A flash memory drive (a.k.a. thumb drive or USB drive) consists of a chip of memory (flash) mounted in a plastic case with a USB interface on one end (see the illustration for some examples). With Windows Me, 2000, XP and Macintosh computers, flash memory drives automatically get recognized as another storage drive on your computer. No installation CD’s, no formatting, just fast, safe removable storage.
In addition to their instant recognition and portability, flash drives offer the BEST way to backup day-to-day information like financial data, address books, genealogy, word processing documents, and spreadsheet documents.
Two other great advantages of flash drives are their speed and durability. You can copy 200 megabytes worth of data (literally thousands of word processing documents), in less than a minute! And because there are NO moving parts, the memory is quite stable and long lasting.
To use a flash memory drive, follow these steps:
1. Insert the drive into a USB port on your computer.
2. Wait approximately a minute (first time only) for the computer to recognize and install the device (Windows 98 need to install a driver)
3. Double-Click your My Computer icon to verify that another drive shows up (usually the first letter after your CD-ROM
4. In Windows XP, you can now RIGHT click on any folder or file and then Click Send To —> Removable Drive. This will instantly make a copy of the document or folder on your flash drive.
5. In Windows Me or 2000, you can copy and paste a folder or file to the flash drive or open the flash drive in a new window and drag your files to it
6. If you use a financial program, simply use the program’s built-in backup function and have it back up to your flash drive
7. To delete information from a flash memory drive, open up its icon in My Computer, then click on the file or folder you want to delete, and push DELETE on your keyboard
For the mobile professional or the computer user who wants to have a quick, handy backup of important data, flash drives make the best sense. You don’t, however, want to use flash drives for storing information like pictures or music since CD’s can store this type of information at a much lower cost/megabyte than flash drives.