A thumb drive (or USB stick, or flash drive, or any combination of the preceding) are impressive little things. Though small and unassuming, they have the kind of potential that spans the spectrum of good to evil. But in recent times, the flash drive is falling out of favor. It's easier and more efficient to store things to the cloud, and the ease with which malevolent entities can invade your computer has made some people a little wary of the tech tool.
Focusing on the good uses for thumb drives, we turned to LifeHacker to see how relevant a thumb drive is in society today. The answer is positive. There are multiple uses for flash drives beyond just storing and sharing files, and best of all, hacking someone isn't at the top of the list. Sometimes dynamite does come in a small package.
Thumb Drive Tips, Tricks & More
Use it as a portable web server.
This is one of the more common uses for flash drives, but it's so handy to get work done on the run and from your work server. Here's the step-by-step how-to.
Play jokes on folks
This one might fall on the more nefarious end of the spectrum, but it's relatively harmless. Well, harmless for the machine, but frustrating for the user. Basically, the USB Keystroker randomly locks the caps button, moves the cursor, or wreaks other (annoying) havoc. Find out more on ThinkGeek.
Use it to reset passwords
We've all suffered the indignity of being locked out our computers, right? Good news: a thumb drive can be used as a password reset disk.
Speed up your computer
Any flashdrive can be used as extra RAM to increase computer speed. Check it out.
No, not like the jokes mentioned above--real games. Some games take up a ton of space, but running from a flash drive saves space and speeds up your device.
Protect sensitive info
If, for whatever reason, you need to store copies of your social security card, birth certificate, passport, etc. digitally, put it on an encrypted flashdrive. This way no one else can access it. Use Windows on board tools to get it done.
Scan for viruses and recover files
It's common knowledge (we hope) that viruses are bad for your machine...not to mention your personal information. Keep a virus scanner and the ability to recover files on your flash drive. More directions are available here.
Lock your computer
Flash drives can not only physically resemble keys, but act as one as well. There are a bunch of programs out there that enable a thumb drive to act as a password to your computer, essentially unlocking it for your use only.
Run multiple operating systems
Try before you commit to an upgrade by running an operating system on a flashdrive (for optimal performance, shoot for 16GB of free space). We've all experienced the dread of an upgrade and things not working the way you want, so this is ideal to find bugs before upgrading (or switching to an entirely different OS).
For even more ideas on using a thumb drive for more than file transfer, check out this article from USB-Flashdrive!