What do you call a USB Flash Drive?

Tuesday 11 May 2010 - Filed under Default

Over the last few years, small form-factor solid state usb storage devices have become ubiquitous. They have replaced floppies, CDs and even larger usb hard drives with spinning disks for many backup, file transfer, and utility purposes. The question still remains though, what do we call them? To solve this problem, I turned to Google. For each name I had heard used, I got the number of results returned.

There you have it, the most popular term is clearly flash drive. Go forth and be confident when you ask someone to pass the flash drive!

Some other observations:

This kind of survey is only a cursory examination of the question. Further research could refine results by trying to weed out SSDs that don’t fit the flash drive form factor. I also didn’t use quotes in this examination.

One thing I find odd is that ‘thumb drive’ has so few hits when ‘flash drive’ has so many. Especially when you consider that ‘usb thumb drive’ is more popular than ‘usb flash drive’. This leads me to believe that thumb feels too ambiguous to let it be written without the usb.

If you’re looking for something interesting to do with a spare flash drive, why not try fUSBi to boot up your computer with gNewSense. Another interesting thing to do is try something like PenDriveLinux so you can save your operating system, prefernces, and files to a flash drive.


2010-05-11  »  David Sterry


  1. custom usb
    23 May 2010 @ 11:16 am

    In our country we call it usb flash drive