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What to Do with Leftover USB Flash Drives

They’re not quite a dime a dozen just yet, but USB flash drives are getting remarkably inexpensive these days. If you’ve decided to upgrade to a new 8GB (or larger) drive and you have a drawer full of smaller capacity drives, what are you supposed to do with the latter? After all, carrying around a drive that only packs under a gig of storage isn’t all that useful these days. Yes, we’re even talking about those ancient 32MB wonders.

Well, the kindly folks at Gizmodo have put together a short guide of possibilities for what you can do with your drawer full of USB sticks. No, they’re not the most exciting of applications, but these possibilities make the USB drives much more useful than what they are currently doing: collecting dust and taking up space unnecessarily.

If you’re rocking Windows Vista, you may want to convert your flash drive into a physical key for your computer. There’s a brief guide over at Lifehacker that describes the process, but in a nutshell, your computer won’t work without the USB stick shoved in there. Simple, yet effective security.

Maybe you’re not digging Vista and want to carry a penguin in your pocket. Believe it or not, it’s remarkably easy to store a complete Linux system in your tiny USB flash drive. This fully functional desktop can travel with you, so you’ve got a personalized experience at Internet cafes and other random areas of computer access.

Another alternative is to load up that flash drive with some portable apps. This is much like the portable OS idea above, except you’re only carrying the apps and not the OS. Going back to the Internet cafe, you’ll have all of your Firefox favorites and preferences in place.

About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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