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How to transfer photos from PC to USB stick

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How to transfer photos from PC to USB stick: You have successfully transferred photos taken with your smartphone or camera to your computer. Now, however, you need to go to a photocopy shop or a similar shop to print them or you have to take them with you to a friend’s house to show them. How can you do that? Nothing could be simpler! Just use a portable storage system, such as a USB stick. How do you say? Are you fasting for technology and don’t know how? Don’t worry, I’m here to help you.

In this guide, in fact, I will show you how to transfer photos from PC to USB stick both on computers with Windows operating system and on those equipped with macOS. I will also give you some tips for transferring photos safely, without any problems.

Can’t wait to start reading the tips I have prepared for you in this guide of mine? If that’s the way it is, just sit comfortably and take a few minutes. I’m sure you will be able to transfer your photos to the USB stick without the slightest problem. Happy reading and good luck for everything!

Preliminary operations

Before showing you how to transfer photos from a PC to a USB stick , it is important to inform yourself about some preliminary operations necessary for the success of this operation.

Choice of USB stick

To transfer photos from a PC to a USB stick, it is important to first have one of the right capacity. If we are talking about some photos, even a USB stick of a few gigabytes may be enough. If, however, you need to transfer a considerable number of photos, the situation may change.

There are different types of USB flash drive, based on both the size of the storage space and the speed of data transfer. First of all, it is important to check the necessary space that a USB stick must have on which you have to perform the photo transfer operation.

Go to the folder where the photos are located and right-click on it. In the contextual menu that is shown to you, select the item Properties (on Windows) or Get information (on Mac). In the new screen you see, find the wording Dimensions and read the corresponding number. If the value is smaller than the size of the key you have, you will not need to buy a new one; otherwise, I will indicate below some products that may be right for you.

If then you need to transfer photos also to smartphones and tablets, consider buying a  USB stick with OTG support (if you have an Android device, which must be equipped with support for this technology) or, if you have an iPhone or an iPad, a  USB stick with a Lightning connection . Here are some of them.

You can also check the size for some photos within a folder. Just select them one by one, holding down the Ctrl key (on Windows) or cmd (on Mac) and clicking with the left key on each of them. By right-clicking on the highlighted photos, you can access the contextual menu and follow the same procedure that I indicated in the previous lines, in order to view the total size that the photos occupy.

Another important element is the transfer speed . If there are USB 3.0 ports on your computer, they will support a high data transfer rate, if you connect a USB stick also version 3.0. A USB 3.0 port on the computer is usually recognized by the blue color of the insert, present inside the port itself.

Changing the file system of the USB stick

Before copying your photos to a USB stick, you need to check the  file system used by the unit. Typically, USB sticks are configured in FAT32 , but other file systems exist, such as NTFS , exFAT or APFS .

Before getting confused with all these acronyms, I tell you that the FAT32 format is the one that has an extended compatibility with the different operating systems and devices on the market. The limitation, however, of this file system is that it does not allow the transfer of single files larger than 4GB. Since we are talking about photos, the problem should not exist, so the FAT32 file system is more than enough.

In light of the above, I recommend you read my guide on how to format a USB stick , in which I explain how to check the file system of a USB stick and how to change it to the one that best suits your needs.

Transfer photos from Windows to USB stick

If you own a computer with Windows operating system , there are two methods of transferring photos to a USB stick, which I will tell you about in the next few lines.

File Explorer

The first method is to use Windows File Explorer. First, connect the stick to one of the USB ports on the front or back of the PC case. If you use a laptop, the USB ports are generally located on one or both sides of the device.

After inserting the key in the appropriate slot, the operating system will automatically install the drivers for recognizing the device, in fact you will be shown a notification in the lower right corner to indicate the progress of the recognition process.

At the end of this operation, you may be asked if you want to open the main folder of the USB stick, by means of the notification window that is shown to you in the upper right corner. Then select the Open folder item to view the files , to immediately access the main folder of the USB stick (called in root jargon ).

Alternatively, start Windows File Explorer by clicking on its icon with a yellow folder symbol , which you will find at the bottom of the taskbar. You can also press the Windows + E key combination to open File Explorer .

