5 things you can do with your USB Flash Drive
When was the last time you used a USB flash drive for anything other than swapping movies and music with your friends?
And how many of you don’t use a USB at all, and have a couple stashed in the drawer with old CDs and Blackberry cables?
Yet unlike a dial-up modem or the Sony Discman, there are some really cool and useful things you can do with a USB drive, so don’t toss it in the relic bin just yet…
Usage number 1: store portable apps
As the name suggests, these are apps that you can copy onto your USB flash drive and take them with you.
Simply stick the USB flash drive into any computer and use the app directly from the flash drive with no installation required.
When you are done, remove the flash drive and no trace will be left behind.
Head to the Portable Apps website, and download and run the initial installer. Then follow the wizard and select the apps you want to carry around with you.
Usage number 2: store important travel docs
Whenever you travel, you know you should keep copies of your important documents such as your passports, ID, and now of course proof of vaccination.
Yes, you keep these in the hotel safe, but let’s be honest, if the person at the front desk can reset your safe’s code, then your documents aren’t 100% safe.
If you have one of those little USB flash drives that you can hang on your keyring, why not save electronic copies of your passports, ID, emergency contacts, travel itinerary, and any medical information on it.
A good tip is to use a free utility like Discryptor or VeraCrypt that will encrypt your flash drive in case you lose it. You don’t want everyone to see that dodgy passport photo, right?
Usage number 3: use it as a recovery tool
If you’ve ever had your computer crash or had a nasty virus on your computer or forgot your Windows product key then you will love this next tool.
It’s called Hiren’s BootCD PE and is essentially a massive collection of tools and utilities that are all 100% legal, not pirated, and don’t contain malware.
Consider Hiren’s your own Swiss Army Knife to fix your computer as there are so many tools to choose from, depending on what you’re trying to fix. Best of all is that all the tools can live on your USB.
If your computer ever crashes or won’t switch on, just insert your USB and start the recovery process.
USB Flash Drive Usage number 4: Go incognito
By now you probably know that almost everything you do online and offline can leave traces on your computer and you leave digital footprints everywhere.
Websites log your clicks with cookies – even in private or incognito mode. There is a log of files that you have opened and there is even a record of any WiFi you have ever connected to.
That is where Tails comes in – it temporarily turns any computer into a secure machine and works on most computers that are less than 10 years old.
Simply install Tails onto your USB, and when you run your machine with it, you can browse the internet without leaving a trace – whether it’s your search history, IP address or cookie. You also don’t have to worry about viruses as Tails runs independently of your computer’s operating system and never uses the hard drive.
Whenever you launch Tails you are starting as if it’s a brand new computer and then everything disappears automatically the moment you shut down.
USB Flash Drive number 5: Give to charity
This is a do-good function and one of my favorites… give your old flash drives to charity.
An organization called Flash Drives For Freedom collects flash drives of all sizes and loads them with reading material, music, films, and other content that is banned in North Korea, where access to information is severely restricted.
Launched by the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and Silicon Valley non-profit Forum280, the organization smuggles the USBs through their defector-led network into North Korea where they are handed to people living under severe censorship.
There are other charities that collect USBs – have a look at Recycle USB, or ask at local schools, charities and libraries.
Just a warning though: don’t forget to properly remove files from your flash drive before. Have a look at what I found on some flash drives I bought at various sales. Have a look at all the dodgy things I found on some flash drives I bought at various estate sales!
So in summary:
Your USB Flash drive can do so much more than just transfer music and files from one computer to the next!
And speaking of USB, check out what you can do with your router’s has a USB port!