Security, safety, ease of repair, USB Flash Drives are more than just storage, they're a great way to run your safe copy Linux or Windows on -any- machine that can boot from USB!
USB flash drives are the unofficial replacement for the floppy disk. From sharing files to running applications, anything you could do with a floppy you can do with a USB flash drive... including booting an entire OS.
And with sizes ranging anywhere from 1GB to 32GB you can still have massive amounts of storage on the same thumbdrive in case you want to run it off a machine you can't save or don't want to save data to.
We take you through the process of booting Linux or Windows from a thumbdrive from start to finish in this week's episode.
Before you begin you'll need two very important things. A PC with a BIOS that will let you boot from a USB flash drive and a USB flash drive you can boot from. Not all USB flash drives are equal so there's a bit of trial and error and testing you'll need to do to see if a USB flash drive is bootable unless you can find a reseller that explicitly sells them as such.
If you're wanting Linux boot, which is actually easier to do, check out Pendrivelinux. Probably one of the best resources on creating bootable USB flash Linux installs. For Ubuntu fans, build 8.10 now has a utility to create a bootable Ubuntu flash drive as part of the LiveCD distro.