At this point, in the left sidebar, scroll the list and select the drive corresponding to the USB stick. You can also press on the item This PC and select the drive of the storage device which is among the icons shown on the screen, in the Devices and drives section .

After logging in to the main path of the USB stick, you have to open another screen of File Explorer , reaching the path where the photos to be transferred reside. Refer to the previous lines to open a new file explorer screen .

After reaching the location of the photos, you can decide whether to transfer the whole folder or just a few photos. In the first case, just right-click on the folder icon and select the Copy item (if you want to keep a copy of the photos on the PC) or Cut (if you want to transfer them by deleting them from the PC), in the contextual menu that appears shown.

In the second case, however, you can select some photos by holding down the Ctrl key on the keyboard and selecting the photos one by one with the left mouse button. If you hold down the Shift key instead , when you left-click on two photos, you will automatically select all the others that are between these two. You can also select them by holding down the left mouse button and dragging it until all those to be transferred are highlighted.

You can also press Ctrl + A to select all the photos at once. At this point, right click on any of the highlighted photos and choose an item from  Copy or Cut from the context menu.

Once this is done, go back to the File Explorer session which refers to the main path of the USB flash drive and right-click anywhere on the screen where there is no file. In the context menu you see, choose the Paste item to start the transfer of the photos.

Alternative method

The second method that I propose is much faster. What you need to do is simply connect the USB stick to one of the USB ports on the PC. You don’t need to go directly to the main folder of the device, unlike as I indicated in the previous paragraph.

On the contrary, access the folder where the archive of the photos you want to transfer is present and right click on it. In the context menu that is shown to you, choose the items Send to > [USB stick name] , to immediately begin transferring the folder to the root of the device.

If, on the other hand, you want to transfer only a few photos, access the photo folder on the PC and select them according to the method I have already recommended in the previous paragraph . After selecting them, right-click on any highlighted photo and, in the context menu, select the items Send to > [name of USB stick] . In this way, all the selected photos will be transferred to the main folder of the USB stick.

Alternatively, you can simply drag the files from the source folder to the main folder of the USB stick, so that the file transfer starts immediately.

Safe removal of USB stick

After transferring the photos to the USB stick, using the methods that I have indicated in the previous paragraphs, you must remove the storage device from the USB port. To do this, use the Windows Safely Remove Hardware feature .

What is the difference between using this feature and manually removing the USB stick from the computer? Basically the difference is that the Windows Safely Remove Hardware feature allows you to temporarily disable the device in order to avoid any data loss during the transfer.

To use this feature, click on the icon with the ^ symbol located at the bottom right, near the clock. In the small screen that is shown to you, click on the icon with the symbol of a USB stick and select the Eject [key name] item that you find in the contextual menu.

Transfer photos from Mac to USB stick

If you have a Mac , you can transfer photos to a USB stick via Finder , the macOS file manager. First, then connect the stick to the USB port of the Mac and wait for it to be recognized. You can verify this if the device icon appears on the desktop.

If you are using a recently made MacBook or MacBook Pro and you don’t have standard USB ports, but only  USB-C ports , you must use a USB A to USB C adapter, such as the ones listed below.

Now start Finder , through its icon in the Dock, and go to the folder where the photos you want to transfer reside. If you want to transfer the entire folder, just right-click on its icon and choose Copy [folder name] from the context menu.

If, on the other hand, you want to select the photos one by one, access the folder and select them with the left mouse button, taking care to hold down the cmd button (if the files to be selected are in random order) or the shift button ( to highlight files located between two selected items). Alternatively, you can select them by holding down the left mouse button and dragging it until all the ones you want to transfer are highlighted.

Once this is done, press the right mouse button on any highlighted file and choose the Copy x elements item from the contextual menu that you see. Now go back to the desktop and double click on the USB stick icon to access its main path. Then right-click anywhere on the screen where there is no file and, in the context menu, choose the Paste x items item  and then wait for the transfer to be performed.

To eject the USB stick, in the Finder window , locate the left sidebar and click on the icon with the symbol that you will find next to the name of the device, in the Devices section .

Alternatively, right-click on the USB stick icon on the desktop and choose the Eject [key name] item in the contextual menu that is shown to you, or drag it  to the MacOS Trash .