Posted by : Amber Marfatia
1. Lock and unlock your computer
USB drive into a "key" that unlocks your computer when plugged in, and locks it when it's removed. If anyone attempts to access your computer without the key (or top-secret password), they'll be hit with an epic "ACCESS DENIED" message.
2. Revive a virus-ridden system
With the free AVG rescue software loaded on your USB drive, you can scan a crippled computer for viruses. And, if all goes well, bring your system back to life.
3. Run portable apps, games, and utilities
What's more portable than a laptop, tablet, or smartphone? Answer: a USB flash drive. Run applications like Firefox, Chrome, OpenOffice, and more, with just your USB flash drive and any computer.
4. Install and test-drive Windows 8
Want to peek into Microsoft's upcoming operating system? The consumer preview is available, but with this tutorial, we'll show you how to try out Windows 8 without overwriting your current OS.
5. Give Linux a try
You might have heard your geek friends brag about Linux, the open-source operating system. Like the Windows 8 tutorial, we'll show you how to use your USB drive to boot Linux and poke around the OS without overwriting your current system.
6. Secure your docs and files
If all you want to do is use your thumbdrive for file storage, don't forget to encrypt it. By doing so, only you will have access to the files on the drive, rendering it useless to anyone who finds (or steals) it.
7. Maintain your Windows computer
Find out how to install Parted Magic, a handy piece of software that lets you do things like reset Windows passwords, clone your system, and partition your hard disk, right from your USB flash drive.
8. Install Windows 7 on a MacBook
If you want access to both operating systems, OS X and Windows, you can use a USB drive to install Windows on your MacBook. This is extra handy for MacBook Air owners who need a workaround for the absence of an optical drive.
9. Turn it into a last-minute gift
Victims of procrastination will love this guide, which shows you how a plain ol' USB drive can be repurposed into a thoughtful gift in just a couple hours time.
10. Too many USB drives? Donate them!