What Does USB Stand for and What to do Before Using A USB Device?

USB is so ubiquitous in our daily life that we can see USB on every computer. What does USB stand for and what should be done before using a USB stick? If you already have these 2 questions in mind, hopefully, you can find the answers in this post.


By Michael / Updated on May 12, 2023

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What does USB stand for in computers?

USB, short for Universal Serial Bus, introduced in 1995, is a standard type of connection for many different kinds of devices. USB has gradually become one ubiquitous and widespread component of computer hardware. Whether you’re using a USB to connect devices to your computer via a USB port, the chance is high that you use a USB cable to connect your mobile phone to an electrical outlet for power charging every day.


What is USB used for?

The Universal Serial Bus has been so successful since its first introduction in 1995. USB Ports and cables are used to connect devices like printer, smartphones, scanners, external hard drives, mice, joysticks, and cameras to computers of all kinds, including desktops, tablets, laptops, and netbooks.

Factually, USB has become so ubiquitous that you can find the connection available on almost all computer-like devices such as video game console – PS4 and Xbox One, home audio/visual equipment, and even in many smartphones.

Many portable devices, like smartphones, MP4 player, and tablets, use USB cables and ports primarily for charging. USB charging has now become so common that you can easily find replacement electrical outlets at home improvement stores with USB ports built in, without the need to look for a USB power adapter.

There’re different USB versions from the latest USB 4 to the oldest USB 1.1. Each of them represents different maximum transmission rate. Also, there’re several types of USB connectors including USB Type C, USB Type A, USB Type B, etc. They have different shapes and are only compatible with certain receptacles.

Why are USB devices so popular?

USB devices like USB flash drives and external hard drives are widely used in daily life possibly due to the following advantages.

1. USD devices support hot plug, meaning you can hot plug a USB device to your computer without the need to restart the OS.

2. Some USB devices are portable that you can easily carry them around.

3. Different USB devices can be connected to the PC via the same spec, like USB mouses and USB printers.

Optional: things to do before using a USB flash drive

Since the question “what does USB stand for” has been answered, it’s time to learn some skills of using USB. As you know, USB devices are widespread and the number of the people who use USB flash drives is growing fast in modern society, I think it’s necessary to learn to properly use them. This time, I’ll introduce what to prepare before using a USB flash drive.

Initialize the USB flash drive

When you connect a USB flash drive to your PC for the first time, you should initialize it so as to make it work normally. Namely, the new device should be registered in your OS with initialization. With AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, you can easily initialize any hard drives within only a few clicks.

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1. Launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard and right-click on the USB flash drive you want to initialize. Select "Initialize Disk" in the popup menu. 


2. Select a disk type MBR or GPT and hit “OK”.

mbr gpt

3. Click on “Apply” where the screenshot shows to start the initialization.


Wait a few seconds before it’s completed.

Note: The option of initialization will be greyed out if the drive has already been initialized before.

Partition the USB flash drive

After the initialization of the USB flash drive, the next step is to partition the drive. Although you can use Windows built-in Disk Management to perform this operation, it’s time-consuming because you can only create one single partition every time and it doesn’t support FAT32 for partition creation either. So, here, I still recommend AOMEI Partition Assistant. But this time, you should try the Professional edition to enjoy the “Quick Partition” feature.

Free download the demo of the most impressive disk manager to create multiple partitions simultaneously.

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Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.

Step 2. Right-click on the USB flash drive and select “Quick Partition”. 

Step 3. Preset the number of partitions you want to create and hit “Start Partitioning”.

quick partition

Format the USB flash drive

Now, we’ve come to the final step – formatting the USB flash drive. Here, we’ll give the flash drive a file system – NTFS, FAT32, or exFAT.

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.

Step 2. Right-click on the partition you want to format and select “Format Partition”. 

format partition

Step 3. Give a partition label and set a file system. Then, click on “OK”

file system

Step 4. Hit “Apply” to start the disk formatting.



What does USB stand for? Nowadays, USB is widespread in computing but many people don’t really know the definition of USB. So, in the post above, based on my own understandings, I explained what USB is in the most explicit words and meanwhile, a third-party disk management utility AOMEI Partition Assistant was also introduced to help manage USB flash drives. Both the standard edition and the professional edition work for Windows. However, if you want to use this software on Server, please try the Server edition.

Michael · Staff Editor
Michael is a professinal editor of AOMEI editor team.