I have trust issues with all storage, but flash memory-based storage is particularly unreliable.
TL;DR - Stubby metal drives are a problem.
See also Testing USB storage
Yes, do your backups.
However, you also want to keep using the device and don't want to buy a new one.
Everyday magnets are meaningless to hard disks and flash storage. Speakers, fridge magnets, etc.. even significant rare earth magnets. Don't worry.
Windows has a "storage space" feature which has RAID functionality, and will work on USB sticks.
Linux had raidtools, which is deprecated and I haven't tried anything else.
A checksumming filesystem ∞
|Btrfs||Linux||(when it has problems, it really has problems)|
|HAMMER2||BSD||Primarily DragonFly BSD|
|ZFS||Windows||A Linux implementation is a small project, and with fuse|
Others exist, but nothing significant works on Windows, and nothing is cross-platform. Basically.. everyone sucks.
Many filesystems have checksumming, but only for metadata. This is certainly a good start, but isn't good enough. There are still issues of interoperability with them, such as Microsoft's exFAT.
Overheating USB ports ∞
Some USB sticks will overheat. This is particularly true of short ones, metal ones and short metal ones.
- Is it a cheap or damaged device?
- Is it a cheap or damaged USB port?
- Does it heat up only while in use?
- Is it actually hot, or only warm?
- Does it heat differently in USB 2.0 versus 3.x?
Does it heat differently in different USB ports?
Power settings ∞
todo - improve
- Power settings >
- Advanced settings
- Check each USB port
There's a setting to powersave the USB port when it's idle.
This was tested and works when my stick will heat up when it's plugged in and idle. This will not help when it's in use.
Physical solutions ∞
These things have been tested and work:
Use a different port
- I've switched from one side of a laptop to another.
- I've switched from using a USB 3.1 port to a 2.0 and it's helped.
Use a USB extension cable
- Note that the extension cable's plug does not get hot either.
Use a USB hub
- I've tested on my "hot port" both with a USB 2.0 hub and a USB 3.0 hub.
- Note that the hub's plug does not get hot either.
Overheating USB drives ∞
If you are using a hard drive, this is a very significant problem and may well cook your drive, lowering its lifespan and possibly damaging it so much and so fast that you won't even have warning signs before it dies.
- If it's in a box:
Use it for a while, then stop and immediately take the drive out and handle it to check its heat. If it's hotter than a desktop drive (which do run pretty warm!) then you have a big problem and ought to get a better box.
- If it's in a dock:
I have no strong advice on this. I would think that an open-air cooled vertical drive would be fine, but these drives also get hot. Maybe that's just normal. Bare and semi-loose drives also make me nervous about touching, splashing, making dusty, or simply knocking them over.
- If it's bare:
I don't know what to say about this. It feels like a bad idea for it to be horizontal and on a surface; maybe you need to give it a little air gap underneath. If you intend to use a simple adapter like this, hoping to save money, know that this is not a permanent solution and you really must not do things like this. A bare drive is risky, and on top of that the cabling is often cheap.