USB flash drives are small, portable, and have many uses. Here are two uses for USB flash drives you probably didn’t know.
Yes you can. All you need are speakers or earphones, Windows Media Player, and a USB flash drive loaded with your favorite MP3 music files. Just plug in your flash drive, slip on your headphones, direct Windows Media Player to the files on your hard drive…and enjoy. Window Media Player (included with Windows XP, Vista and 7) will even allow you to make playlist so you can play your songs in any order you want.
2. Use your USB flash drive to lock your computer
There’s a small program called Predator that you can install on a USB drive that allows you to use that USB drive to lock your computer. It does this by disabling your keyboard, monitor and mouse whenever you remove the special USB drive from your computer. Simply remove the flash drive and your computer is locked, until you return and insert the flash drive back into a USB port on your computer. So what Predator does is turn a USB flash drive into a key that locks and unlocks your computer. It’s really great if you travel and take a notebook with you or if you don’t want people snooping around your PC when you’re not home. EB? Is that you?
Here’s some details on Predator from the program’s developer:
“PREDATOR locks your PC when you are away, even if your Windows session is still opened. It uses a regular USB flash drive as an access control device, and works as follows:
* you insert the USB drive
* you run PREDATOR (autostart with Windows is possible)
* you do your work…
* when you’re away from your PC, you simply remove the USB drive:
once it is removed, the keyboard and mouse are disabled and the screen darkens
* when you return back to your PC, you put the USB flash drive in place:
keyboard and mouse are immediately released, and the display is restored.
It’s easier and faster than closing your Windows session, since you do not have to retype your password when you return.
Advanced Security Features:
* PREDATOR records all security-related events in a log file: start, alarms, stop. By reading this log, you will know if intruders have tried to use your computer while you have been away.
* PREDATOR can replicate this log on your Twitter account, allowing you to remotely monitor all access-control activity on your PC.
* PREDATOR frequently changes the security codes recorded on your USB drive. If an intruder manages to copy your stick, this copy will not work because the codes on your own stick will have changed in the meantime.
* PREDATOR disables the Windows task manager when you unplug the USB drive. Nobody can stop it with Ctrl-Alt-Del.
* PREDATOR lets you regain control of your computer if you lose your stick: when you start the software for the first time, you set a password that will unlock your session if your USB drive is not available.
* PREDATOR can sound an audible alarm if somebody enters an invalid password.
* And finally, PREDATOR can protect several PCs with the same USB flash drive, e.g. your home and office computers.
With PREDATOR, security is as simple as inserting or removing a USB stick !”
Great idea. Isn’t it? Predator is free for home/personal use. If you have a flash drive and you want to turn it into a key to lock your computer, then visit this page to learn more about Predator.
Loved the tip about using a USB drive to lock your computer – good stuff – thanks!