How to Use a Memory Stick on a Computer

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Computers are amazing technology tools, but they are not always reliable. They can crash, freeze or contract viruses. Important data can easily get corrupted or destroyed. This is why it is always a good idea to back up important files. Memory sticks can be used to accomplish this.

They're affordable, portable, and fairly easy to use. As long as your computer has an open USB port, you can make use of these devices.

Locate the USB (universal serial bus) ports on the side of your laptop or on the back or front of your desktop computer. USB ports are small rectangular outlets and are often used to connect printers, mice, keyboards and other peripherals. Many computers have multiple ports and any can be used with a USB memory stick.

Remove the cap from the memory stick if it has one and plug the stick into an open USB port. If this is the first time using the memory stick with your computer, a message may pop up stating that the computer is "finding new hardware." This means that it is installing the software needed to run the stick. Be patient while it does so. If this is not the first time, a message may pop up in the lower right-hand corner of the screen tray stating that the computer "found new hardware."

Find the "My Computer" icon on your screen and double click it.

Locate the new drive letter assigned to your memory stick and double-click on the "Removable Disk" icon. When the next window opens, the files on your memory stick will appear in a folder.

To copy a file onto your computer from the stick, simply hold your mouse on the file name and drag it onto your desktop or to the folder you want it to be in.

To copy files from your computer onto the memory stick, go to the file and right-click it. Then click "Copy," Return to the "Removable Disk" folder and right-click on an open area and then click "Paste." The file will now be copied to the memory stick.

To remove the memory stick from your computer, find the small icon on the bottom right corner of the screen in your Windows tool bar that looks like a green arrow pointing diagonally. When you highlight this icon, a message will pop up stating, "Safely remove hardware." Click on the icon. Another message will pop when it is safe to remove the hardware. Click "OK."

Pull the memory stick out of your computer and put the cap back on if it has one.