USB drives are mostly used for moving data around. These nifty little drives can do a lot more than just that. From booting a whole OS to improving the system performance by acting as RAM, USB drives can be used to do a lot more. And the best part is, you will only need a USB drive and some free software to do most of these. So here are 7 cool things you can do with your pen drives.
1. Run portable apps
Most of your favorite desktop apps are available as portable apps. You can take your favorite apps around by having the portable version of them in a USB drive. Portable versions of browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird are available. If you can get the portable versions of your most used applications on a USB drive, you save yourself the burden of carrying a laptop with you. Your apps and data will be in your pocket no matter where you go .
To make things even better, PortableApps.com offers you a wide range of common apps modified for portability. You can even get a packaged suite of apps with useful utilities like music player, anti virus, games and a menu system to manage it all.
2. Boot an operating system
If running portable apps from a USB drive wasn’t enough for you, how about booting a full fledged operating system from your little thumb drive? That’s right, you can boot windows, linux or even android from a pen drive if you’re up for some experimenting. The procedure for doing this might vary depending on windows/linux and the OS versions. This is especially useful when you have to get the taste of a new operating system before making the big decision of installing it on your hard drive. You can also keep certain linux distributions on a bootable USB drive for accomplishing certain tasks that are better done with linux.
3. Create a password reset disk
Passwords are everywhere and it’s easy to forget them. A password reset disk can be a life-saver in case you forget your password for a windows user account. If you ever happen to find yourself in such a situation, the password reset disk is all you need to get access into your account. All you have to do to get yourself a password reset disk is insert a USB drive into your computer and configure it to use that drive as the reset disk.
4. Boost system performance
If you’re using windows, there is a feature called ‘Readyboost’ which will let you use a USB drive as RAM. When enabled, readyBoost technology will use the storage space on your USB drive for caching instead of using the hard disk. Since flash memory is much more faster and responsive than the hard disk, performance of your computer will get a significant boost.
Setting up readyboost is really easy. Just insert the flash drive and right click on the drive name to select ‘properties’. Now select the ‘Readyboost’ tab and click the radio button beside ‘use this device’. You can move the slider to increase or decrease the space used by readyboost and finally click ‘ok’. That’s it, windows will start using the USB drive to boost performance.
5. Encrypt the Drive
If you keep sensitive information in your USB drives, it would be a great idea to encrypt the data in it as well. Encryption will protect your data from getting onto the hands of strangers in case you lose the drive somewhere. The encrypted data on your drive cannot be retrieved by anyone who gets hold of your drive. You can use Bitlocker on windows to encrypt your USB drive easily.
6. Turn it into a personal gift
If you procrastinate a lot, chances are you will end up in situations in which you have forgotten to buy gifts for someone. Worry not, in the tech culture, USB drives make great last-minute gifts. The perks are many, but the biggest is that you can load it up with hand-picked music or photos for your loved one which will make the gift all the more personal.
7. Promote your business
USB drives customized to include your brand name can be used for promoting your business, be it online or offline. Marketers love this strategy since they can just give these drives away and people are sure to use them, easy promotion! You can even include demo versions of your software products on these drives. There are companies that specialize in customized pen drives, so you can easily get them personalized to your liking.
So those were some creative uses of USB drives that you can give a try right away. Don’t forget to drop your own ideas below.