USB flash drives, also called thumb drives or jump drives, are portable devices used to store information such as documents, music and video files or photos. You can use them to transfer data from one computer to another or to back up files from your hard drive in case you experience a computer crash. Any modern Windows-based computer can send files to a USB drive. Mac computers can also save information to USB drives, although the process is slightly different.
Insert the USB flash drive into any compatible USB port on your computer. Your computer will ask what you want to do with the device once the system recognizes the new hardware. Select "View Files and Folders" or the similarly worded option your operating system offers.
Open the Windows Explorer folder containing the documents you want to send to the USB flash drive. If this is a folder on your desktop, simply double-click the desktop icon. If you want to send documents, movie files or photos to the USB drive, use Windows Explorer to search for the folder or document name.
Click once on the document or folder you want to transfer. If you want to transfer multiple folders, click on the first folder, then hold down the "Ctrl" key as you click on each of the other folders you want to transfer.
Hold the "Ctrl" key and press "C" to copy the folders.
Click in the window showing the files and folders on your USB drive. If your USB drive is blank, this may be a blank window with the title "USB Mass Storage Device" or a drive letter such as "E:" that identifies the drive.
Hold the "Ctrl" key and press "V." This will paste a copy of each file you selected onto the USB drive.
Close the window when the files are finished copying, then eject the drive properly by right-clicking its icon in the taskbar at the bottom right corner of your screen. Select "Eject." The computer will tell you when it is safe to remove the drive.
For Mac users, the easiest way to transfer files to a USB drive is to save the files in a single folder on your desktop. Simply insert the USB device and drag the folder over to the USB drive icon.