USB Flash Drives


USB Flash drives are small, lightweight, portable, data storage devices similar to floppy disks or CD-ROMs in function.  They offer several advantages over disks and CDs.  They are more reliable, hold several times more data, faster, and more compact.  Even a low capacity flash drive can hold dozens of floppy disks worth of data.



Using a USB Flash Drive

Step 1) Insert your USB flash drive into one of the computer's USB ports.

Where are the USB ports?  On newer model computers the USB ports are usually located on the front of the tower (sometimes hidden).  Older computers tend to have the USB ports on the back of the tower and laptops typically have them on the sides.

Step 2) Wait for the computer to recognize your flash drive.

Note - Some flash drives require software drivers in order to operate. Most computers will automatically find and install the necessary software.  However, some may require you to work through a "Setup Wizard" before you can use your flash drive. Work through the setup wizard by choosing "Next" and "Continue Anyway" as many times as necessary.  If for some reason the computer will not recognize your flash drive restart the computer with your flash drive in the port.



Step 3) In most cases, an Options Window will automatically open.  Choose "Open folder to view files" then click "Ok".

Note - Sometimes the computer will not recognize your flash drive because the assigned drive letter is already in use.  Each drive on a computer is labeled with a letter (C:, D:, E:, etc).  Many computers will automatically assign the flash drive to F:, however if the computer already has a drive assigned to that letter an error will occur.  To remedy this you must "disconnect" the current drive that is assigned F: freeing up the letter so that the computer can give it to your flash drive.  To disconnect a drive open "My Computer" and right-click on the F: drive and choose "disconnect"

Step 4) You will now see what files are stored on your flash drive.


Step 5) Select the file you wish to open.


Saving data on your USB Flash Drive

Step 1) Saving data to your flash drive is virtually identical to saving data to a floppy disk. Click "File" (typically found in the upper left hand corner of the screen in most programs).  Then choose "Save As" from the list of available commands.

Step 2) Select your flash drive from the drop down menu.  Flash drives appear with various names including "Removable Disk", "TravelDrive", or "JumpDrive".  Their drive letters also vary although they usually appear as the E: or F: drive.

Step 3) Once the flash drive is selected title your document in the "File Name" field and click the "Save" button.


Removing your USB Flash Drive

You should NOT remove your flash drive until the computer tells you that it is safe to do so.  Simply pulling the flash drive out of the USB port can damage it or the data that it contains.

Step 1) Look for the flash drive icon in the lower right hand corner of the screen, near the clock.  This icon allows you to "Safely Remove Hardware".


Step 2) Double-click the icon and the following panel should appear. Click the "Stop" button.


Step 3) Highlight where it says "USB Mass Storage Device" then click "Ok".  A message should appear informing you that is now "safe" to remove your flash drive.

Step 4) You may now remove your flash drive.


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