A USB Drive is well known for carry data, be it music, photos, documents, videos, etc. But there is a whole other side to these handy little gadgets. Take a look at these 10 techniques a USB drive can be utilized for more than just storing data.
1. Run portable applications (exactly like your smart phone)
Portable apps are becoming increasingly more popular everyday and companies are starting to see the benefits of using them internally and externally to market their products. USB drives are perfect devices for these applications. For example, OpenOffice, which is a complete office suite which has a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing software and database, can be acquired as a portable app. Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird offer portable web navigation as portable applications. Invest the these tools, namely the opportunity to check your email, browse the net and be able to work with 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, you can choose a variety of other applications for use on a USB drive from Portableapps.com. You can even download a whole package of applications that include some cool tools as an audio player, games, antivirus utilities and a customizable menu system that is focused on your USB drive.
2. Boot an operating system
Some of us older geeks remember making thirty copies of a “boot disk” on old 3.5 floppy disks.
If you crash your hard disk drive and you can’t enter windows to fix anything or (worst case scenario) save any files to a safe location, you will need what’s called a boot disk. Since it’s a pretty rare thing for a computer to possess a floppy disk in it, you are going to require a USB drive. Both OR WINDOWS 7 and Linux support creating USB drive boot disks; sorry Mac users, you’re gonna have to look for a different option (probably costing you hundreds to thousands of dollars).
3. Install an operating system
Some people newer geeks understand that netbooks don’t possess DVD-Rom drives, so there’s no way to install software that’s on an optical disc (optical disc, HA!).
Now if you bought a new netbook or any computer system it doesn’t have a DVD-Rom drive, the only way you can reload the computer with your operating-system is install the OS from the USB drive. This is going to be considered a major thorn in optical disc manufacturers side for a long time to come (and could put them out of business) but is a sign of what to come for the USB drive.
4. Connect to a radio network
As more folks are moving to wireless networks for the devices a USB drive is a must. Take, for example, my home. We have two laptops, a desktop, a netbook, a wireless printer, two smart phones, an Xbox 360 360, a wireless home entertainment system, and a PlayStation 3 3. All these devices connect to our wireless network. I used a USB drive with our 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 utilizing the Wireless Network Setup Wizard, see the Help And Support Center, that is accessible from Windows XP’s Start menu. To learn more about utilizing the Windows Connect Now feature, see Windows SUPPORT AND HELP, which is accessible from Windows Vista’s Start menu.
5. Create a password reset disk
I’ve noticed that progressively more password protection systems are getting really tricky for you yourself to create passwords that are an easy task to remember. Just about everyone has 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 in the beginning and at the end. Some really get out of control with 1 capitalized character, 2 numbers, no reapeating characters and on and on. It’s getting really tricky to remember passwords. Well a USB drive may become a password reset disk for a major one, your Windows User Account. Just plug in the drive to reset your password as well as your back into your system.
6. Boost PC performance
If you’re running Windows 7 or Vista, you can use a USB drive to speed up one’s body with the ReadyBoost feature. This utility use the area on a USB drive as a memory cache to compliment the memory cache on your hard drive. This works especially well because a flash drive is more responsive when compared to a hard drive which has physical moving parts.
Using ReadyBoost is really pretty easy. Just photo stick review in your USB drive (preferably from Bizdriveusb.com) into one’s body and click ReadyBoost at the prompt and follow the instructions.
7. Use it as an MP3 Player at the job, home, and in the automobile
As we grow more and more MP3 friendly, there are plenty of places which are becoming more MP3 friendly. If you are at the job, plug your USB drive into one’s body 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 quite a few OEM car stereos have a MP3 compatible USB port that may play MP3s. Best of all, there is no iTunes involved. To see information about aftermarket car stereos and home entertainment systems that are USB ready, visit Crutchfield.com.
When you are carrying a USB drive which has some sensitive data that, if you lose the drive, you need to keep from prying eyes you can password protect the drive. An application called Rohos Mini Drive can safeguard that data. This tool enables you to create a partition on the drive and then password protect that partition. Just copy files into that partition and they are secure.
9. Run a Website from it
If you are a web developer, you’ll 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 out of your 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 really a pretty cool idea, especially if you’re giving a sales presentation and have to give a live website demo.
10. Lock your PC
You understand the scene in the movie, when the secret agent inserts his passcard right 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 a software system that may turn your USB drive into a key for your PC. You can lock and unlock your computer simply by inserting your USB drive. While the drive is connected to your computer, everything works since it should. Once your take away the drive, your personal computer is locked completely, even your keyboard, mouse, and screen are disabled. Plug the USB drive back and everything comes right back up.