Using and Backing Up Files on a USB Flash Drive

USB Flash Drive

usb closedThe USB Flash drive is a small, portable, self-powered flash memory card that plugs into a computer’s USB port and functions as an easy way to store or transfer files. There is no standard name for a flash drive, so you may see them referred to as a jump, thumb, pen or key drive, memory stick, or several other terms. Flash drive companies like Lexar, Sandisk, Kingson and PNY often select their own term for a flash drive. Flash drives are generally about 2"-long sticks and come in different colors - most PALCS jump drives are similar to the one pictured at right.


Flash drives are supported on all types of computers and allow you to hold and transfer any type of data, including pictures, videos and documents. USB Flash Drives are easy-to-use as they small enough to carry in a pocket and may have more storage capacity than a CD. They have less storage capacity than an external hard drive, but they are more durable because they do not contain any internal moving parts. Flash drives are great for transferring files from computer-to-computer.


Plugging In Your USB Flash Drive

usb open

  1. Remove the cap from the Flash drive
  2. Confirm the Flash drive is unlocked. The unlock switch is on the side of the flash drive.
  3. Plug the flash drive into a USB port on your computer and wait for Windows to detect it
    If the flash drive asks for an administrative password, please call the Help Desk at 877-PALCS-TLC for a one-time, two-minute set-up.
  4. The flash drive will appear as Removable disk in your menu options. You can also find it by clicking on "Computer" on the desktop and selecting "Removable Storage".


Saving Data

Using Windows Explorer

You can drag and drop documents and files to your flash drive, or you can copy/paste. To copy/paste:

  1. Find the file or folder you want to save (usually in My Documents,) right-click on the file you want and click Copy
  2. Go to Computer on the desktop and find your Flash Drive under Removable Storage. It may show up as Kingston, depending on the brand. Right-click on the removable disk and then click Paste.
  3. Your file/folder is now saved on the flash drive

You can save files from a flash drive to your computer in reverse order - copy documents from the flash drive and paste them into the My Documents folder.


Using Other programs such as LibreOffice Writer:

  1. Click on File
  2. Click Save As and the Save As window will appear
  3. Select the drop down and choose the removable disk
  4. Then click Save


If you get an error message, Cannot copy file. The disk is write-protected. Remove the write-protection, then you need to unlock the flash drive by sliding the small button on the side of the stick down to the unlock position.



Removing the Flash Drive

Method 1:

  1. Click on the Safely Remove Hardware icon. (This icon looks like a green arrow and is found in the notification area on the lower right hand corner of the desktop).
  2. Click on the USB mass storage device and click Stop. This will allow you to remove the memory stick without loosing data.
  3. Click OK
  4. You should now see a Safe To Remove Hardware window at the lower right of your screen. You can now remove the memory stick out of the USB port.

Method 2:

  1. Double clickComputer on the desktop
  2. Right-click your flash drive listed under Removable Storageand click Eject.
  3. You should now see a Safe To Remove Hardware window at the lower right of your screen. You can now remove the memory stick out of the USB port.


If the Flash Drive's LED light is still flashing (means there is activity between the drive and the computer) or when you are finished saving files on the memory stick you must disconnect the Memory stick correctly - otherwise you may lose data.


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