Community College of Rhode Island

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Using a USB Flash Drive

A flash drive is a small portable memory card that plugs into a computer’s USB port and acts like a portable hard drive allowing you to store and transport files. They are small enough to be carried in a pocket, are both MAC and PC compatible, can hold any type of data, including images, video and data files and are more durable than other storage media as they do not have any internal moving parts.

USB flash drives are also called thumb drives, jump drives, pen drives, key drives, or just flash drives.

USB flash drives are currently available with up to 16 GB storage capacity, and are available in a variety of storage sizes for different needs.

Copying files located on a personal computer to a flash drive
Instructions and Screenshots
Step 1

Open My Computer from either the Desktop or from the Start menu to display the available drives such as the hard drive C:, a floppy drive and a CD-ROM drive.

image of the My Computer icon
Step 2

Insert the flash drive into the USB port and watch to see where the USB flash drive appears. Normally, it appears as a removable storage device but in some instances it can appear as a hard drive, ie: Removable Disk (G: ).

image of a flash drive
Step 3

Open My Documents or the location of the files that you want to move/copy to the flash drive. Select the files or folders that you want to save to the flash drive by left-clicking on them. To select more than one file, click on the first file and hold down the CTRL key while you click and select all the of the files you want to save.

image of selecting a file
Step 4

Right-click on the file(s) or folder(s) you selected, select Send to, and then click on the name of the flash drive that was indicated in My Computer.

image of selecting "Send to"
Step 5

When the copying is finished, do not immediately remove the flash drive from the USB port as this may corrupt the drive and individual files or completely destroy data. To properly remove the flash drive, double-click on the remove Hardware icon located in the lower left-hand corner of the System Tray.

image of the flash drive icon
Step 6

The "Safely Remove Hardware" window will open. Select the hardware device and then click on the Stop button.

image of the safely remove hardware screen
Step 7

The "Stop a Hardware device" window will open. Select the USB Flash Drive device which is usually the last device in the list and then click OK.

image of Stop a Hardware Device window
Step 8

A message will appear in the bottom left corner of the System Tray indicating that it is now to safe to remove the USB Mass Storage Device. You can now safely remove the flash drive.

image of the Safe To Remove Hardware balloon

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Last Updated: 11/6/13