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How to transfer files from PC to USB stick

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How to transfer files from PC to USB stick: Do you have to bring some rather “bulky” files to use on your friend’s computer? Have you completed the work that was commissioned to you on your PC and do you now have to present it to your boss or colleagues? If that’s the way it is, I’m happy to tell you that you’ve come to the right place at the right time. So I think the best solution you can adopt is to transfer everything to a  USB stick and bring it with you, to your friend’s house or office. How do you say? You had already thought about it but, not being particularly skilled in using the computer, you don’t know how to proceed? Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place at the right time.

In today’s guide, in fact, I will show you how to transfer files from PC to USB stick using the predefined tools that are available in Windows and macOS operating systems. If you don’t have a USB stick, then, I will give you some tips on how to choose the USB stick which, for size, capacity and speed, is best suited to your needs.

How do you say? Is that exactly what you were looking for and, therefore, are you impatient to read all the advice I have written for you in this tutorial of mine? So let’s not waste any more precious time! What you need to do is sit comfortably, take a few minutes of your free time and pay attention to the tips and procedures contained in this guide, so that you can be sure that you won’t make any mistakes. I wish you a good read and, above all, a good job!

Preliminary operations

Transferring files from a computer to a USB stick is not a difficult operation, but it is important to have some precautions in mind that can help you avoid problems in performing this procedure. In the next few lines, I will explain how to choose a USB stick that suits your needs and how to configure it based on the size of the files you want to transfer.

Choose the USB stick

The USB flash drives are not all equal among themselves, are distinguished not only for the shape and the size of the storage space of the data, but also for the speed with which these are transferred. In this regard, it is important to understand the version of the USB ports on the computer from which you want to transfer files to the USB stick.

If your PC has USB 2.0 ports , any USB flash drive you will connect will not exceed the nominal transfer rate of 60 MB / s . If, on the other hand, your computer is equipped with USB 3.0 ports (you can recognize them by the blue insert in the housing), by connecting a USB stick of the same version you can reach a nominal transfer speed of 600 MB / s .

Some newer computers may have USB Type-C ports , which are characterized by a small connector, but also by the high transfer capacity, which can reach minimum nominal values ​​of 1.25 GB / s .

Please note: the speeds I have indicated are the nominal ones of the USB ports, which are much lower when it comes to transferring data to a USB stick. This depends on many factors, including how the files are allocated in the storage device’s memory.

These premises are important to understand the type of USB flash drive you need to buy, also based on the size of the files you need to transfer. In fact, if the files to be moved on the USB stick are, in total, small in size, the USB device to choose is indifferent. If, on the other hand, these are large files, the choice of the USB flash drive can be an important element to save time.

To check the size of the files to be transferred, go to the folder in which they are present and, instead of accessing them, right-click on it. In the context menu, select the Properties item (on Windows) or the one called Get information (on macOS). In the window that is shown to you, you can read the space occupied by the files, near the wording Dimensions .

If, on the other hand, the files are only a few compared to those in a folder, hold down the Ctrl key (on Windows) or cmd (on macOS) and left-click on them, selecting only those to be transferred. At this point, right-click on one of the selected files to open the contextual menu and perform the procedure that I have indicated in the previous lines, which will allow you to view the size occupied by them.

After having done all these premises, below I indicate some USB sticks that can be right for you, including OTG and Lightning to connect them respectively to devices with Android and iOS operating system.

Format the USB stick

Most USB flash drives are set up with the FAT32 file system . This format allows for compatibility with all devices that support data reading and writing via USB. This file system has limitations, including that of not allowing the transfer of a file that is larger than 4GB.

In this regard, you can format the USB stick in another file system, exFAT , which extends this limit. I don’t recommend using other formats, such as NTFS (typical of Windows) or APFS  (typical of macOS), in order not to risk having compatibility problems.

If you want to perform the formatting procedure of a USB stick on Windows , after connecting it to the USB port, open File Explorer and click on the wording This PC / Computer in the left sidebar. At this point, locate the USB flash drive icon and right click on it. In the context menu, select the Format item and, in the window that is shown to you, select exFAT in the drop-down menu that you find next to the wording File system . Then press the Start button to begin the formatting process.

