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32MB M-Systems DiskOnKey USB Micro Hard Drive Review

Price: $79


Transferring files between computers and locations has always been a challenge. Back in the days if your computers were not networked, and the files would not fit on floppies, you were pretty much out of luck. Ofcourse you could burn the files on CD, but taking up only half or less than half of the cd space would be a real waste. You could do what I do, try and find some old floppies, format them, and put a file on each floppy which takes forever to do.. Or you could eliminate the floppies and headache and buy a DiskOnKey.


    Power supply USB Bus-powered (low-power device)No external power required; No batteries needed
    Power Consumption Standby: 30µ (Typ) 500µ (Max)Read/Write: 80mA (Typ) 95 mA (Max)
    Performance(read/write) 12 MBits/sec
    READ/WRITE PROTECT via software
    Supported Operating Systems Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows ME, MacOS 9.0 & higher, Linux 2.4.0
    STORAGE Capacity 8, 16, 32, 64 and 128 Mbyte
    LED indication LED beating slowly: DiskOnKey connected and inactive LED in fast flashing mode: Transmitting/receiving data LED off: low power suspend mode
    Operating temperature 32° F to 113 ° F (0 °C to +45 °C)
    Storage temperature -4° F to 140° F(-20 °C to +60 °C)
    Environmental conditions Relative humidity during operation(Non-condensing): 10% to 90%Relative humidity during storage: 5% to 90%. Maximum wet bulb temperature: +38.7 °C (101.6 °F)
    Vibration Operating: 0.5 G, 10 to 500 Hz, 0.5 Oct/Min sweep rate. Non-operating: 1.0 G, 10 to 500 Hz, 0.5 Oct/Min sweep rate
    Shock Operating: 10 G, 11 ms, half-sine. Non-operating: 60 G, 11 ms, half-sine
    Dimensions Length: uncapped - 85.5 mm; capped - 98.5 mm Width: 15 mm
    Maximum Altitude Operating: 3,048 m (0 to 10,000 ft.) (14.7 to 10.1 PSIA) Non-operating: 9,144 m (0 to 30,000 ft.) (14.7 to 4.4 PSIA)
    Reliability and Service 1,000,000 Read/Write Operations 1 year full warranty
    Certifications FCC, CE, ICES, VCCI, C-Tick, MIC, BSMI USB certification Microsoft WHQL testing (WIN 98 driver)

The Product

DiskOnKey is a pen-sized device hard drive that goes on your keychain or clips on your shirt pocket. How much data can these micro hard drives hold? Well, the one that I am reviewing is the 32MB model. They also come in the following sizes: 8, 16, 32, 64 and 128 Mbyte. The company that makes these (M-Systems) is currently making a 256MB and 512MB models and they should be out sometime next year. M-Systems has not marketed these to just one type of industry. They instead, market the DiskOnKey to everyone. It's very handy at the office to transfer files to and fromhome, or from your home computer to your laptop. That's what I use it for :)
Got a school report you're working on at home that has lots of pictures and it's too big for a floppy and too small for a cd? Well you could store it on your DiskOnKey and take it to school, and then work on your report or project there.


DiskOnKey is a plug-and-play device, meaning you plug it in, and it works without having to install any drivers. All I did was plug it into one of my USB ports in the back of my computer, then Windows XP detected the device without asking for drivers.

Now, I was able to browse from "My Computer" to the DiskOnKey. Windows will automatically assign the DiskOnKey a drive letter, in my case it was called Drive F:

Documentation states that no software is required for Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows XP, Linux 2.40, or MacOS 8.6 and up. Windows 98 had seemed to be left off the list, so I decided I would try it out on my Windows 98 box that I had. Once I plugged the device in, Windows 98 asked for drivers. What do you know.. So I surfed on over to the DiskOnKey website and downloaded the Windows 98 drivers and then installed them. Windows then detected the device and it installed the drivers, without any problems.


When I was transfering my MP3's to the DiskOnKey I could tell that it was ALOT faster than a floppy. So, to test the device and the transfer speeds, I ran a SiSoft Sandra hard drive benchmark test and here are the results:

As you can clearly see, the DiskOnKey is indeed ALOT faster than a floppy.


The DiskOnKey is a great piece of portable storage technology. Not only is it small, attractive in design, it transfers data very quickly and is effortless to install. The looks and quick speeds do come with a price though, at $79 for the 32MB model I reviewed, might put a hole on your pocket. The MSRP for the 8MB-$29, 16MB-$49, 32MB-$79, 64MB-$99, and $149 for the 128MB model. Next year when they release the 256MB and 512MB models the price of these older models might go down some.


  • Sleek and attractive
  • Fast transfer speeds
  • Small size and portable

  • No security (No password protection ect..)
  • Slightly expensive

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