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We all love our USB drives, don’t we? You should probably be using some portable apps on your USB drive – if not, check out our huge list of portable applications for your USB drive here 100 Portable Apps for your USB Stick (for Mac and Win) 100 Portable Apps for your USB Stick (for Mac and Win) Read More .

In this post, I want to cover a few apps that will make managing your USB drive easier. In essence, I’ll talk about tools that can be used to make things easier if you’ve got a USB drive – not about apps that work from your drive.

So here we go – five applications to make things easier if you’re using a USB thumb drive.

1) Prevent Virus Infections on your USB Thumb Drive with ThumbScrew

thumbscrew1If you’re working on a system that’s probably infected with viruses, you wouldn’t want to see your USB thumb drive get infected by the same – they probably have some backups of your data that you cannot afford to lose. However, if you’re in an inevitable situation where you really have to access the USB drive, do so after you install ThumbScrew.

ThumbScrew can be used to write-protect your USB drive so that malware from your computer doesn’t spread to it. Download and launch the app, right click the System Tray icon and choose “˜Make USB Read Only’. Nothing could be written to the USB Drive, you’re completely protected from infections spreading to your disk from your computer.

2) Eject USB Devices Quickly with USB Disk Eject

usbdiskejectLet’s admit it. Windows does give you options to eject your USB drives – we all use that by clicking on the “˜Safely Remove Hardware’ option in the System Tray. But have you ever thought it’s too cumbersome and the list confuses you more than helps you remove that particular device?

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People who’ve got multiple USB Devices connected to their system will have really felt this annoyance as the hardware remove dialog doesn’t make it clear which option removes what device.

Here’s the way out: Download this tiny but functional app called USB Disk Eject. Just double-click when you need to remove a USB drive and a window will pop up listing the devices connected to your system via USB. Each device is labelled clearly and legibly. Just double-click on the one that you want to get removed and you’re done. Much quicker, I’d say.

3) Access USB Drives Quickly with Desk Drive

DeskDrive is somewhat similar to the above application, but it’s for keyboard junkies. Mark just mentioned it a few days ago here on Make Use Of. I’ve been using it since yesterday, and I couldn’t help thinking why Windows doesn’t have this feature by default.

Here’s a summary of the app: DeskDrive puts shortcuts to your USB drives on your desktop immediately after you insert them. Quick access. That’s pretty much it. For more, head on to Mark’s post Desk Drive : Get Instant Shortcuts To Removable Drives Desk Drive : Get Instant Shortcuts To Removable Drives Read More or download the app directly from here.

4) Autorun Apps from your USB Drive with USB Autorun Maker

How many times have you browsed through those myriad of folders to launch that one particular app that you always run from your USB drive? Why not make it autorun so that the application launches immediately when you open the drive icon?

autoru8n

Yep, that’s possible, thanks to a utility called USB Autorun. Download USB Autorun (direct link), and use the options in the system tray icon to build an autorun.inf file. You’ll have to specify which app should be run automatically, and click “˜Build’ and the autorun maker will create an autorun.inf file that tells Windows that a particular app should be launched. No big thing to do here – you just need to specify the path where the app is present. Please note that this software is shareware, so there are some limitations.

5) Backup Files to your USB Drive with SyncToy

How many times have you copy-pasted those folders in Windows to back up your most important data and got fed up copy-pasting back and forth? Just relax, and get the SyncToy tool from Microsoft.

Install the Synctoy application, specify what directory should be copied to where – it’s called a “˜folder pair’ in Synctoy (here in this case, the directory where your files should be put in should be somewhere in your USB Drive) and then just press the Run button for the backup operation to take place. For an in depth guide, check out our previous guide on syncing your USB Drive How to Sync Files between PC and USB Thumb Drive? How to Sync Files between PC and USB Thumb Drive? Read More . I bet this software will probably save you from a lot of frustration. ;)

What other apps have made working with your USB devices easier? Let us know in the comments. I’m all ears!

  1. simrangoyal
    November 30, 2016 at 11:50 am

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  2. Stefan
    January 12, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Great set of tools. Been using most of them, except for Desk Drive.

