We all have lots of spare USB drives lying around in our drawers or computer desks, but no one gives a damn about them as we now own faster and portable hard drives with high storage space. If you think these 2 or 4 GB USB drives are useless, then I’ll let you know that I use one of these USB drives as a key (Yes as a key) on my Windows tablet, and it works well. I have a lot of more amazing tricks for your spare USB drives, read below:
Use it as a key to unlocking your PC or laptop:
If you ever had a dream of becoming a secret agent who unlocks his PC using a USB drive, then the time has come. You can do that with your old unusable USB drive (any size will do). Predator is a paid software with which you can turn your USB drive into a real key, and you have to keep the USB drive connected until you are working on your PC and when you want to go out, just pull out the USB drive (act like a secret agent) and move away.
- Install Predator on Windows.
- Connect your USB to your PC or tablet.
- Launch it for the first time set up the USB drive and password.
Install Windows or Linux OS using USB drive:
If you still use CDs and DVDs with lots of scratches on it to install OS on your PC or laptop, then you need to move on. Use a USB drive to install any OS (Windows or Linux) on your PC or laptop, you need a USB drive with a capacity of more than 8 GB (can work with 4 GB but it’s not recommended) to make it bootable. You can use either Rufus or UNebootin to make your USB bootable with an OS (UNebootin is recommended for making a bootable Linux drive).
- Download UNebootin.
- Connect USB drive to PC.
- Open UNebootin.
- Select the image file and click on “Start”.
Speed up your PC or laptop:
Sometimes when we are playing games on PC or working on a high RAM consumable software like Photoshop, your PC starts lagging which is irritating. Once I heard about “Readyboost” to boost PC performance. I tried it and it turns out that this works, though it takes more than 5 to 6 restarts to increase your PC performance.
- Connect your USB drive to PC.
- Open properties.
- Select Readyboost and click on Apply.
Protect your precious data using encryption:
If you have some secret files or data, and you are not saving it on a USB drive because of security issues, then worry no more. You can save your data on your USB drive and encrypt it, which makes it secure. While using it, you can decrypt your drive and use the data. Read here about software for this and how to encrypt your USB drive.
It’s also worth encrypting your data stored locally on your computer and if you ultimately upload it to the cloud. A number of encryption apps are available which will only allow you to decrypt and use your data, wherever it is stored. While you’re at it, you’ll want to encrypt your network data with a VPN so that you’re not vulnerable while on certain websites or when you’re connected to a public network.
Run portable apps from USB drive:
Portable software is now in fashion because they are useful and fast because you need not install any software again and again even if your Windows gets crashed. You can also save your portable apps on any USB drive and whenever you want to run that software, just plug the respective USB drive into the PC and launch it from the USB drive.
- Download Portable apps and install them on your USB drive.
- Launch it from your USB drive (click on “Start”).
- Select the portable software for your USB drive.
- You’ll see that software on a “Start menu like” window floating on the desktop.
- Click on the software to launch from that start menu.
These were the most useful tricks for your unused USB drive, I use many from them and find quite useful in daily (tech) life. You should also try all of them and make a little use of your spare USB drives.