How to Open Files From a Flashdrive on a PC

By Angela Tague

Flash drives can store photos, text documents and a variety of other computer-related files. It takes just a few steps to open the portable storage device on your computer and view these files.

Step 1

Turn on your PC. Allow your computer to boot up and show the desktop screen. Double-click the "My Computer" icon. This will open a separate box, showing the contents of your computer. One of the drives listed will correspond to an available USB port where you can insert your flash drive.

Step 2

Insert the flash drive into an available USB slot on your PC. Look for a small rectangular slot on your computer’s tower. Look at the list of drives on your computer screen, and take note of which drive is for your flash drive. After you insert your flash drive, the drive name will usually change to reflect the brand of flash drive you are using or the type of device (USB flash drive).

Step 3

Double-click on the flash drive's drive. This will open a new window, showing the folders saved on your flash drive. Double-click on one of the folders to view additional folders or the files inside.

Step 4

Locate the “view” icon on the top part of the screen to change your view to “thumbnails” so you can see small images of your files. This is handy if you are opening photo files. Right-click the first file you’d like to open from your flash drive. A menu of options will appear in a small box.

Step 5

Right-click the “Open With” option on the menu. You will now see a menu of programs. Choose which program you want to use to open the file. Use a photo editing program for image files or a word processing program for text files.

Step 6

Select the desired program from the list. Your document will now be opened in the program so you can view or edit the document that was stored on your flash drive. Your files are still stored on the flash drive. They have not been copied to your computer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never remove your flash drive from your PC while it is being read. If a light is blinking on the USB port or on your flash drive in the USB slot on your PC, never insert or remove the flash drive. You may accidentally delete or scramble the contents of your flash drive.