How to Copy Files from a Unix Computer to a USB Flash Drive

Written by nathan mcginty
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How to Copy Files from a Unix Computer to a USB Flash Drive
You can copy files from a Unix computer to USB flash drive. (usb 3 image by Bosko Martinovic from

The Unix operating system is the backbone of the Internet. First developed by AT&T in the 1960s, Unix has spread throughout the world. The increasing popularity of the Linux variant of Unix, which uses identical commands, has also helped to increase the Unix profile. The Unix operating system is flexible and has kept up with the times. It's possible, for example, to copy files from a Unix computer to a USB flash drive without too much trouble. This process is even easier if you have a graphical operating sytem.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Log in to the Unix computer as the system administrator.

  2. 2

    Plug the USB drive into the computer. Many newer Unix operating systems will come with support for USB devices already built into the software. This is especially true on Unix systems running Xwindows or other graphical interfaces. If the USB drive shows up on your desktop, that means it's configured and ready to go.

  3. 3

    Create a mount point for the USB drive if it is not automatically recognised by the system. Open up a terminal window. Type the command "mount /dev/sda1 /mnt" at the prompt.

  4. 4

    Create a subdirectory for the USB stick. Change to the "/mnt" subdirectory and create a directory for the USB stick with the following commands:

    cd /mnt

    mkdir /usbstick

  5. 5

    Move the files you want to copy from your computer to the USB stick. In the terminal window, type "cp /path/to/your/files /mnt/usbstick". On a Unix system with a graphical interface, you can also do this by dragging and dropping.

Tips and warnings

  • Use caution when logged into your system with the Administrator (or Root) account. If you type in the wrong command, you could harm your system.

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