You know those spare USB flash drives you have in your desk drawer unused since you’ve been a progressive-techie and switched to the cloud? Turns out there are more things those little guys can do besides hold files and folders. Here are the top 5 alternative uses for spare USB flash drives:

Run Programs: With free open source software from the web like PortableApps, you can run “portable” programs from a USB flash drive. This means you can use your friend’s laptop and your own software without installing anything on their machine.

It’s Save-the-Day Flash Drive to the Rescue: Take a spare flash drive and load it with Linux and Windows operating systems so you can reboot and salvage your friend’s and family’s computers suffering from software issues.

Turn it into a Key: Do you store sensitive stuff on your laptop? Turn your flash drive into a security key by loading it with a free program like Predator which only allows your laptop to be in use when the flash drive is plugged in.

Improve Performance: Performance enhancement programs like ReadyBoost for Windows Vista are available online and can be run straight from a USB flash drive to your computer for a faster running computer.

Test a Website: Web developers in particular might find this handy: flash drives can hold programs like Server2Go which allows you to run and test web sites straight from a flash drive.