What exactly is a USB Port 

and how do you use USB Flash Memory?

What is a USB port, what is a firewire port?

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What Exactly is a USB Port?USB Port and a Firewire Port

USB ports are small rectangular 4 wire external bus ports used to carry low speed data. The official name is Universal Serial Bus or USB for short. What makes these ports so successful is that  they provide power as well as data transfer for peripherals. Peripherals = the small devices or components you plug into your computer such as: joysticks, USB Flash Memory, web cameras, keyboards, mice, etc.

There are two speed ratings for USB:
1.1 compliant tops out at 12Mbs (megabits/sec)
2.0 compliant tops out at 480Mbs (megabits/sec)

The peripherals that use the port are hot swappable which means that they can be removed and replaced while the computer is running. However, some peripherals like USB Flash Memory should be turned off or "parked" before unplugging from the computer. The reason is that if you have any static electricity on your body you can ruin the data that is stored in the memory. The bottom line for any hot swappable device is pay attention to the individual peripheral on how to remove the item.

Another main advantage of the USB port is that you will almost never run out of them. You can have up to 127 different USB peripherals plugged into your computer at one time! If you have only one port left then you will need to purchase an adapter that splits the port for you. Just keep adding splitters. 

These USB ports will be around for a very long time. Just about every peripheral you have today is supported. Also the computer manufacturers are placing the ports on the front of the computers to give you easy access.

How do you use the USB Flash Memory?

You use your USB Flash Memory Drive exactly like you would use a floppy disk. The USB Flash Memory Drive is simply a tool to transfer and store files and pictures. 

  1. Insert your USB Flash Memory Drive into the USB port on your computer. Depending on your computer the following message may pop up: “Found New Hardware” or a window will pop up and say “Removable Disk (K :)” (My computer assigns the K drive, yours may assign another). 
  2. Now you can copy, transfer files or drag and drop the files you want to put on the USB Flash Memory Drive just like you would for a floppy disk or a CD. You can also delete the file easily. 
  3. If none of the above happens, open Windows Explorer (Go to Programs – Accessories - Window Explorer), click on My Computer and search for the “Removable Disk”, this is the location of your USB Flash Memory Drive. 
  4. When you are finished transferring files, there is an icon in the bottom right corner that has a green arrow and what looks like a disk, click on this and a pop up will tell you that it’s safe to remove the USB Flash Memory Drive.

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