USB flash drives, also known as thumb drives, pen drives and jump drives, are small portable data storage devices that can plug directly a USB port on a computer. The universality of USB ports in computing combined with the extreme portability of a flash drive make them a convenient tool for carrying out a wide range of simple tasks.
A flash drive doesn’t do any good if you don’t have it with you when you need it. Most flash drives are smaller than a stick of gum and are similar to the size of a key fob or a large car key. Carrying your USB flash drive on your key chain will ensure that you have easy access to it whenever you need it.
Similar to floppy disks and CDs, flash drives can be made into bootable drives that your BIOS will boot from instead of starting up your normal operating system. To create a bootable flash drive, simply download a bootable program or operating system made for USB drives or floppy disks and copy it over to the flash drive. If you insert the flash drive in a computer’s USB port and then start it up, it will boot from the USB drive so long as the computer is capable of USB drive booting (Certain computers, especially older computers, may not have this functionality.).
Portable Media Player
Another great use for a USB flash drive is to use it to carry all of your favorite programs or media files with you so that you have access to them regardless of what computer you are using. For instance, you could save a copy of Windows Media Player to a flash drive along with all of your favorite MP3 songs, allowing you to listen to your music on any computer by installing the Media Player if necessary and then loading the songs into it. Flash drives are also great for storing utility programs, such as installers for your favorite anti-virus programs, anti-malware scanners and web browsers.
ReadyBoost is a feature included with Microsoft’s Vista operating system that allows you to use a USB flash drive to assist the computer’s memory by adding additional short-term data storage space. This can potentially improve computer performance. To use ReadyBoost, insert a flash drive then click “Start,” “Computer,” right-click on the drive in the list, click “Properties,” click the “ReadyBoost” tab, then select “Use this device,” and click “Apply.” You can use the slider to adjust the amount of the flash drive’s memory that is reserved for ReadyBoost.
For more information about USB drive, like using skills or USB drive lost data rescue, view the technical articles on our site to get what you want to know.