Flash drives are cheap these days — around $15 for16 gigabytes — which is a lot of storage. We tend to back up everything on them. But what if something goes wrong with that drive and it just doesn’t “flash” anymore, so to speak? We better have it backed up somewhere else.

The obvious way to go is to drag and drop files from one drive to another using Windows Explorer, (“File Explorer” in Windows 8). Or you can upload the files to your private storage space on the Internet usingGoogle Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, and any of several other services.

But this is slow going if you have a lot of files to copy. A $212 hardware alternative is Startech’s “Flash Drive Duplicator.” We think it’s over-priced but it’s lightning fast. Plug three drives into the duplicator and everything on the first drive is copied on to the second and third in seconds. What we didn’t know when we tried it recently, is that everything on the second or third drive got wiped out. So be sure you copy your stuff onto an empty drive. This is basically an extension of disk duplicating devices, which have been around for many years.

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