Pen drives aka USB flash drives are common and cheaper these days . We use them in our daily life mainly for data transfer, but there are myriad other uses with this device. Mentioned here are some .
Run Portable Applications
Lots of portable application are available to download. You can even download an app suite you prefer from portableapps.com. Another portable privacy suite is available from DemocraKey. So take your apps with you wherever you go.
Preview of Portableapps Suite
Installation, Maintenance & Troubleshooting
You can use flash drive to install windows, Ubuntu linux etc.
You can also host virus removal tools like Kaspersky virus removal tool and maintenance tools like registry cleaners, defrag tools etc. Another such troubleshooting utility is the Hiren’s boot disk, which can be made to boot from a USB flash drive.
Tutorial to install Windows from USB link
Get apps from pendriveapps.com
Get Hirens Boot CD from hirensbootcd.org
Carry An Alternate Operating System With You
Linux variants that can be booted from USB flash drives are available nowadays. Windows can be modded to run from USB.
Get them here Puppylinux, Damnsmalllinux, xubuntu
Install Win XP on USB flash drive link
Automated Backup Device Or As Portable MP3 Player
Automate backup of your documents to a flash drive as soon you plug in the device with the help of Microsoft SyncToy.
You can also use flash drive as an mp3 player along with windows media player, copy your music files to your USB flash drive and build a library in it with windows media player. XBMC Live is a versatile portable software which can manage and playback multimedia files.
Carry Sensitive Data
You can use flash drive to transport sensitive data, but you need to encrypt them first. Rohos Mini Drive offers password protection/encryption. USB SafeGuard offers advanced AES 256-bit encryption and a setting for data self-destruction if the password is entered wrong too many times.
Get Rohos Mini Drive
Get USB SafeGuard
Password Reset Disk Or A Key To Access Several PCs
Windows offers the feature of creating a password reset disk and you need to create it before you forget it. There are alternatives like TRK to reset Windows password.
Free software like Predator can convert your flash drive into an all in one key to access several PCs. Predator will lock-down your terminal as soon as you unplug the USB and to unlock your PC just plug it back in.
Steps to create password reset disk link
Using TRK to reset Windows password link
Improve PC Performance With Ready Boost
Microsoft offers a performance boosting feature called ready boost in Windows Vista and 7, this feature works by using frees space on your flash drive as extra RAM. So, if you own a faster pen drive, just plug it in, right click on the drive’s icon in My Computer, click Tools and then the Ready Boost tab.
Portable Web Server
You can put a full web server that supports most features in your pen drive. Most common preconfigured server is the XAMPP Lite, Server2Go is another one.
Read more about XAMPP Lite
Read more about Server2Go