10 Things You Can Do With a USB Drive Other Than Store Data

A USB Drive is known for carry data, be it music, photos, documents, videos, etc. But there’s a whole other side to these handy little gadgets. Have a look at these 10 ways that a USB drive may be used for a lot more than just storing data.

1. Run portable applications (just like your smart phone)
Portable apps are becoming progressively more popular everyday and businesses are starting to see the benefits of with them internally and externally to market their products. USB drives are perfect devices for these applications. For instance, OpenOffice, which is a complete office suite that contains a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing software and database, is available as a portable app. Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird offer portable web navigation as portable applications. If you take these tools, namely the ability to check your email, surf the web and be able to use a full office suite, in conjunction with the mobility of a USB drive, you’ve given yourself the opportunity to redefine your office environment!

If you need more, it is possible to choose a range of other applications for use on a USB drive from Portableapps.com. You may also download an entire package of applications offering some cool tools like an audio player, games, antivirus utilities and a customizable menu system that’s focused on your USB drive.


2. Boot an operating system
Some people older geeks remember making thirty copies of a “boot disk” on old 3.5 floppy disks.

If you crash your hard drive and you can’t get into windows to fix anything or (worst case scenario) save any files to a safe location, you’ll need what’s called a boot disk. Since it’s a pretty rare thing for some type of computer to have a floppy disk in it, you’re going to need a USB drive. Both OR WINDOWS 7 and Linux support creating USB drive boot disks; sorry Mac users, you’re gonna need to look for a different option (more than likely costing you hundreds to thousands of dollars).

3. Install an operating system
Some of us newer geeks know that netbooks don’t possess DVD-Rom drives, so there is no way to install software that is on an optical disc (optical disc, HA!).

Now if you bought a fresh netbook or any computer system that doesn’t have a DVD-Rom drive, the only method you’ll be able to reload the computer together with your operating-system is install the OS from the USB drive. This is likely to be considered a major thorn in optical disc manufacturers side for years to come (and could put them out of business) but is really a sign of things to come for the USB drive.

4. Connect to a radio network
As more of us are moving to wireless networks for our devices a USB drive is crucial. Take, for example, my home. We have two laptops, a desktop, a netbook, a radio printer, two smart phones, an Xbox 360, a wireless home theater system, and a Ps3 3. All these devices connect to our wireless network. photo stick uk used a USB drive with this network settings to setup each one of these devices to connect to the network. This saved me from writing down the network address, the security key and the network settings and then inputting these settings into each device. Pretty slick. For more information about using the Wireless Network Setup Wizard, start to see the Help And Support Center, which is accessible from Windows XP’s Start menu. To learn more about utilizing the Windows Connect Now feature, see Windows SUPPORT AND HELP, that is accessible from Windows Vista’s Start menu.

5. Develop a password reset disk
I’ve noticed that a growing number of password protection systems are getting really tricky for you to create passwords that are an easy task to remember. Most of us have one word that’s our standard password. But some systems require 7 characters, some require 8. Some need 1 number anywhere, some need 1 number at the beginning and by the end. Some really escape control with 1 capitalized character, 2 numbers, no reapeating characters and on and on. It’s getting really tricky to keep in mind passwords. Well a USB drive can become a password reset disk for a significant one, your Windows User Account. Just plug in the drive to reset your password and your back into your system.

6. Boost PC performance
If you’re running Windows 7 or Vista, you need to use a USB drive to increase your system with the ReadyBoost feature. This utility use the area on a USB drive as a memory cache to compliment the memory cache on your own hard drive. This works especially well because a flash drive is more responsive than a hard drive that has physical moving parts.

Using ReadyBoost is really pretty easy. Just plug in your USB drive (preferably from Bizdriveusb.com) into your system and click ReadyBoost at the prompt and then follow the instructions.

7. Use it as an MP3 Player at the job, home, and in the automobile
As we grow a growing number of MP3 friendly, there are plenty of places which are becoming more MP3 friendly. If you are at work, plug your USB drive into your system and Windows Media Player will play your MP3s direct from the drive. Many home entertainment receivers now have a front panel USB port for playing MP3 files. And most new aftermarket car stereos and several OEM car stereos have a MP3 compatible USB port that will play MP3s. On top of that, there’s no iTunes involved. To see information about aftermarket car stereos and home entertainment systems that are USB ready, visit Crutchfield.com.

8. Password-protection
When you are carrying a USB drive which has some sensitive data that, if you lose the drive, you wish to keep from prying eyes it is possible to password protect the drive. An application called Rohos Mini Drive can safeguard that data. This tool permits you to create a partition on the drive and then password protect that partition. Just copy files into that partition plus they are secure.

9. Run a Website from it
If you are a web developer, you will be interested to know that you can run a web server that supports Apache, PHP, MySQL, and Perl from the USB drive with Server2Go. Server2Go runs right from the box with no installation and can operate on all versions of Windows, supports the most frequent browsers, and is totally free. Having a portable website is a pretty cool idea, particularly if you’re giving a sales presentation and have to provide a live website demo.

10. Lock your PC
You know the scene in the movie, when the secret agent inserts his passcard into a security system or PC to login and logout? Well it’s pretty an easy task to do exactly the same with a USB drive. Predator is really a software system that can turn your USB drive right into a key for your PC. You can lock and unlock your computer just by inserting your USB drive. As the drive is connected to your computer, everything works as it should. Once your remove the drive, your computer is locked completely, even your keyboard, mouse, and screen are disabled. Plug the USB drive back and everything comes back up.