On macOS , however, open Spotlight by clicking on a magnifying glass icon located at the top right of the menu bar. In the text box that is shown to you, type the term disk utility and select the corresponding search result (alternatively, you can select the application icon in the Other folder of the Launchpad).

In the window that opens, select the USB stick you just inserted and click on the Initialize button , which is at the top. Then select the file system through the drop-down menu, next to the wording Format,  and then press the Initialize button , to start the formatting procedure.

If you want more information on the procedures to follow for formatting a USB flash drive, I recommend you read my guide dedicated to this topic.

Transfer files from PC to USB stick on Windows

To transfer files from a Windows PC to a USB stick, you can use some methods that require the use of the default tools of this operating system.

The first solution you can use is File Explorer , the default file manager of the Microsoft operating system. Therefore, connect the stick to the USB port of the computer and start File Explorer , through its icon in the system tray (or press the combination of Windows + E keys ).

In the screen that is shown to you, click on the wording This PC , which you find in the left sidebar, and locate the USB flash drive icon among those available in the Devices and drives section .

Now, reach the folder where the files you need to transfer are located, opening another File Explorer window using the method I indicated in the previous lines or, if the folder is present on the desktop, by double-clicking on it.

Now select the files to be transferred by holding down the Ctrl key on the keyboard and left-clicking on each one. If you want to select all, press the key combination Ctrl + A . Now that you have highlighted the files, right-click on one of them and, in the contextual menu that is shown to you, select the Copy item , in case you want to keep a copy of the data on your computer, or the one called Cut , in case you want to completely move them.

If you want to transfer the entire folder containing the files, right click on it and, in the context menu, select the Copy or Cut items .

At this point, go back to the section of Windows File Explorer that you opened before, relating to the main root of the USB stick. Click with the right mouse button on any empty point inside the window and, in the context menu, select the item Paste . Doing so will begin the process of transferring files from your computer to the stick.

As an alternative to the above method, I can point you to another quick solution for transferring data to the USB stick. After inserting it into your computer’s USB port, go to the folder where the files to be transferred are located and right-click on it to show you a context menu.

In case you want to transfer only specific files, access the folder and follow the procedure I indicated in the previous lines, in order to highlight only the files to be moved.

Whether you want to transfer the folder or just a few files, after right-clicking on them, in the context menu select the Send to > [USB stick name] items , to start transferring data to the main root of the USB device .

After the transfer is complete, it’s time to remove your computer’s USB stick. Then click on the icon with the ^ symbol that you find in the taskbar at the bottom right, near the clock.

In the screen that is shown to you, press the icon with the symbol of a USB stick and, in the contextual menu, choose the entry Eject [name of USB stick] . You will be shown a message to indicate that you can now safely remove the USB stick from your PC.

Transfer files from PC to USB stick on macOS

If you own a Mac , you can transfer files to the USB stick via the integrated file manager: Finder . Then connect the stick to the USB port of the Mac and wait for its icon to appear on the desktop. In case your Mac has only USB Type-C ports , you need to use a USB-C to USB-A adapter , like the ones shown below.

At this point, start Finder through its icon that you find in the Dock (the smiling face) and reach the folder where there are the files to be transferred. Then right-click on it and, in the context menu, choose the item Copy [folder name] .

If, on the other hand, you want to transfer only a few files inside it, open the folder, hold down the cmd button and left-click on each of them to select them. Now, right click on one of the highlighted files and, in the context menu, select the Copy x items item .

At this point, double click on the icon of the USB stick that you find on the desktop, to access the main path of the unit. Then right-click anywhere on the screen where there are no files or folders and choose the Paste x items item in the context menu. Doing so will start transferring the selected files to the USB stick. If instead of copying the elements, you want to move them by removing them from their original folder, hold down the alt key  on the keyboard while right-clicking and select the  Move xx elements here  item from the context menu.