USB memory sticks (also known as pen drives) are extremely useful, a lot more reliable than floppy disks, and one of the best ways to move data around.
It is best to use them for transport rather than long-term storage. They should not be used for the primary copy of your work or to make permanent backups. It's a good idea to use your central filestore space - see http://www.lancs.ac.uk/iss/myaccount/pclan/ - you have a lot more space available there than on a USB stick and it is backed up nightly. If you have large pieces of important work it is also wise burn them to CD at regular intervals - follow the instructions for doing this on ISS computers with CD writers.
All USB memory stick drives should work on all machines that have USB ports. They are a standardised, easy to use way of attaching external equipment to your computer. Most lab PCs have ports on the front of the base unit or the side of the monitor for easy access.
Care of USB Memory Sticks
- Avoid contact with extremes of heat, cold, magnetic fields and liquids.
- All memory sticks come with a cap to protect the electrical contacts - Use it!
- Take care not to leave your memory stick in a PC.
- Label your memory stick so it's easily recognisable as yours.
- Memory sticks are cheap and easy to replace, your data may not be! Have you got a backup?
- When you have finished using the USB stick tell Windows by
clicking the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon in the "tray" at the
bottom of the screen and following the on-screen directions. Failure
to remember this can cause a variety of bad things, including data loss, to
My USB stick is not responding
Many manufacturers supply a utility disk that allows you to install special features on your USB stick such as password protection, MP3 software or you can partition the drive for specific uses e.g. storing email. Your drive will work perfectly at home but when you try to use it on any other machine the drive will encounter problems. You may only be able to access some of your information or none at all and you may receive error messages.
University computers will not allow you to access a USB stick that has any of these functions installed. If you wish to use a USB stick on campus the device should be used RAW without any extras installed. To remove any added features from your USB stick follow the manufacturer's guidelines.
I am having problems saving to my USB stick
Most USB sticks have a small write protection switch on one side. If
you are experiencing difficulties saving to the stick, check that the
switch is set correctly and try again.
Remember to allow enough time to save data to your USB memory stick. Don't remove the stick while it is saving data. This may render the device unusable in the future.
Sometimes USB sticks get confused. When you take things off them the amount of data on the drive stays the same. To get around this take everything off and format the stick.