How long will data stay valid for on a USB drive ?
Memory cards and USB drives are NOT designed for long term storage. You should always backup your data on to another device. The data will normally stay valid for a period of up to 10 years if stored under normal conditions. The data cells inside carry a charge which can dissipate over time. The data can be refreshed; copy all data off card and then format the card or USB drive and then restore all data to extend the data for another 10 years.
Life Expectancy of a USB Flash Drive
USB flash drives are great to use for storing digital files and are replacing CDs & DVDs as the preferred storage media of choice.
The advantages of flash drives is that they are portable, durable, and have incredible storage capacity (ranges from 64MB to 256GB as of 2010). Furthermore, they are able to retain the memory even after the power is turned off. But does the memory last forever though? Should you use them to store important documents and files? How long do they last?
If you simply write data to a USB flash drive and put it away in a safe place for 10 years, it will work again and all the data will still be there, but, if you continue to use it over and over again, it will eventually wear out.