Smart ways to use USB

Latest modification: 1 March 2023

The primary purpose of a USB flash drive, also known as a memory stick, is to store files. Because of the easy way to connect and disconnect a flash drive, it is often used to transfer data between different devices. However, there are many more or less sophisticated ways in which you can make great use of the undiscovered potential of these devices. Discover the most interesting ones!

All we need is a USB stick, of course, and we will list the additional necessary accessories and steps separately in each topic.


1. Portable applications always at hand

If we use a particular program, it is worth checking whether it comes in a ‘portable’ version. For example, many programs for PC health monitoring (e.g. temperatures) have portable versions.

A portable is a version of the program that does not require the installation of any additional files or libraries. Everything the program needs to function properly is in the “.exe” file. Such versions are ideal when combined with a portable flash drive.


2. The AutoRun feature for programs

Let’s start with one of the more interesting features, namely the automatic running of any application that is on a memory stick. To do this, we will need a memory stick, and:
– The application we want to run stored on the memory stick – A desktop computer or laptop for preparation – A basic notepad (other text documents like ‘Word’ are not recommended as they use a different encoding)

Once the application we are interested in has been prepared on the memory stick, we simply need to:

  1. Create a new text document (notepad) in the root directory of the flash drive
  2. Type in the notepad[Autorun] Open=”ApplicationName”.exe
    Action=Start “ApplicationName.exe
    Label=My Portable PC
  3. The final step is to save the notepad as “autorun.inf” also in the root directory of the flash drive.

From now on, when we connect the flash drive to the desktop computer or laptop, the application of our choice will automatically appear. Easy, isn’t it?


3. Additional hardware security

A USB flash drive can be used as a system key to further secure our desktop computer or laptop. Once such a USB key has been prepared, we will not be able to start the system without the USB flash drive connected. Interestingly, it is the data that is on our memory stick that will not be lost and we can still use our device to transfer or store files.

To prepare such a key correctly, it is advisable to use free software that is available on the web. A fully accessible configuration wizard will guide the user step-by-step through the process.


4. A bootable USB flash drive with the system

Every self-taught desktop or laptop user should have an installer for their system in order to possibly repair, recover or install a new system in case of a problem. Up to now, CD/DVD installers have been the most common, but if we do not have one, we can easily prepare our own bootable USB flash drive.

To do this, we additionally need the installation file from the official Microsoft.

All we need to do is run the downloaded file, then select our connected USB flash drive and follow the wizard’s instructions to the very end.


5. More RAM

If we have a USB stick with a capacity of more than 1GB that is unused and the system is running slowly, it is worth using it to expand our RAM. All we need to do is use a built-in Windows® feature called ‘ReadyBoost’.

ReadyBoost is a feature that allows us to increase our computer’s operating memory by using a memory stick or an SD card as a caching device. This feature has been available since 2007 and came with the release of Windows Vista. Using this option improves the boot speed of the system and speeds up office programs. Unfortunately, it changes virtually nothing for games on lower-performance computers.


6. Your own mini games console

It is possible to turn a flash drive into a small games console from the 1980s based on an emulator. Games from over thirty years ago take up a per mille of space on a memory stick compared to today’s games. This means that we can always carry a sizeable library of titles with us, which we can launch at any time. We will be able to play titles such as Kong or Pac Man. Sounds tempting?


7. Personal Wikipedia

It is possible to download the full Wikipedia. It can be carried with you at all times. The English-language version is the largest and takes up about 17GB, but other versions (including the Polish one) take up around 15GB. Thus, it is possible to have an entire online encyclopaedia in a small pocket that will not require an Internet connection to function properly, which can sometimes prove helpful and useful.



There is a lot you can do with a portable USB stick, and you are only limited by your imagination. The suggestions made are only a small part of the ideas that come to mind.

If you like any of the ideas or we’ve inspired you to do something different, share your idea in our Social Media and choose your own Goodram USB flash drive HERE.