Learn Easy Steps: Using External Storage Devices and Cloud Storage

Learn: Easy Steps

Activity Card: Using External and Cloud Storage

Since the advent of computers, there has been a need to transfer data between devices and/or store information permanently. You may want to look at a file that you have created or an image that you have taken today one year later. For this it has to be stored somewhere securely. Similarly, you may want to give a document you have created or a digital picture you have taken to someone you know. There are many ways of doing this – online and offline. Online data transfer or storage requires the use of Internet, but can be easily accessible anywhere with internet access. Offline storage can be managed with minimum resources, but offers smaller storage sizes and requires the storage device to be connected to your computer.

Earlier data storage devices used to mainly be “floppy” disks which had a small storage space. However, with the development of computer technology, we now have USB flash drives, cloud storage solutions, and other removable media to store and transfer data. With these, you store/save/copy files and folders containing data, pictures, videos, audio, etc. from your computer and can even transfer them to another computer.

Introduction to USB flash drives and other external storage devices

A USB flash drive is a small self-powered drive that connects to a computer directly through a USB port. This device enables you to read, write, copy, delete, and move data from USB flash drives to the hard disk drive of your computer and back again. Stored data can be deleted or replaced as and when necessary. They generally store anywhere from 1GB to 128GB of data.

External hard drives are another example of external storage. They offer higher storage capacities than USB flash drives and connect to a computer directly through a USB port like that of a flash drive.

Viewing files on your USB flash drive or external hard drive

  1. Plug the USB flash drive or external hard drive into the USB port on the computer. The hardware of your computer will automatically detect the inserted device. After detecting the hardware it will automatically install the flash drive on your computer. You will keep getting appropriate messages in the notification area of the taskbar as is evident from the images below. After a few seconds, your flash drive will be ready to use.
  2. In most cases, an Options Window will automatically open when you insert the flash drive and you will see the files within the drive. Note: Alternatively, you can go to My Computer and select the drive corresponding to the flash drive. Right click on the drive and select “Open” from the menu to view the files.
  3. Select the file that you would like to open. Double click on the file, or right click your mouse and select “Open” to view the files.

Copying files from an external storage device to the computer

  1. Once you have opened the storage device as shown in the previous steps, you can see all files and folders stored within the device. Select the files or folders you want to copy by clicking on them.
  2. To select more than one file/folder, keep the CTRL key pressed while you select all the files you wish to copy in the computer.
  3. Right-click on the files or folders you have selected and select Copy. Alternatively, you may open “Edit” menu in the menu bar and select “Copy.”
  4. Open My Documents or the location to which you want to transfer the files and folder from the device.
  5. Click on the Edit menu in the toolbar and then select Paste. Note: Alternatively you can right click in the black area and select “Paste” from the menu.
  6. The selected files and folders are copied to the computer in a few moments.

Copying files from the computer to a USB flash drive

  1. Note the drive which refers to your USB flash drive (e.g., Removable Disk G:).
  2. Open the location from where you want to transfer files to the flash drive.
  3. Select the files or folders you want to copy by clicking on them with the mouse.
  4. To select more than one file and folder, keep pressing the CTRL key while you select all the files you wish to save in the flash drive.
  5. Right-click on any one of the files/folder you selected, then select Send To, then select the drive (name) appearing in “My Computer” for the flash drive ("Removable Disk (F:),” for example). Alternatively, you can select “Copy” (or Ctrl +C key) from the “Edit” menu in the toolbar or the menu appearing on right.

Safely removing a USB flash drive from the USB port

  1. To safely remove your USB flash drive from the computer, look for the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon in the notification area on the taskbar at the lower right corner of your desktop and click on it once.
  2. On clicking, you will get the menu reading “Safely remove USB Mass Storage Device.”
  3. On clicking on the option in the menu, a new message will be displayed “Safe to Remove Hardware.” After clicking, it will give you a message to safely remove
  4. You may now safely remove the USB flash drive from the computer.

Introduction to Cloud Storage Solutions

Cloud storage is a way of storing files online. The files can be accessed anywhere, without any external devices, as long as the computer has Internet access. There are many different cloud storage solutions, including Microsoft* OneDrive and Google* Drive. Many cloud storage solutions allow users to share files and folders with other users for easy collaboration.

Uploading files from your computer to a cloud storage account

  1. Navigate to your cloud storage account online. (e.g., Onedrive.com, drive.google.com)
  2. Log into your cloud storage account. Note: you may need to create a free account. If you having trouble, visit www.youtube.com and search for “create a free Google Drive (or OneDrive) account.”
  3. Select the file upload button. Note: Each cloud storage service is different. The upload button may contain text, and icon, or both.
  4. Once you select the upload button, a file browser will appear with a list of the files on the computer. Navigate to the file you would like to upload and then press “OK,” “Select,” “Upload,” or similar.
  5. In a few moments, the files will be uploaded to your cloud storage account.

Note: Each cloud storage service is different. For more detailed instructions on a specific cloud storage account, try searching YouTube for a tutorial. For example, try searching “How to upload files to a OneDrive account”

 Downloading files from a cloud storage account onto your computer

  1. Navigate to your cloud storage account online. (e.g., Onedrive.com, drive.google.com).
  2. Log into your cloud storage account.
  3. Navigate to the file or folder that you would like to download.
  4. Select the file or folder you would want to download and select the download button. Note: Each cloud storage service is different. The download button may be accessible from right clicking the item, it may be in the toolbar, or in a different location.
  5. The file(s) will download to your computer and will be located in your “Downloads” folder.

Note: Each cloud storage service is different. For more detailed instructions on a specific cloud storage account, try searching YouTube for a tutorial. For example, try searching “How to download files from a OneDrive account”

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