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top 10 uses of usb titleMany of us use USB flash drives on a daily basis, primarily for sharing and transporting files from one device to another, however, these powerful thumbdrives have much more to offer than storing data.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 uses (other than storing and transferring data) for your handy USB stick that will ensure you’re using yours to its full potential, and it may save you some time and extra gadgets.

1) Lock and unlock your computer.usb uses lock pc

You can never be too secure (or trusting of your work colleagues not to mess with your computer if you leave it unlocked), and turning your USB stick into a key for your computer will ensure that no-one can access your machine unless they have your flash drive. Simply download and install a program, like Predator or TockenLock and start using your USB drive as a key!

2) Run a different OS, like Linux.

Instead of changing your hard drive use your thumbdrive to install the operating system you want to work on. Before you start ensure that your USB has a high enough capacity for the OS (usually at least 8GB), then start to download the OS you require. Next go to the download page of the USB installer then click download. Plug in your flash drive, and click on the USB installer, allow program and start installing and there you go – Linux, or another OS will be on your USB stick.

3) Quickly access wireless networks.usb uses wireless

You can save Wi-Fi network’s name to your USB stick on Windows machines, so you can quickly connect to your Wi-Fi on other computers, as well as to your Xbox 360.

4) Use as RAM.

If your PC is running slower than you like give it a little boost by caching some of your data over to your USB from your PC, so your PC can manage your applications better, giving you a quicker experience.

5) Run portable apps.

Whether you want access your your personal drives (whether this be Dropbox or Google Drive etc), or your development tools, with PortableApps.com you can build a customised app suite and store it on your USB stick ready for you to access it wherever you are.

6) Keep your files safe.usb uses documents

You can encrypt your flash drive (or buy an encrypted USB) and make it password protected, meaning you can safely and securely carry all of your important documents around with you.

7) Emergency security kit.

Fill your USB stick with applications such as antivirus tools, spyware scanners and disk wipers, but make sure they are all current versions, as well as the installation files, so you can quickly and easily clean up your PC.

8) Hook them up to your TV.usb uses TV

Most digital televisions now feature a port for your USB so you can record your programs straight onto your USB stick, which will expand the capacity of your digital video recorder. If you have music or photographs on your flash drive you can also play these through yours (or your family/friends) TV too.

9) Automatically sync your documents.

You can automatically sync your files between your computer and flash drive, as conveniently as you do with Google Drive and Dropbox through tools such as SyncBack and GoodSync2Go.

10) For gaming.USB uses gaming

You can take your games with you wherever you go, whilst saving memory on your console.

How do you use your flash drive? 


  1. You can turn your PC or HP MicroServer into an ESX host and boot from USB so that all of the HDs are used for storage.

  2. Forgive me if I’m wrong. But are 1 – 10 exactly the same thing. Storing data????? Confused. To sum the whole artical up with one step. Save and store data……..

  3. as above but, I have separate boot drives for re/ installing OS’s so they hold either the install ISO or the latest updated disk image

  4. Yep all different ways of storing data, but useful ones all the same.
    I would like to see some more unconventional uses though, I use an old one as a door stop!

  5. If you use WinSetupFromUSB (www.winsetupfromusb.com), you can add the ISO images of multiple operating system installation disks, etc to a single USB stick which it also makes bootable; when you boot from it, you select which operating system’s installer to run (just as if you were booting that install CD/DVD). Much more convenient than having a separate USB stick for each operating system installer.

    Would have been good if the article had recommended software for encrypting a USB stick.

  6. Life-saver for Windows 8 systems: as a recovery drive, with your system’s recovery partition on it. Probably need a 32GB stick, and you can’t use it for anything else, but in the event of major crash it can be the difference between a headache and a disaster!


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