How to Save Pictures to a USB Memory Stick

By Todd Bowerman

USB memory sticks give you a convenient way to move files from one machine to another or to take your data on the go. Additionally, they provide a simple solution for backing up important projects; saving pictures to a USB stick as well as to your network or local hard drive ensures those pictures survive any minor computer disasters. You can save images to a USB stick either directly or through drag-and-drop functionality.

Save Directly to USB

Step 1

Connect your USB drive to an empty USB port on your computer. The device may take a few moments to initialize or install drivers; check the Computer entry in Windows Explorer ("Windows Key-E") or the Devices entry in Finder ("Apple Key-F") to verify that the drive is showing up and ready to use.

Step 2

Click “File” and then “Save As” in your photo application or image editor. In the Save As dialog box, select the USB drive as the save destination. You may need to click "Computer" to see a list of active drives on your computer.

Step 3

Click “OK” to save the file directly to the USB drive. If you choose the basic “Save” option after selecting the USB drive as the save destination, the file will automatically update on the USB drive.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always use the “Safely Remove Hardware” option when removing a USB drive from a Windows computer. This option ensures that the device is done writing and helps prevent file corruption.
  • The best course of action for protecting important files is redundant backups. Keeping a copy on a local drive, network drive, external hard drive, and USB drive will ensure there’s always a way to recover work should something go wrong.
  • To move a saved image file from your desktop or another folder onto the USB drive, open Windows Explorer ("Windows Key-E") or the Mac Finder "(Apple Key-F"). Click and drag the image file from its current location directly to the USB drive. Once the transfer completes, the image will be available on the flash drive.
  • Information in this article applies to Windows 8 and OS X Mavericks. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.
  • Do not edit a file directly on the USB drive; instead, copy and paste it to your desktop or another folder and work with the file from there. Copy only final file versions to the USB drive to prevent accidental corruption.