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What is a Flash Card?

A SD card.
Flash cards are used by MP3 players to store audio files.
Flash card readers easily plug into a a computer via a USB port or similar connection.
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  • Originally Written By: R. Kayne
  • Revised By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2014
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A flash card is a small data storage device that uses a flash memory chip to store data. Flash cards can be quite small in size, with a capacity of many gigabytes of storage. The memory in these cards is non-volatile, so it does not require a power source to remain intact. There are many different devices that use these cards, and numerous companies that manufacturer different formats.

Features of Flash Memory

One of the major reasons that flash cards are highly reliable is because they have no moving parts, unlike a hard disk drive that spins while in use, creating more opportunities for malfunction. Flash memory can typically be accessed quite quickly because it erases and writes in blocks, rather than byte by byte as some other formats do. Electrical charges erase this type of memory in "flashes," hence the name, "flash card." These cards are common in many devices, providing expanded storage in products such as digital cameras, mobile phones, and video game devices.

Drawbacks of Flash Memory

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One major drawback of using a flash card is that the industry does not use a standardized format. This results in flash cards often not being interchangeable between devices. A product that includes this type of memory usually specifies which format to use with it. Different models are formatted to meet the specifications of different manufacturers and devices. This means that someone using multiple devices that work with various formats may need multiple cards, rather than one that can easily be switched between them.

Different Formats Available

Some popular flash card formats include CompactFlash®, SmartMedia®, and Secure Digital (SD). To ensure optimal compatibility, people should look for different devices that all rely on the same flash memory format. Some manufacturers favor particular types to encourage brand loyalty, while others simply utilize the most popular flash cards available.

Methods for Reading from Flash Cards

While most products that use flash memory have cable or wireless connectivity to download the data in the card to a computer, flash card readers provide another option. The advantage of a reader is that it easily plugs into a computer through a Universal Serial Bus (USB) port or similar connection. This lets a computer user simply eject the flash card from a device and slide it into the reader, rather than bringing the device itself to a computer and searching for the cable needed to connect it. Early readers only handled one or two flash card formats, but many modern models are designed to read most if not all of them.

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Discuss this Article

amypollick
Post 9

@anon275981: If the computer you want to transfer the flash card information to has a card reader, then you can transfer the information to as many computers as you want. As long as you copy the flash card information and don't delete it, it will stay on the card.

You may have used a computer in the past that had a floppy disk drive. It's the same principle, except the card is so much smaller, and not nearly as prone to file corruption. Hope that clears it up, but if not, post back with your questions and I'll see if I can help.

anon275981
Post 8

Like 6770, I'm a senior also, and would like an explanation of how a flash card works. When it stores things in the memory, can you upload it to another pc?

anon180181
Post 7

I'm a bit confused with that word. There's lots of types of flash card and I'm trying to find out what is the flash card and it came up with many things. I'm trying to do my home work but I'm so confused with so many flash cards, i don't know which one is right for me to do my homework. So how come there's lots of flash cards?

anon152603
Post 6

Can I use a flash card to transfer programs from one computer to another?

anon55121
Post 5

Because i had my computer wiped I saved most of my data on memory sticks. Now I can't figure out how to get the data back into the computer. Can you help?

One of the memory sticks is a Kingston Data Traveler, the others don't have any information on them but worked the same as the Kingston one did.

josephfine
Post 4

Can u tell in which computer language we can design flash cards?

anon8719
Post 3

Software runtime error produce by code developed with MS Visual Studio C++. Software source must be replaced (patched).

drqusenberry
Post 2

I have a Toshiba satellite A 135-S4527 laptop. within the past several weeks I get this run time error. program:C\program files\toshiba\flash card TCrd main.exe

R6025

Pure virtual function call

this the the way it appears on screen, it locks the computer and I cannot shut it down. it there an solution to this problem other then disabling the flash card? would like some help with this problem if possible.

thank you

R.qusenberry

anon6770
Post 1

Thanks for explaining. I'm a senior citizen trying to keep up.

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