How To Copy And Paste Files To A USB Memory Stick

USB memory sticks (also known as flash drives or thumb drives) are handy little storage devices that make transferring files between computers very easy. Beginning computer users may not know how to use a USB memory stick, however, so this guide is for you to share with them.

The video above will show you how to copy files to and from the memory stick. Here are the step-by-step instructions as well:

  1. First, insert the USB memory stick into an available USB port.
  2. On Windows, this will bring up a window showing the memory stick is now seen as a drive on your computer (e.g. "Removable Disk" E: drive). You'll also get a menu of options for using the device. Select "Open folder to view files" at the bottom.

    Alternatively on Windows, you can also get to the drive by going to your Computer (or My Computer) folder and finding the new drive letter there. This is also similar to how you would find the drive on Mac: open up a Finder window and look for the new mounted drive under "Devices".

  3. To copy files from the USB memory stick, select your files and drag them to your desktop or, for better organisation, a folder in Windows Explorer (or Finder on Mac).
  4. To copy files to the USB memory stick, drag them from the Windows Explorer folder to the mapped drive.
  5. When you're done, right-click on the drive and select "Eject" so you can safely remove the drive.


  • On Windows, if it's the first time you're using the memory stick, the computer will say it's installing the hardware. You can open up the drive by going to your Computer folder.
  • See our guide to how to copy, cut and paste for beginners for other methods besides dragging and dropping.

Since all computers have USB ports, this is a great way to copy files between computers, have essential files with you at all times, and share files with others.


    I understand that some people might need this level of help, but I seriously doubt that any Lifehacker readers do. What's next, "How to ALT TAB"?

      As the post clearly explains, it's aimed at beginners. No-one forced you to read it!

        But Lifehacker isn't a site for PC beginners. I come here expecting information and articles aimed at a particular demographic, and the vast majority of the time I get that.

        But I am noticing lately that more and more absolute beginner posts are being made. Is this perhaps an opportunity for a new Gawker site aimed at beginners, rather than diluting the the current Lifehacker content? There is definitely a place for this type of info, I just don't know that Lifehacker is the place.

          LH is a site for tech savvy people. But we all get requests from PC beginners (for me its usually elderly people).

          This Vid/guide provides me a easy link to give to people that asks me this question. and as its a vid, i dont have to demonstrate it to them over and over again.

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