How To Use A Flash Drive On A Chromebook

How To Use A Flash Drive On A Chromebook

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If you have a flash drive that you want to use with your Chromebook, but you’re not sure how to, you’re in the right place! Because in this article, I’m going to cover everything you need to know about using a flash drive with a Chromebook.

Whether you want to view the files on the flash drive, move the files off the flash drive, add files to the flash drive, or anything else, this is the article for you.

Prefer to watch a video about how to use a flash drive on a Chromebook? Click here.

Connecting A Flash Drive To Your Chromebook

Obviously, before you can do anything else with a flash drive on your Chromebook, the first thing you’ll need to do is plug it in. This part is usually fairly simple, but depending on your Chromebook, it could be slightly more difficult.

If you look at the side of your Chromebook, you’ll hopefully find a USB A port (a regular USB port) that looks like this:

how to eject thumb drive from chromebook

If your Chromebook does have that port, you’ll just be able to plug in the flash drive and you’ll be all set!

how to eject a usb from a chromebook

But, if your Chromebook doesn’t have a USB A port, and it only has a USB-C port that looks like this:

how to safely eject usb from chromebook

You will still be able to use a flash drive, but you will need an extra adapter in order to plug it in. You could use a simple USB-C to USB A adapter like this one, or if you have a USB-C hub like this one, that would also work.

Then, once you’ve got an adapter like one of these, you could simply plug the flash drive into the adapter, and then plug the adapter into your Chromebook.

how to safely remove usb from chromebook

Hopefully, you won’t have to do any of that and your Chromebook will have the correct port, but if it doesn’t, that will solve the problem.

But regardless of how you connect the flash drive to your Chromebook, once it’s connected, a notification will appear in the bottom right hand corner of the screen saying “Removable device detected”.

And to open the flash drive up and access the files that are on it, you’ll need to click “OPEN FILES APP”.

how to put stuff on a flash drive chromebook

Now, the files app will open, and if there are any files on the flash drive, you’ll see them here.

how to use flash drive on chromebook

Now that the flash drive is connected to your Chromebook and you’ve opened it up, it will work basically just like any folder on your Chromebook. You can now view, delete, rename, or edit any of the files inside the flash drive just like you normally would.

How To Move Files From The Flash Drive To Your Chromebook

If you want to move some of the files off the flash drive and onto your Chromebook so that after you unplug the flash drive, the files will still be there on your computer, the process is quite simple.

First, you’ll need to select the files you want to move. To do that, just click on the little preview icon of each file you want to select…

how to use a flash drive on chromebook

And then, each file will be selected and have a blue tick next to it.

how to use a usb flash drive on a chromebook

Or, if the layout of the files app is a bit different on your Chromebook, you’ll need to click on the icon below the preview next to the name to select each file.

how to use usb drive on chromebook

Then, once you’ve selected all the files you want to select, you’ll need to click and drag one of the selected files (it doesn’t matter which one), and drag and drop it into a different location on your Chromebook, and then all the selected files will be copied into that location.

It doesn’t really matter where you drag the files to, you could drag them into Google Drive, the “My files” folder, your downloads folder, anywhere you like as long as it’s a folder on your Chromebook and not on the flash drive.

For the purpose of this demonstration, I’m going to drag these files into the “My Files” folder.

how to access thumb drive on chromebook

Now, because this process only copies the files, they will still be there on the flash drive, but you’ll know they were successfully copied because you’ll see a message in the bottom right hand corner that says something like “Copying 3 items to My files complete”.

how to use a thumb drive on a chromebook

So now, if you go into the “My files” folder, (or whatever folder you dragged the files into), you’ll see the files you just copied are now there!

how to use usb flash drive on chromebook

So now, you have a copy of the files on your Chromebook, and you still have a copy of the files on the flash drive. If you want to keep a copy of the files on the flash drive, you can just leave it at that (you’re done!).

But, if you wanted to move the files from the flash drive to your Chromebook so that they’re no longer on the flash drive and only on your Chromebook, you’ll now need to go and delete them from the flash drive.

