How to Use a Flash Drive to Store Data

by David Lipscomb

USB flash drives are cost-effective and convenient ways to store data in a portable fashion. Programs and personal data such as pictures, music and presentations are saved to flash drives to carry between locations. Before you begin transferring data to a new flash drive, you need to format it for NTFS.

Formatting

Click on the Start button. Click on "Computer."

Plug your USB flash drive into an open USB port on your machine. Wait a few seconds for Windows to recognize the drive. It will appear among your other listed drives.

Right-click on the new drive icon. Scroll down and click "Format."

Choose "NTFS" from the resulting list. Click the "Quick Format" box to speed up the process.

File Transfer

Locate the file you want to transfer onto your USB drive. Access the file directly if you know where it is or look for a keyword or filename in the "Search" bar after clicking the Start button.

Right-click on the filename. Choose "Copy" to send a duplicate to the drive. Choose "Cut" to remove it from the host machine entirely and send it to the flash drive.

Right-click on the USB flash drive icon in the "Computer" pane. Choose "Paste" to begin the transfer to the flash drive.

Right-click on the flash drive when the transfer is complete. Choose "Safely Remove Hardware" to eject the drive without compromising data. Wait for the window to inform you it's OK to pull out the drive.

Tip

  • You can save a bootable copy of Windows on a flash drive in case your hard drive crashes.

Warning

  • Although convenient, USB flash drives are easily lost. Do not store irreplaceable files on these drives.

About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

Photo Credits

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