How to Use a Memory Stick

If you don't know how to use a memory stick, you might wonder how to get the data onto this little tiny device and how to access it. Fortunately, using a memory stick is fairly simple; follow these simple steps, and you'll be moving your files around in no time.

Plug your memory stick into a USB port.
Memory sticks use USB ports to connect to your computer. Look for a USB port on the computer you want to use; they're small, flat ports with a flat piece inside that lines up with the connector in your memory stick. Plug in your memory stick.

USB connectors only fit one way, so if you can't get your memory stick to plug into the port, don't force it; turn it around and try fitting it the other way. Make sure to line up the flat piece inside of the port with the opening in your memory stick. When you plug it in, a message pops up in the lower right-hand corner of your screen acknowledging your USB storage device.

Copy files to your memory stick for storage.
If you need to put files onto your memory stick for storage or transportation, there are a couple of ways you can do it. First, you can save files directly to a memory stick by using the Save As feature in your program, then go to My Computer to browse to your memory stick. Double-click on your memory stick and click save, and your file is safely stored on your memory stick. Make sure you never store the only copy of a file on your memory stick; always have a copy of the file on the computer itself in case the stick is damaged or lost.

The other way to load files onto your memory stick is to go to the Start menu, and then browse to the folder where your files are located. Click on the file you want to load to your memory stick, and right click to bring up an action menu. From the right-click menu, go to the Send To option, and then select your memory stick from the drop-down menu. This sends a copy of the file to your memory stick.

Access files from your memory stick.
You can open files directly from your memory stick if you want to work on them. Go to the Start menu, and browse to My Computer to find your memory stick. Double-click the drive that represents your memory stick; depending on the other drives in your computer, it may be F, G or H. Memory cards for digital cameras work the same way, although you might need an adaptor to plug a digital camera card into your USB port.

Once you're in your memory stick directory, simply double-click on the file you want to use and begin your work. Remember to always save a copy of a file on a computer; if the only copy of a file is on a memory stick, you're out of luck if the memory stick is lost or damaged.

Remove the memory stick.
When you're done using your memory stick, go to the Safely Remove Hardware icon in the lower right-hand corner of your screen. This icon looks like a drive with a green arrow over it, and if you hover the mouse over the icon, it says Safely Remove Hardware. Click on this icon, and select the drive you want to remove. Press the Stop button. Your computer tells you when it's safe to remove your memory stick, and then you simply pull it out of the port.

Mac users can simply click on the memory stick's icon and drag it to the trash to eject it. Always do this with a Mac, as it's easy to corrupt the data on a memory stick by simply pulling it out of the USB port.

Newer PCs will let you simply remove the memory stick, as long as there's no data being written or read. Always make sure the memory stick isn't in use before removing it, or you could wind up with corrupt data.

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