5 Practical Uses for a USB Flash Drive You Must Know

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1. Use a USB Flash Drive to Lock/Unlock Your PC

Do you want to lock and unlock your computer with a physical key, like they do in the movies? With the free PREDATOR tool, you can!

PREDATOR turns a USB flash drive into an access control device—a key for your computer. When you leave your PC, unplug the USB stick and your computer will be locked. When you return, plug it back in and your computer will be unlocked.

It's like using the Lock function in Windows, but you don't have to type your password when you return.

When you unplug your USB flash drive, your open windows will minimise, and your screen will go dark—plug it back in and your screen will turn back on.

2. Run Portable Apps Anywhere

One of the oddest things about software is that it usually needs to be installed. With portable apps, however, that isn't the case.

Portable apps and games can be easily copied to a USB stick, then run from any suitable device. This is usually a 32-bit or 64-bit PC. Browsers, email tools, messaging apps, and games can all be run from a USB flash drive.

It's a particularly useful solution if you're keen to keep a selection of apps close to hand to use on any PC that might be nearby. This might be in a library, or even a cyber café at a holiday resort.

3. Stay Secure Online With Tails Live Operating System

Alternatively, you might be looking for an OS that you can run from USB to keep your online activity private. The solution to this is Tails, which unlike standard operating systems, preserves your privacy and anonymity. No logs are kept on the operating system. Meanwhile, state of the art cryptographic software encrypts your files, emails, and instant messages, while internet data is routed via Tor. Each time you use Tails on your USB flash drive, it starts a whole new session, retaining no data. This helps to enhance your online privacy and security---just be sure to use secure passwords!

4. Make a Password Reset Disk on USB for Windows 10

Concerned you'll forget your Windows 10 password? Already lost it?

If you use a local account in Windows, there is no easy way to reset the password if you forget it. The online account (e.g. one that uses an @outlook.com account) can be reset from any other device, but with a local account, things are different.

Your choice is simple: abandon the account, or make a password reset disk. For the second option, plug in a formatted USB stick, click Start, and type "password reset disk." When you see Create a password reset disk click Open and follow the instructions.

It's a good idea to permanently use the USB flash drive for this purpose, so keep it in a drawer for next time, just in case.

5 .Rescue Your PC From Hardware Failure and Viruses

If your PC has crashed and you need to recover it, or retrieve data from your hard disk, a USB disk is perfect. Flash drives are ideal for this, able to store and boot recovery tools to help you fix your computer.

These tools include:

Hiren's BootCD



Ultimate Boot CD

Bootable Rescue Disk

Trinity Rescue Disk

All these tools will run from USB. Simply download the preferred tool, write to USB, and boot your prone computer from the USB stick.

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