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Just got a new USB thumb drive and now have a spare 8GB one laying around. Just curious as to what people do with their spare ones.

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14 Answers 14

The make great 'economy' gifts :) Using it for backups is always an option.

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Modding is fun!

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Lol, i can see it now: "What brand of lipstick you got there?" "Oh, just a Sandisk 8GB USB 2.0." The second one i'd set up with a switch between controller and drive and load up all my emulators on :) –  RCIX Nov 28 '09 at 11:19
    
The second one would be a pretty cool external HDD. –  ekaj Aug 2 '12 at 16:12

I use it as my high-senstive data storage like passwords, documents, etc. Encrypted with Keepass for Passwords and TrueCrypt.

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Are you using Windows Vista or 7? You can use it for ReadyBoost to increase your system's performance.

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Ehhhhhhhhhhh. It depends on your system. If you already have enough RAM, ReadyBoost actually hurts performance in a lot of situations. –  MDMarra Dec 4 '09 at 11:55
    
Also depends on the speed the device can perform at. Older ones are probably not fast enough. –  Bratch Dec 5 '09 at 3:11

Handy for a pre-selection of music, now that some audio systems also handle USB data drives.

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I'll have it! Just lost mine.

Otherwise: lifehacker: turn your spare thumb drives into feature packed giveaway drives

Old hardware hack projects

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+1 for link to the Lifehacker article. That's a great article on what to do with spare usb drives. –  ephilip Dec 4 '09 at 12:57

I always keep my spare ones in places where I think I will need them the most (laptop bags, inside coats I wear to business meetings). There is nothing worse than thinking you have a thumb drive on you to suddenly realise you don't...

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Build a live linux boot, Debian Live, RecoveryIsPossible or The Ultimate Boot CD stick to always have a first aid kit with you.

The Debian Live version that comes without any GUI is particularly nice recovery tool, because you can wipe disks, fix OS files and all that even on machine that's too broken to run desktop environment.

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I've used mine to make a portable toolkit with various anti-malware utilities, defragers, disk recovery utilities, etc.

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Try random free OS that can be installed to a flash drive, like Ubuntu or Haiku OS or the new Chrome OS (Download Here).

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I put ubuntu on it incase my harddrive fails, everything is already there to be able to do some work.

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I would setup Ubuntu to all boot from it, making it either ready to install on others' computers, or as a full-fledged all installed OS, where I can keep my Linux files and folders.

The third option is to use that as the "home" directory across different installations/distros, so you always keep the same set of data files, regardless of Linux setup or (if you really need) Windows. All you need to do under Linux is to setup the /etc/fstab file to mount the USB device as a sub-dir of your home directory. Under Windows, that's another story, as you're never sure on which drive letter it will mount.

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www.portableapps.com

or put gparted on it

or a disk recovery tool like SpinRite www.grc.com

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care to go into details on how one would set up a bootable usb stick with gparted on it? Sounds useful! –  pbr Dec 10 '09 at 4:28

Spare USB drive? What is this spare usb drive of which you speak?

JK. I have several drives that are used for a variety of purposes. One for school, one as a portable tool kit, one for secure storage. I even have one I carry to swim meets with the various forms I need on it.

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