Hi, I just bought a new USB flash drive. I have been working on PCs for years but until now I have never really had a USB drive. My question is: how resistant are USB drives to ESD damage from static electricity? Do I need to worry about grounding myself everytime I pick it up?
And secondly, if I were to 'zap' my USB flash drive with static electricity somehow, how would I test to see if it is still working? Is it sufficient to just plug the drive in to the PC, format it, and make sure I can write/read to it?
That depends on the drive, but generally it's not a good idea to shock it ^_^. Some models are marketed solely on their resiliency. You should check out the wikipedia entry to get a general idea of the parts inside
Generally, the smaller a process used to make the components the more sensitive they are. If anything I'd say you're likely to break the controller in which case it may still be possible to access the data on the flash chips providing you are skilled and patient enough.