USB flash drive


A USB flash drive, also called thumb drive or USB key, is a storage medium for data such as Microsoft Word documents, pictures, music, etc.

How to Use

They plug into the USB port of any computer and act as a small flash-based hard drive that you can copy and save files to. The flash drive should become visible on the desktop of the computer or open automatically. Click on the flash drive to access it.


They come in various sizes all the way from 16 megabytes to 1 terabyte in the consumer market.

Other names

  • thumb drive
  • pen drive
  • flash drive
  • USB key
  • flash stick

How to format a flash drive

It is necessary to format a flash drive when the computer tells you it is unreadable. To restore it to working condition, you will need to format it. Also you may want to format it to delete the entire contents of the flash drive and start fresh.



  1. Open Disk Utility (Applications-->Utilities-->Disk Utility)
  2. Insert the flash drive into your USB port.
  3. On the left-hand side pane of Disk Utility, your flash drive should appear.
  4. Click it once to select it.
  5. On the right-hand side, find the the Erase menu, click it once.
  6. Choose MS-DOS File System.
  7. Rename the flash drive.
  8. Click the Erase button.
  9. Click Erase


  1. Insert flash drive into the USB port.
  2. Right-click the flash drive and select Format. If you cannot see your flash drive while using a Windows computer, try using a Mac and following the Mac OSX instructions.
  3. Rename the flash drive, leave the rest of the settings as is.
  4. Click Start.
  5. Click OK, if you are sure you wish to erase all data.