USB Flash Drives

A Flash Drive is a self-powered drive that connects to a computer through a USB port. It’s both Mac and PC compatible, so you can transfer files between both Macs and PCs. Flash drives can hold any type of data, including excel, jpeg, video, and text files and come with varying amounts of storage space. Flash drives are also commonly referred to as thumb drives, USB drives, USB memory sticks and pen drives.

Flash drives are meant as a way to get files to and from multiple computers. They are NOT for backups. We strongly encourage users to backup files to a portable hard drive or the cloud.

Please note that not all flash drives are the same. Some may require drivers to be installed on a computer in order for them to work. The GATCF Lab computers do not allow drivers to be installed. Therefore, not all flash drives will be compatible, unlike CD and DVD ROM disks that are fairly standard.

USB Flash drives gives you the freedom to carry all of your files in the palm of your hand and can be up to 128GB in size. Using a USB Flash drive can save data up to 10 times faster and enable you to create, copy and delete files quickly. They can hold over 180 times the capacity of a CD.

Copying files to or from a flash drive on a PC

  1. Click the File Explorer icon
    File Explorer Icon

    In the GATCF labs you will see:
    E: (Shared Area),
    D: (CD/DVD) and
    C: drive.

  2. Insert the flash drive into a USB port and watch to see where the USB flash drive appears. In the GATCF labs this will often (but not always) appear as F: drive. 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 (F:)," for example).

  3. Navigate to the location of the file(s) or folder(s) you want to copy. Select the file or folder you want to copy by left-clicking on them. To select more than one, hold down the CTRL key while you click and select all of the files or folders you wish to copy.

  4. Right-click on the files or folders you have selected and choose Copy.

  5. Navigate to the location you wish to copy the file(s) or folder(s) to

  6. Click on the Edit menu, and then select Paste.

  7. When the copying is finished, do NOT immediately remove the flash drive from the USB port. Click on the ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ icon that is located in the lower right hand corner of the screen.

  8. A dialogue box showing any attached removable devices will be displayed:

safely remove hardware

Click ‘Safely remove USB Mass Storage Device – Drive(F:)’

  1. A message should then be displayed informing you that it is safe to remove the USB Flash Device.

safely remove hardware

  1. If you instead receive a message that the device cannot be stopped at this time, check to make sure nothing is still copying from or to the drive and that no files from the drive are currently open, and then repeat steps 7 through 9 above.

Copying files to or from a flash drive on a MAC

  1. Insert the flash drive into a USB port.

  2. A white USB drive icon will appear on the desktop:

  3. Navigate to the file or folder you want to copy and select it by clicking on it. To select more than one, hold down the command key ( ) while you click on each file and folder you wish to select.

  4. Press the command key ( ) + c to copy the selected items

  5. Navigate to where you want to place the files or folders and press the command key ( ) + v to paste

  6. 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 when you begin dragging the USB drive icon.

  7. 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.