Current Date: Thu, May 6, 2021 1:06 PM

10 things you can do with USB

Greg Shultz

A USB flash drive can do a lot more than just store data. In this article we will summarize and show you 10 ways to use this device.

Data transfer is probably the most common use case for USB storage devices. However, in addition to that common use method, the device can also be used for a variety of other uses. Here are 10 ways you can use a USB storage device outside of the pure task of being used.

1. Run portable apps

In addition to data storage, you can run portable apps from a USB drive. For example, OpenOffice, this is the complete office suite that includes a text editor, spreadsheet and presentation tools, drawing and database that can be used as a portable application. Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird can also be used as such applications. When you combine office suites with web browsing and email checking, you'll be able to put most of your most vital applications in your tiny pocket and take them anywhere.

If that's not enough, you can choose other apps to install on the USB drive from PortableApps.com (see figure A). You can even install a fully packaged suite of applications containing all the applications like audio player, games, antivirus utility, and an easy-to-use menu system.

10 things you can do with USB
Figure A: The PortableApps.com suite has a menu system that gives you easy access to these portable applications

2. Start an operating system

If you want to do more than just run your apps, you might consider booting an entire operating system from a USB drive. In this regard, you can boot either Windows or Linux from a USB storage device; The process is a bit difficult, though, and you may have to be tricky.

There are several instructions for you to follow. To learn about how to boot Windows XP from a USB, refer to the article Create a Bootable USB for Windows XP. For Ubuntu operating system, refer to the article Create an Ubuntu Bootable USB.

3. Connect to a wireless network

If you have a wireless network, you can use the Wireless Network Setup Wizard in Windows XP or Windows Connect Now (WCN) in Vista to save the wireless network configuration information to a USB flash drive. You can then use it on this disk to connect another computer or WCN-compatible device, such as a Router or a printer, to your wireless network. To learn how to use the Wireless Network Setup Wizard, see the Help And Support Center, which you can access from the Windows XP Start menu. To learn more about how to use Windows Connect Now, see the Windows Help And Support section of the Windows Vista Start menu.

4. Create a password reset disk

The password reset disk can be really handy if you forgot the password to your user account on a Windows system that is not in the domain. If this is the case, you can use the password reset disk to reset your password and quickly get back into your user accounts. In Windows Vista, you can use USB instead of a floppy disk as the password reset disk (Figure B). For more detailed information, you can refer to the article Create a password reset disk using USB in Vista.

10 things you can do with USB
Figure B: You can use USB as a password reset disk

5. Increase performance

If you are running Windows Vista, you can use the USB drive to speed up your system with ReadyBoost technology. ReadyBoost can use the storage space in a USB drive as an additional memory cache to support the memory cache on the hard drive. And because flash memory is more responsive than a normal hard drive (with its physically moving parts), the memory cache provided by ReadyBoost can significantly improve system performance.

ReadyBoost is very simple to use. Simply plug the USB flash drive into your Vista system and follow the on-screen prompts to configure and use ReadyBoost. If you want more detailed information, check out some of the SuperFetch and ReadyBoost articles and improve Windows Vista performance.

6. Easy to manage

If all you want to do with USB flash is to transfer data, your operating system is Windows XP, then you can do much more with Microsoft USB Flash Drive Manager (figure C). With the manager installed, you can easily copy files back and forth to your drive, backup and restore entire flash drives to and from hard drive, change drive labels and even more. create an autorun.inf file to launch Drive Manager automatically when you insert the flash drive into the system.

10 things you can do with USB
Figure C: Microsoft USB Flash Drive Manager provides you with drive backup feature

7. Use as an MP3 player

Have you ever found yourself in the situation of listening to music while using your computer at the office, but not having an MP3 player? In this case, you can use a USB flash drive as an MP3 player along with Windows Media Player and a headphone. Just copy the MP3 files you want to listen to on a USB flash drive, insert it onto your computer, and set Windows Media Player to build a library on the USB flash drive. You can use all of Windows Media Player's playback features, such as playlists and favorites, to easily adjust your listening experience. The top advantage of this method is that you don't have to worry about running out of battery.

8. Password protection

If you use a USB flash drive to transfer sensitive data, then you should use the Rohos Mini Drive (figure D) to protect data. This security tool allows you to create a secret partition on the drive, then password-protect or encrypt that partition, and thus protect the documents that you copy to that partition through a file manager. of the utility.

10 things you can do with USB
Figure D: Rohos Mini Drive can protect sensitive data files on USB flash drive

9. Run a website from USB

If you are a web developer, you must be very interested in Server2Go, a utility that helps you easily run a Web server that supports Apache, PHP, MySQL and Perl from a USB flash drive. You can use Server2Go without any installation action. It runs on all versions of Windows, supports most popular browsers, and is completely free. For a software developer, they can use a portable Web server on a USB drive for many benefits. For example it is possible to bring a demo website into a sales seminar.

10. Lock the computer

Have you ever seen in a movie someone using a card to log in and log out of a computer? If you thought that idea was interesting, you'll want to explore Predator (Figure E). Once configured and installed, this utility will allow you to turn your USB flash drive into a key to unlock and lock your computer.

10 things you can do with USB
Figure E: With Predator, you can use a USB Flash drive as a key to lock and unlock your computer.

When the USB flash drive is connected to the computer, everything should work as usual. However, when you remove the USB drive the computer is locked - the keyboard and mouse are disabled and the screen is dark. To open your computer, simply plug in the USB flash drive and the computer will be unlocked and you can start using it.