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Using and Abusing Devices and Media

Using devices like USB memory sticks or burning CDs in Ubuntu is simple and intuitive. In the vast majority of cases, you just plug them in and they work. Each device needs to be mounted before it can be used, but Ubuntu automatically mounts it for you. The main point to remember is to always unmount the device before you remove it. Unmounting a device ensures all data has been copied to it before you pull it out.

If at any time you are unsure which devices are plugged into your computer, click Places > Computer to see a list of the drives available.

Using USB Keyring Drives

In the last few years, USB keyrings, pens, and sticks have taken over as the common method for moving files between different computers. These cheap and often high-capacity little devices offer a simple and efficient way to carry your files with you. Although they come in many different shapes and forms, they all basically work the same way in Ubuntu.

Using USB storage devices in Ubuntu is a piece of cake. Just plug them in and a moment or two later, an icon representing the device appears on your desktop. A file manager window also appears to display the contents of the device. You can interact with the device and the files as you would with the files on your hard disk. With some types of files on the drive, a helpful dialog box may appear offering to start a specific program relating to that file type for you so that you may begin working with the file(s) quickly.

When you have finished using your USB device, right-click the device icon that appeared on your desktop and select Unmount. When the icon disappears from your desktop, you can safely remove it from the USB port.

Burning CDs

Burning files is simple in Ubuntu with its built-in support for CD writers. Simply place a writable CD into the drive, and an icon appears on the desktop. Double-click the icon, and an empty file manager window appears. Now drag the files to be burned into this window. When you are ready to burn the CD, click File > Write to Disk.

A dialog box appears, and you can configure a few items before the disk is burned. Enter a name for the disk in the Disk Name box, and use the Write Speed combo box to select the best write speed for your drive. If you have an old or unreliable CD writer, you may want to select a slower speed to prevent a burn error. Finally, click the Write Disk button to start the burn.

Burning a CD from an Image

With more and more people downloading open source software, installation disks are often released as downloadable .iso files. When you burn these files to a CD, the files from the disk image are restored and the resulting CD looks just like a normal CD.

To burn an .iso file to a CD, simply right-click it and select Write to Disk.

Using Floppy Disks

They aren't seen much anymore, but you can use a floppy disk in Ubuntu. Just insert the disk in the drive. If a file manager window doesn't come up automatically, you can select Places > Computer from the menu and double-click on your floppy drive to mount it and display the files. When you have finished using the disk, right-click the floppy drive and select Unmount.

Using Digital Cameras

When you plug a digital camera into your computer, a device icon automatically appears on your desktop, and Ubuntu pops up a window asking if you want to view the photos from your camera. You can then view the photos and drag them from the photo viewer window over to a file manager window to save the photo.

The majority of digital cameras are actually just USB devices, and you can access the photos on them just like any other USB device, from within the file manager.

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