The History of the USB Stick

It may be extremely hard for many people to remember what life was like in the era of technology before custom USB flash drives were made available.  USB storage seemed to drastically change the world of digital storage overall in a way that could never be reversed and has continued to become more and more popular over time.  Where did these little custom USB flash drives come from?  Here is the basic history of the USB stick.

The Days before the USB Stick 

Before the USB storage drive was created, it was nearly impossible to transfer a large amount of data from one place to another.  It just became commonplace to unplug entire desktops and take them with you if you needed to transport data from one location to the next, because there was no other feasible option available.  Floppy disks were being used quite frequently to transport data, but even the highest quality floppy disks available could only hold 1.44 MB of data at a time.  

The Introduction of the USB Standard 

The year of 1995 created a rippling effect within the world of technology, because that was the year when the USB 1.0 was created through a collaborative effort between such companies as Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Compaq.  Their common goal was to standardize all of the different connectors that personal computers had at that time in order to create one, simple connection protocol that could be used on all systems.

The first product was released one year later and became widely available two years after that.  When the USB 2.0 was released in the year 2000, the portability and convenience of the USB drive became even more efficient because it now featured a data-transfer speed that was much faster.

The Rest Was History 

Since the USB 2.0 was now featured on all desktop computers and laptops, the next step was to develop portable storage devices that could run simply off of these connectors.  Several different companies came up with different designs of their own “thumb drives”, which of course led to extensive legal battles over patents.


However, the foundation for the future success and longevity of these portable storage devices had already been constructed and solidified.  After the first 1GB USB flash drive was released in 2004, it was clear that these USB sticks were not going anywhere and would only continue to thrive as they became more and more popular over time.

This article has been contributed by Alan Dhillon who buys his usb memory sticks from