Things You can Do with a USB Flash Drive

Transporting your data is probably the most common use for a USB flash drive. But there’s a world of other things you can do with these handy pocket-size drives. Here are 10 ways you can use that USB flash drive to do more than just move data.

1: Run portable applications

things-usb-drive-can-do-1In addition to storing your data, you can run portable applications from a USB flash drive. For example, OpenOffice, which is a complete office suite that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing package, and database, is available as a portable application. Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird are also available as portable applications. When you combine the office suite with the ability to surf the Web and check email, you’ll be able to take your most vital computing applications with you wherever you go — right in your pocket.

2: Boot an operating system

If you want to do more than just run your own applications, you might want to consider booting an entire operating system from your USB flash drive. You can boot either Windows or Linux from a USB flash drive; however, the process is not an exact science and you may be in for a technical adventure.

3: Connect to a wireless network

things-usb-drive-can-do-2If you have a wireless network, you can use the Wireless Network Setup Wizard in Windows XP or the Windows Connect Now (WCN) feature built into Vista to save wireless network configuration information to a USB flash drive. You can then use your drive to quickly and easily connect another computer or a WCN-compatible device, such as a router or printer, to your wireless network. To learn more about using the Wireless Network Setup Wizard, see the Help And Support Center, which is accessible from Windows XP’s Start menu. To learn more about using the Windows Connect Now feature, see Windows Help And Support, which is accessible from Windows Vista’s Start menu.

4: Boost performance

If you’re running Windows Vista, you can use a USB flash drive to speed up your system with the ReadyBoost technology. ReadyBoost can use the storage space on a USB Flash drive as an additional memory cache to aid the memory cache on your hard disk. And because flash memory is more responsive than a hard disk, with its physical moving parts, the memory cache provided by ReadyBoost can significantly improve system responsiveness.

5: Use it as an MP3 player

Would you like to be listening to music when you’re using a computer at the office, but you don’t have an MP3 player? If so, you can use a USB flash drive as an MP3 player along with Windows Media Player and a set of headphones. Just copy your MP3 files to your USB flash drive, plug it into your computer, and direct Windows Media Player to build a library of the songs on your drive. You can use all of Windows Media Player’s playback features, such as playlists and favorites, to easily customize your music listening experience. And best of all, you won’t have to worry about running low on battery power.

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