Although there are several different options for external storage and transfer of your data, USB flash drives have several distinct advantages. Unlike optical media such as CD ROMs and DVDs, USB drives can't be scratched, are resistant to breakage and are capable of holding much more data. Another advantage of USB flash drives is that they are very easy to install and use on operating systems such as Windows.
Choose a USB flash drive that meets your needs. They are available in a variety of form factors and storage capacities, so they range in size from just a few megabytes to 8GB and even larger.
Close any programs that may be running on your computer. Although unlikely, it's possible that open programs may cause a conflict with the installation of the flash drive and cause it to malfunction.
Insert the USB flash drive into any available USB port on your computer. If you are unsure what the USB ports look like, consult your computer's documentation.
Once the drive is inserted, the Windows operating system will take over and display several dialog boxes letting you know that the drive has been identified and is being installed automatically.
Find the newly installed drive in the "My Computer" window. It will be assigned the next letter in the alphabet after any internal hard drives and optical media drives already installed; most commonly it will be (E:). The USB flash drive is now ready to use.
- Before removing the USB drive, click on the green arrow icon in the system tray on the bottom right hand of your screen. This will bring up a dialog box that will allow you to safely stop the drive, which will prevent any corruption of the data on it.