Flash drives are small, portable data storage devices that plug into a computer's USB port. These devices can hold as much as 32GB of information. At their largest, they are only the size of a pack of gum. Some flash drives offer their own security in the form of built-in encryption. A few offer fingerprint authentication for times when securing information is of the utmost importance. There are also flash drives that are water-resistant and shockproof, for those who tend to be a little rough with their equipment. Flash drives are sometimes called USB drives, thumb drives or jump drives.
Boot up your computer and find an open USB port. These are small, rectangular ports typically on the sides or backs of laptop computers, or on the fronts or backs of desktop towers.
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Plug your flash drive into the USB port. The drive will slide in only if it is turned in the right direction, so if you have trouble inserting it, turn it over.
Make sure your computer sees the flash drive. It should launch a menu, letting you know that it has found a new storage device. You can choose an option from the menu or close the menu if you don't need to immediately access the flash drive.
Install the flash drive's driver if your computer doesn't recognize the flash drive. The flash drive's packaging should include the manufacturer's website address. Open your Internet browser, go to that address, and download the flash drive's driver from the site. Install the driver on your computer. After that, your computer should be able to recognize your drive.