USB drives are used to store information to carry to another computer. Those of you who used personal computers in the eighties and nineties will remember information was stored on floppy disks (5 ¼ and 3 ½ inch size) which allowed us to carry to another machine. USB drives can store hundreds or thousands of what was stored on a floppy disk.
The drives plug into the USB port on the computer, which is why they are often called USB drives, although large external drives plug in the same way. The drives do not have a disk drive in them but have flash memory. The computer can write the information to the flash memory similar to hard drives but there are no moving parts. The information can be accessed quicker in flash memory. This is also how digital cameras store their pictures.
Originally USB drives were 128 megabytes and 256 megabytes in size. As technology improved you most commonly see storage on them of four or eight gigabytes. You can get them with 32 or 64 gigabytes and larger, but the price goes thru the ceiling.
Most of today’s computers have USB ports on the front and back. The computer recognizes the drive and then Windows treats it like it is another hard drive. You can write files on it, delete files and edit them just like files on the hard drive (commonly called c drive). Users should click on a little icon in the task bar (if you hover over it with the mouse it shows that it is used to safely remove media) and choose the drive and choose to eject it if you want to remove it, before physically removing it. If you just pull out the USB drive, information that was being written to it may not be finished and you could lose the information.
Thanks Clay for the question.
Send your questions to Dwight Watt at firstname.lastname@example.org. He teaches at a technical college in northwest Georgia and does consulting work for businesses and individuals. His website is www.dwightwatt.com.