I love USB thumb drives

USD drive on lanard

I have joked online that this is the international symbol of “I can fix your computer”. Also my clients know I do rock my nerd necklace like nobody else. But why wouldn’t I?  I mean I have a device hanging from my neck that can store millions of pages of text, tens of thousands of pictures or 20 minutes of HD Video.  We have launched satellites that don’t have that kind of storage capacity.

So yes you can store stuff but there is more. Let’s take a look some thumb drives and what we can do with them besides carry Excel sheets or keep a kids homework.

Different OS

Ever want to try Linux?  Maybe you would like to have a portable version of Windows? On my drive I have a live install of Ubuntu Linux to show potential clients a free OS. Also Ubuntu is very handy when I have a machine that wont boot but I need to get files off the hard drive. (saves me from pulling the drive out) Also there is always Windows to go.  This takes an enterprise version of Windows 8.1 and the drives it will run on are a bit pricey compared to the 16gb Sandisk I have but if you want a full version of windows that can fit in your pocket, its a way to go.

Ready boost

Ready boost is an under utilized feature but its a great use for those smaller thumb drives, drives that have odd shapes, and a great use of the SD card port on a laptop. (I almost never use SD cards for anything else) Ready boost adds extra virtual memory to the system and since flash has higher read/write speeds then the hard drive its a can add a little more oomph to an older system.

Wireless network settings

For some reason wireless keys, are  never remembered. For many networks I setup a small thumb drive that has the settings for the wireless network. Go to manage wireless networks, and select properties. I get  the option of installing the network profile to a usb drive.  All I got to do is plug it in and the machine is online.  Also I can add the installers for the printer and scanners on the network to the same drive.

Tool Box

I have several tools to help recover files, remove Malware, recover software keys and generally de-gunk a computer.  The good news is that most of the tools that are on my drive are available for free. The ones I want to point out are the Sysinternals suite. (A collection of tools that run very well of the drive) and the software from Piriform (Ccleaner, Deffraggler, Speccy, Recuva) . All of them have portable versions and have been a great help.  Also if you have the space having the service packs for the MS OS’s is handy.

Your own “private” browser

Now how would you like a browser you could keep with you, with its own set of book marks, with its own history independent to what ever computer you plug it in to? For me I use Fire Fox portable. It’s handy to have all my bookmarks, and my home page tabs.  This also give me a reliable portal out to the internet to get updates for my tools (anti virus definitions) without going through a a browser that might be infected.

Also you can store stuff

Yes you can store stuff to the cloud, or you can just keep everything on your hard drive.  However the worst kept secret about hard drives is that they eventually fail.  The second worst kept is that for every drive that last 10 years without failing there is one that fails in the first year.  The cloud is only as secure as the user.  Forget hacks, mostly stuff is compromised on the cloud do to carelessness of users with weak passwords, or there devices. Also these drives are great to keep separate data organized.  A drive for each of your kids stuff, a drive just for family albums, a drive for “special information” (that for under no circumstances should ever be confused with the drive for your kids!)

If there is one thing that I don’t like about thumb drives is that since they’re small, and compact that they can be misplaced. It is one the reason why I wear mine around my neck. So I encourage you all to wear your nerd necklaces proudly.  Also if you need any help with what you should keep or how you should keep your data please let us know and if you have any ideas for using USB drives that I have not talked about please speak up. I am Joe Serrago and “I teach computers how to behave themselves. ” Lantners Light card with contact info



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