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Flash Drives

This explains basic information on flash drives and how to use them on both Windows and Mac.

A Flash Drive is a small self-powered drive that connects to a computer directly through a USB port.  Flash drives are both Mac and PC compatible, so you can transfer files between both Macs and PCs. They are supported on all public machines, although some flash drives require a user to install drivers before use. Flash drives can hold any type of data, including excel, jpeg, video, and text files. Flash drives are also commonly referred to as key drive, thumb drives, jump drives, USB drives and pen drives.

Copying files to a flash drive on a PC:

  1. Open My Computer and see which drives are shown. Most computers, for example, have a hard disk such as a C: drive and a few removable storage devices such as a floppy drive, a CD-ROM drive, and perhaps a zip drive.
  2. Insert the flash drive into the USB port and watch to see where the USB flash drive appears. Most will appear as removable storage, but some will instead appear as hard drives. Note the name Windows is using to refer to the flash drive ("Removable Disk (G:)," for example).
  3. Open My Documents or the location from which you want to transfer files to the flash drive. Select the files or folders you want to save to the flash drive by left-clicking on them. To select more than one, hold down the CTRL key while you click and select all of the files you wish to save.
  4. Right-click on the file(s) or folder(s) you selected, then select Send to, then select the name you saw appearing in My Computer for the flash drive ("Removable Disk (G:)," for example).
  5. When the copying is finished, do not immediately remove the flash drive from the USB port. Instead, left-click on the Remove Hardware icon located in the System Tray. A window containing a list of the USB devices will appear. Left-click on the Safely Remove Mass Storage Device line that matches your flash drive (for example, Safely Remove Mass Storage Device - Drive(G:)).
  6. When you see the following message appear in the bottom left toolbar, it is, as it says, safe to remove the flash drive from the USB port; you may close the message or ignore it, as it will close itself automatically:

Formatting a flash drive on a PC:

  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Right-click on the flash drive and choose Format.
  3. In the Format window, the capacity, file system and allocation unit size should be chosen already.
  4. You can check Quick Format, which will clean your drive quickly but not as thoroughly. A full format can take up to 10 minutes.


Copying files to a flash drive on a Mac:

  1. Insert the flash drive into the USB port.
  2. A white USB drive icon will appear on the desktop:
  3. Find the files or folders you want to copy to the flash drive. Select the files or folders you want to save to the flash drive by clicking on them. To select more than one, hold down the APPLE key while you click and select all of the files and folders you wish to save.
  4. Drag and drop the selected files/folders to the white USB flash drive icon.
  5. When you have finished copying, do not immediately remove the flash drive from the USB port. Instead, drag the white USB drive icon to the Trash Can, located on the Dock. Note: the Trash Can will change to the Eject Icon.
  6. The white USB drive icon will no longer be visible on your desktop. It is now safe to remove the flash drive from the USB port.

Formatting a Flash Drive on a Mac:

  1. Go to Go > Applications > Utilities and Open Disk Utility.
  2. Choose your drive from the left panel and then click Erase on the right.
  3. Choose Volume Format, MS-DOS File System will allow the drive to be read on Mac's and PC's and a name.
  4. Click Erase.

Notes

  • Some USB flash drives may require a driver; these models will not work in our public lab computers.
  • You should be able to take a USB flash drive back and forth between Macintosh and Windows computers; however, not all files are compatible with both platforms.