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Guide to USB Drives


What is a USB Drive?
USB Drives are drives connect to a Universal Serial Bus connector that is located on the back or front of the computer so that it can act like a very large Floppy Disk.

How much does a USB Key hold?
The size of a drive is measured in megabytes or gigabytes. A single floppy disk is slightly over 1 megabyte. So a single 256 megabyte USB drive is about 250 floppy disks.

Why should people use USB drives?
USB drives are affordable, durable, portable, easy to use and can hold a lot of files. They are superior to floppy disks in almost every way.

Where to connect a USB drive into the computer.
USB connectors on a computer look like little rectangles. They are located on the front or back of a computer. On laptops they are often on the sides.

How to access an USB drive.

Once connected a USB functions like a floppy disk; the drive is assigned a drive letter and files can be used on it. In order to open up the USB drive use the mouse to click on Start Menu > My Computer. From "My Computer" the USB drive will have a drive letter similar to the example below. Just double click the left mouse button and your in.

(Note: USB Secure drives may give an error message. Click here for details.)

Why do "secure" USB drives give an error message when inserting or using them?
"Secure" USB drives have special programming built-in that allows user to encrypt the data stored on them. This encryption is password protected so if someone steals the USB drive they cannot access the data without the password.

Since Windows does not support encrypted drives, the drive will try and install software on the computer to support encryption. That's the reason for the error.

However, un-encrypted "secure" drives can be used if using an USB drive by right clicking on the key and select "Open" on the menu.

Another way is to ignore using "My Computer" all-together. Access the documents on the USB drive from Microsoft Word or other applications. This will often bypass the software installer.

It is also possible able to permanently disable the software installer. Just follow the directions below.

1. Open up the USB drive in "My Computer"

2. Find the file named autorun.inf or autorun.

3. Right click on the file and choose Rename.

4. Rename autorun to autorun_.

Many USB drives will work using these tricks but some may require more assistance to get them working properly. Please contact the Helpdesk at 2742 if further assistance is needed.

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