Flash memory is a subkind of the solid-state semi-conducting non-volatile rewritable memory.
Flash memory can be read any amount of times, but data can be recorded to such a memory a limited amount of times (usually about 10 thousand times).
Erase occurs by areas, that is why it is impossible to copy one bit or byte without overwriting the whole area (this limitation refers to the most popular today type of flash-memory – NAND).
The advantage of flash memory over the usual memory is that it is non-volatile – its storage contents are preserved when the power supply is cut off.
The advantage of flash memory over hard drives, CD-ROMs and DVD is the absence of movable parts. This makes flash memory more compact, cheaper (taking into account the cost of the reading and recording devices) and provides a faster access.
The disadvantage of flash memory over hard drives is its relatively small capacity.
Due to its compactness, low price and volatility, flash memory is widely used in portable battery-powered devices, such as laptop computers, digital audio players, digital cameras and mobile phones, and lately also in programmable calculators. Besides that, it is used for important data backup as well as for software storage in various peripherals (routers, communicators, printers, scanners, etc).
Flash memory can be either removable or nonremovable. Removable flash memory is used for storage of image and sound in audio and video equipment and for backup.
Nonremovable flash memory is used for storage of built-in software, operating systems, in laptop computers and programmable calculators and for storage of other program data. In many laptop computers removable flash memory is used as memory extension.
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