Sharon Vaknin over at c|net published a really neat article about this. Thank you!
Many will know one or more of the uses below, but I didn't know them all, so I figured you might find something to interest yourself which might help in the future.
1. Locking and unlocking your computer: Using “Predator” (http://www.predator-usb.com/predator/en/index.php) an excellent, free software security app. Not only that, it will protect your computer even if stolen since it changes security codes. Also, if lost, you set a special password to access your computer without the USB drive.
2. Revive a virus infected system (well, you knew that one).
3. Run portable apps, games and utilities.
4. Install and test drive Windows 8.
5. Giving Linux a try.
6. Securing your documents and files… but remember to encrypt them.
7. Computer maintenance: “Parted Magic” – to use it make sure your computer’s BIOS is set to “Boot from USB device”. It has a whole bunch of apps with it. The article here:
Will tell you about it and how to run it. You can download it here:
Also, the “UNetbootin” utility - UNetbootin allows you to create bootable Live USB drives for Ubuntu, Fedora, and other Linux distributions without burning a CD.
It can also be used to load various System Utilities including:
- Parted Magic, a partition manager that can resize, repair, backup, and restore partitions.
- SystemRescueCD, a system repair, backup and recovery tool.
- Super Grub Disk, a boot utility that can restore and repair overwritten and misconfigured GRUB installs or directly boot various operating systems
- Dr.Web Antivirus, F-Secure Rescue CD, and Kaspersky Rescue Disk, which remove malware from Windows installs.
- Backtrack, a utility used for network analysis and penetration testing.
- Ophcrack, a utility which can recover Windows passwords.
- NTPasswd, a utility which can reset Windows passwords and edit the registry.
- Gujin, a graphical bootloader that can also be used to boot various operating systems and media.
- Smart Boot Manager (SBM), which can boot off CD-ROM and floppy drives on computers with a faulty BIOS.
- FreeDOS, which can run BIOS flash and other legacy DOS utilities.
8. Install Windows 7 on a Macbook.
9 Turn it into “a last miute” gift, especially if you’ve loaded it with rescue utilities (and fave cookie recipes).
The original article mentions all of the above and for the tenth use? Donate your “extra ones”. Just make sure to format that USB drive before doing that!
The original article is well worth reading, as each of the uses is linked to a "how to" article about that topic.