Your USB flash drive is much more versatile than you might realize, packing capabilities that go well beyond storing and transferring files.
Here are 10 tips and tricks to get the best out of the USB flash drive.
1. Lock and unlock your computer, secret agent style
With Predator, you can turn your USB drive into a “key” that unlocks your computer when plugged in, and locks it when it’s removed. If anyone attempts to access your computer without the key (or top-secret password), they’ll be hit with an “ACCESS DENIED” message.
2. Revive a virus-ridden system
With the free AVG rescue software loaded on your USB drive, you can scan a crippled computer for viruses. And, if all goes well, bring your system back to life.
3. Run portable apps, games, and utilities
A USB flash drive is more portable than a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Run applications like Firefox, Chrome, OpenOffice, and more, with just your USB flash drive and any computer.
4. Install and test-drive Windows 8
To peek into Microsoft’s upcoming operating system, install the Windows 8 consumer preview and try it out without overwriting your current OS.
5. Give Linux a try
Like the Windows 8 consumer preview , use your USB drive to boot Linux, the open-source operating system, and poke around the OS without overwriting your current system.
6. Secure your docs and files
If all you want to do is use your thumbdrive for file storage, don’t forget to encrypt it. By doing so, only you will have access to the files on the drive, rendering it useless to anyone who finds (or steals) it.
7. Maintain your Windows computer
Find out how to install Parted Magic, a handy piece of software that lets you do things like reset Windows passwords, clone your system, and partition your hard disk, right from your USB flash drive.
8. Install Windows 7 on a MacBook
If you want access to both operating systems, OS X and Windows, you can use a USB drive to install Windows on your MacBook. This is extra handy for MacBook Air owners who need a workaround for the absence of an optical drive.