Blast from the past: originally published September 27th 2002.

The concept is so simple it makes you wonder why it wasn’t thought of before. Take flash memory and put it into a compact size, small enough to fit on a keychain. The entire unit is comprised of the cover and the DiskonKey memory module; a hard oblong plastic unit with a USB connector on one end. The picture says it all; simple, effective, easy.

Operation takes simplicity to another level. For Windows ME users forward to XP, plug the device into a USB port and it’s recognized as a removable drive. Windows 98 users require a driver to be loaded, as do Windows NT 4.0 users. That’s right, a USB driver for Windows NT is available. With sizes available from 8 MB to 512 MB, there’s one to fit your requirements and budget. Copy files to and fro; USB 1.1 and 2.0 are supported with the DiskonKey line, with speeds what you’d expect from removable media. Rated at 1 MB / second, that’s not too shabby. A small light in the unit illuminates when it’s plugged in and flashes when data is transferring. Don’t unplug it when it’s flashing and you’re safe.

I wish there was more to say about the product. M-Systems DiskonKey was the first for this media type, and offers lots of niceties on their web site, such as KeySafe password protection, NT 4.0 drivers, MyKey customization. Most will think they don’t really need this; I thought the same until a friend bought one for transferring files between work and home. Once I saw how small the unit was and realized the possibilities, I knew a purchase was looming in my future.