There’s no trash folder on a flash drive, so it’s important to make sure that you have definitely copied the files to your Chromebook before you delete them from the flash drive because if you delete the only copy of the files you won’t be able to bring them back.

But as long as you definitely have copied the files to your Chromebook, you’ll need to go back into the flash drive by clicking on the name of the flash drive in the menu on the left hand side of the screen…

how to use a usb stick on a chromebook

And then, in the flash drive, select all the files you want to delete the same way you selected them before.

how to use a usb flash drive on a chromebook

And now that they’re selected, click on the trash can icon in the top right hand corner.

how to use a usb drive on a chromebook

And finally, a box will pop up asking if you’re sure you want to delete the files, and you’ll need to click “Delete” to delete them.

how to transfer files from chromebook to usb

Now, the files will be removed from the flash drive.

how to move files to usb on chromebook

So you now have the files on your Chromebook, and not on the flash drive.

How To Transfer Files From Your Chromebook To A Flash Drive

If you have files on your Chromebook that you want to transfer to the flash drive, the process is actually kind of the same, just in reverse.

First, you’ll need to find the files on your Chromebook that you want to transfer to the flash drive and select all the ones you want to transfer by clicking on the preview icon of each file you want to select.

how to transfer files from chromebook to flash drive

Then, all the files you want to move will be selected.

how to transfer photos from usb to chromebook

But, if the layout of the files app is a bit different on your Chromebook, you’ll need to click on the icon below the preview next to the name to select each file.

how to transfer photos from chromebook to usb

Now that all the files you want to move are selected, you’ll need to click and drag one of them (all the other selected files will follow) and drop them into the flash drive.

(The flash drive will be a folder like thing near the bottom of the left hand menu with the name of the flash drive and an eject button next to it.)

how to transfer photos from chromebook to flash drive

Once you’ve dropped the files into the flash drive, the files will be copied onto the flash drive! (It may take a minute or two if you moved a lot of large files.)

As the files were copied onto the flash drive, they will actually still be showing on your Chromebook in the folder they were originally in.

But you’ll know they’ve been successfully copied to the flash drive because there will be a message in the bottom right hand corner of the screen that says something like “Copying 4 items to flash drive name complete”.

how to transfer photos from flash drive to chromebook

And now, if you click on the flash drive in the left hand menu to view the files inside it…

how to transfer pictures from chromebook to flash drive

You’ll see all the files you just copied are now there on the flash drive!

how to eject a flash drive from a chromebook

So you now have a copy of the files on the flash drive, and you still have a copy on your Chromebook. If you want to keep a copy of the files on your Chromebook, you can just leave it at that.

But if you want to remove the files from your Chromebook and only keep them on the flash drive, you’ll now need to go and delete them from your Chromebook.

To do that, go back to the folder on your Chromebook where the files you just copied are (for me, this is the downloads folder). And then, select all the files you want to delete the way you did before.

how to transfer photos from usb to chromebook

Now, click on the trash can icon in the top right hand corner of the screen…

how to eject flash drive from chromebook

And then, a box will appear asking if you’re sure you want to delete these files.

Once you do this, the files will only exist on the flash drive and will not be on your Chromebook, but as long as you’re sure the files are safely copied to the flash drive, go ahead and click “Delete” to delete them from your Chromebook.

how to eject usb from chromebook

And you’re done! Now the files will be on the flash drive, but they will no longer be on your Chromebook!

How To Eject A Flash Drive From A Chromebook

When you’re finished with using the flash drive and you’re ready to unplug it, it’s fairly important to eject it first.

Well, to be perfectly honest, I sometimes unplug flash drives without ejecting them and nothing bad has ever happened, but it is highly recommended that you eject your flash drive before unplugging it and it’s not very hard to do so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

To eject your flash drive, all you have to do is, in the files app, click on the little eject button next to the name of your flash drive in the left hand menu.

how to eject usb on chromebook

Then, the flash drive will disappear from the files app…

how to remove flash drive from chromebook

And that means it is now safe to physically unplug it from your Chromebook.

So that’s all there is to it! Now you really know everything there is to know about using a flash drive with a Chromebook.

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