  3. Data Protection
    October 19, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    I find great benefit from USB Disk Eject. I usually have several USB drives plugged into my PC, so when that screen comes up asking me which drive to remove, I sometimes pick the wrong choice. I have been lucky that my thumb drives have not been damaged by this, but I would rather not try to figure out how many times I can get away with it. I like this program because it displays the unique name, which I assigned to each USB drive to keep them separated.

  4. mark
    August 21, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    i rarely give comments,but a great article well done

  5. Nischal Shetty
    November 30, 2008 at 7:12 am

    Nice app list for usb's you got here. I would love to give the "autorun maker" a try ;)

  6. Devicepedia
    October 30, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    I really need that thumbscrew because im frequently using my usb in cyber cafes and always got infected by various viruses, thanks shankar!

  7. milla
    September 14, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    use i-kill prog for best secure usb
    thanks

  8. chocol8stardust
    June 18, 2008 at 2:51 am

    Ever heard of portableapps.com? check out the different apps you can use on your usb. they have all the cool stuff there.

  9. Clive
    June 11, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Here's another way to protect the data on your thumbdrive. Not only from foolish removal before using ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ or 'USB Disk Eject', but also system crashes & power failure.

    1. Open 'My Computer'.
    2. In the 'Devices with removable storage' list select a thumdrive by right clicking on it.
    3. Select 'Properties'
    4. 'Hardware' tab
    5. 'Properties' button
    6. 'Policies' tab
    7. Un-tick 'enable write caching'

  10. Shankar Ganesh
    June 11, 2008 at 6:39 am

    Thanks, everyone. I'm really glad you guys came to know about these new apps ;)

  11. Aibek
    June 11, 2008 at 4:48 am

    As always, great article Shankar. I only knew about Synctoy and DeskDrive.

  12. Marc
    June 11, 2008 at 3:19 am

    USB Disk Eject: "But have you ever thought it’s too cumbersome and the list confuses you more than helps you remove that particular device?"

    Yes, very much so... if you right-click on the 'Safely Remove Hardware' icon. Left-click on it and it gives you a list of your drives with drive letters. So while USB Disk Ejector looks nice, I'm personally not going to run yet another program just to do what Windows already does. What could be useful to those who use a USB menu application (for running things off their drive) is its command-line options (mentioned on its site).

  13. mmhan
    June 10, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Great set of tools. Been using most of them, except for Desk Drive.

    As for syncing, I've been using Toucan portable which also allows me to encrypt the files.

  14. Zia
    June 11, 2008 at 3:47 am

    Two other tools worth a mention:

    ozSync: a neat back-up utility

    and

    NeoCrypt: Encryption solution

    • Shankar Ganesh
      June 11, 2008 at 6:41 am

      They're indeed some good tools. Thank ya!

  15. James P
    June 10, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Windows is the longest path from Linux to Linux.

    1: Right click a drive in KDE; choose read only. Installed by default.

    2: Unmount (Safely Remove) drives: Right-click - Safely Remove.

    3: KDE, xfce4 and GDM all do this. By default.

    4: KDE has functionality to build a great autorun program. On Windows? It's a security risk.

    5: rsync. 'Nuff said.

    All these things I thought were standard. =/

  16. Petrie0129
    June 10, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Allway Sync is really good for synchronizing between 2 folders, and it can be set up to automatically synchronize the jobs you've set up.

    I want to give that Thumbscrew a try though. Thanks for the list. Great article.

    • Aibek
      June 11, 2008 at 4:46 am

      Can we get a link please

  17. website design
    June 10, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    truly awesome. most are new tools to help you get more out of your USB thumb drive.

  18. Rockstar Sid
    June 10, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Sticked to the point..Excellent article buddy!

  19. Madhur Kapoor
    June 10, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Great article Shankar. I have never used any of these.

  20. Bret
    June 10, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Most people carry around one of these little devices to make file transportation easy; however, everyone can further extend a thumb drive's usefulness with any one of the apps on your list. Great post and probably an often overlooked topic.

  21. Pallab
    June 10, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Awesome article shankar.
    The only app that I had heard of and used is Thumbscrew.

  22. Keith Dsouza
    June 10, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Quite an awesome list Shankar. I have never even known about most of these tools :)

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