Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

How To Use A USB Thumb Drive

A USB thumb drive is, believe it or not, very easy to use. It's not hard for any computer user to figure it out and if you're really interested in purchasing one, you shouldn't put it off any longer, because the setup really isn't that bad. I know it may sound confusing if you're not used to some of this new technology, but if you buy one, you'll be up to par in no time.

If you have Windows XP or 2000, the setup couldn't be easier. All you do is plug the thumb drive that you get into one of your USB ports on your computer. XP automatically recognizes the new hardware and you can start moving files to your new external file saver (the thumb drive). You don't even have to worry about connecting to a drive if you have XP or 2000, because it is driverless, so you can just plug it in and play.

If you have Windows 98 or ME, the setup is a little different, but again, it's not too difficult. Just plug the thumb drive into one of your USB ports and Windows will detect that you have placed new hardware into your system. It will give you a message like "New USB storage device." Once this comes up, just click on the Next button.

Now, Windows will ask you were the driver is for the new hardware, so you just have to click on the Browse button and locate the drive that your computer selected. External drives like these usually choose the E: drive, because it is a removable disk drive. Once you find the driver, click the Next button again. Now you can go back and double click on your My Computer icon and find the E: drive. Double click on that and you can then start to move files onto the thumb drive.

For those who have some vision, the thumb drive will have what is called a LED indication light. When it is lit, it means that your computer is still recognizing the thumb drive. When it is flashing, your computer is reading data or is copying the data you have sent. When it is done, it will stop flashing, so you know when the job has completed.

A thumb drive is a reliable and handy external storage device. Some of you may still use floppy disks or maybe even an external hard drive to save your files, but thumb drives are a lot smaller and they're much easier to transport. If you're still a little weary about buying one, just know that they are perfect for saving everything from documents to music files to photographs and anything else you want to save. Try one out today, you never know, it might be your new best friend!

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