time? I am just confused, since I am used
to copying sets of files individually, and not full directories or even full drives in a single shot.
Basically no different than if saving from internal hard drive to another internal hard drive or to another place on the same internal hard drive. Drag-and-Drop, or Copy-and-Paste. Using usb flash drive is much the same as when "you used to" use floppy disks, except that usb flash drive have much much more storage capacity. Just be aware, that some usb flash drives might not allow certain files placed onto them to work/open. You should still find that another alternative, SAVING ONTO AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE DISK, could eliminate such a problem.

(I had trouble with some video files placed onto a usb flash drive of the Verbatim brand; they would not open or would not play; but when put onto external hard drive, they worked there without trouble.)
 
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  • #12
symbolipoint said:
Basically no different than if saving from internal hard drive to another internal hard drive or to another place on the same internal hard drive. Drag-and-Drop, or Copy-and-Paste. Using usb flash drive is much the same as when "you used to" use floppy disks, except that usb flash drive have much much more storage capacity. Just be aware, that some usb flash drives might not allow certain files placed onto them to work/open. You should still find that another alternative, SAVING ONTO AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE DISK, could eliminate such a problem.

(I had trouble with some video files placed onto a usb flash drive of the Verbatim brand; they would not open or would not play; but when put onto external hard drive, they worked there without trouble.)
Thanks, but the issue is on whether the structure of the files is preserved or not ( which has been answered) , and whether there is a " quantization" of sorts in terms of saveable units ( also answered).
 
  • #13
Some of my reading was brief or not too careful. About the 'quantization', that's something that others could say and have answered. About directory structure, YES. You can move a complete directory from computer's internal disk onto the external storage device and it should keep as you have on both now. Whatever the directory structure, it can be copied and pasted, or dragged and dropped.
 
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Related to Saving to Flash Drive: Copy Files & Drives?

1. How do I save files to a flash drive?

Saving files to a flash drive is a simple process. First, insert the flash drive into your computer's USB port. Then, open the folder or location where the files you want to save are located. Select the files you want to save, right-click and choose "Copy." Next, open the flash drive folder, right-click and choose "Paste." Your files will then be saved to the flash drive.

2. Can I save entire drives to a flash drive?

Yes, it is possible to save entire drives to a flash drive. This is often referred to as "cloning" a drive. There are various software programs available that can help you clone a drive to a flash drive. However, it is important to note that the capacity of your flash drive must be equal to or greater than the size of the drive you are trying to clone.

3. How much storage space do I need on my flash drive?

The amount of storage space you need on your flash drive depends on the size of the files you want to save. Most flash drives range in size from 1GB to 128GB, with larger sizes becoming more common. It is always a good idea to have a flash drive with more storage space than you think you will need, in case you want to save additional files in the future.

4. Is there a limit to the number of files I can save on a flash drive?

No, there is no limit to the number of files you can save on a flash drive. However, the number of files you can save will depend on the size of the files and the storage capacity of your flash drive. It is always a good idea to check the available storage space on your flash drive before attempting to save a large number of files.

5. How can I ensure the files I save to a flash drive are secure?

To ensure the security of your files on a flash drive, it is recommended to use a flash drive with built-in encryption or to encrypt the files yourself before saving them to the flash drive. You should also keep your flash drive in a safe and secure location when not in use, and consider making backup copies of important files in case the flash drive gets lost or damaged.

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