How to use a flash drive in Windows 10

A flash drive, also known as USB memory, is a data storage device. They are small, portable and can connect with any computer or device that has a USB port. The units earn their name by the use of NAND and NOR flash chips. The NAND flash memory can store any type of file you save there.

The amount of available storage differs between devices. The lowest capacity you will normally find is 16 GB. At the top end, flash drives with 1TB are offered, but they cost more than 150 USD.

How to use a flash drive

First we will see the process of how to use a USB memory, then we will talk about other aspects of the use, such as changing the name and formatting.

How to connect a USB flash drive to Windows 10

Any computer running the Windows 10 operating system (laptop or desktop PC) will have at least one USB port. Some machines can have up to six or eight ports. These ports will generally be located on the side of the laptop and on the front or back of a desk case.

If all your ports are already in use, you must disconnect one of their devices. Don't worry, as you can reinsert it as soon as you have finished using your USB drive.

You can connect your unit when the computer is on or off. Gently push the unit into the port until it is fully inserted.

Choose an action

Assuming you have connected the flash drive when your computer is running, and you have not customized the AutoPlay settings, Windows will send you a notification that the unit has been connected.

You can click on the notification to select what action Windows should take, when it detects that a drive has been connected later. For a basic flash drive, you can choose not to take any action or open the drive in File Explorer.

If you don't make a selection, Windows will keep asking you every time you reconnect the drive.

You can modify your original selection in the Windows 10 Settings application. Open the Start menu and go to Settings. Then, to Devices and finally, to AutoPlay.

You can disable automatic playback for all new devices using the icon at the top of the window. Or you can make a unique selection for each removable drive, memory card and any other device you have connected long ago.

How to use a USB flash drive

It is very likely that you want to use your flash drive to move files between devices. Remember that you can also use a flash drive with devices such as Android TV boxes, printers and audio speakers.

To view the files on your drive, start File Explorer. There should be a shortcut for it in your taskbar. If there isn't, run a Cortana search by opening the Start menu and typing "file explorer."

In the File Explorer application, select your flash drive from the list of locations in the left pane.

From here, you can drag and drop files between your memory card and your PC. The unit will also be displayed as a destination in the Save As window in applications.

All files that you delete from your USB flash drive will be permanently deleted; They won't end up in the Recycle Bin, so be careful. There are ways to try to recover lost data, but success is far from certain.

How to eject a USB drive in Windows 10

When you have finished using your USB drive, you must disconnect it from your computer the right way.

If you remove the device directly from the port without following the procedures, you run the risk of corrupting the unit's data. So it can be unrecoverable.

You can choose from a couple of different ways to safely eject a flash drive. The most common approach is to click on the small arrow on the right side of the taskbar, select the USB icon and choose Eject from the pop-up menu.

Alternatively, return to the File Explorer application, right-click on your flash drive in the left pane and select "Eject" from the list of options.

How to change the name of a USB drive

You can give the flash drive a custom name. The name is stored on the device itself, so it will be consistent on any other machine on which you use that unit.

To change the name of this unit, connect it to your PC and open File Explorer. Then, right click on the USB icon and select "Rename".

How to format a flash drive

You can erase all data from a flash drive using the Windows 10 format tool. It is useful if your device stores confidential information or if you plan to sell it.

To format a flash drive in Windows, once again you need to connect the device to your computer. Go to File Explorer and right click on the USB drive in the left panel. From the context menu, click on "Format".

There are several formatting options available. Depending on your device, you can change the file system, the size of the allocation unit and the name. In almost all cases, the default setting is the most appropriate.

Also, you can choose between a quick format and a full format. The full format takes much longer, but it does a more complete job of deleting traces of old data.

Are flash drives safe?

In its basic state, the answer is a resounding no. If you leave your flash drive out there and someone else sees it, there is nothing that prevents them from accessing its content. There have been numerous high profile people who have lost sensitive USB sticks, so you must be very careful.