If you found a clean spare USB stick what would you do with it?

Let’s say you had a 1 gigabyte one, a 4 gigabyte one, and a 16 gigabyte one.
Curious what yall would do with it.

I would encrypt it and store data on it… whatever data I may have that would fit on that drive.

Alternatively, install an OS on that flash drive and use it as a portable VPN server.


Do you mean what we would we do if we found a USB just lying around somewhere? Or do you mean what would we do if had some spare USBs that we like bought and knew were trustworthy?

If it’s the former you leave that thing where you found it, or at least I would.

If it’s the latter, maybe I would play with writing a live boot OS like Tails. Otherwise I use cloud storage to take care of anything I would need a USB for. Used to carry one around with me, but not anymore.

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What am I gonna do with a 1GB flash drive? Even a 16GB :laughing:


  1. I’d likely just put Linux on it and wait until I eventually corrupt my system. (I’ve done it before haha)

  2. Maybe I’d fill it with some useful scripts (non-malicious) that run when you plug them into your computer. @InternetGhost :wink:

  3. Lastly, I might fill the drive with portable/installable tools in case I needed them on the fly.


For the 1GB stick, I’d probably flash one of those super tiny, super lightweight Linux distros on it and create a VM on my main machine. 4GB would probably be a Linux Mint ISO. 16GB I might as well encrypt and store my files on!

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I had two 32 GB flash drives lying around. I decided to use them as follows:

  • One serves as a portable Ventoy installation with several GNU/Linux ISOs (ArcoLinux, my daily driver; Rescatux for when I break my systems and, mostly for nostalgic reasons, Linux Mint). The rest of the space is used as a portable storage for useful files (thanks to Ventoy flexibility), scripts etc. which I might need, as stated above, on the fly, wherever I am.
  • I have just flashed the second flash drive with a fresh Tails installation to have around when anything sensitive needs to be done. I have not used Tails before, but thanks to the spare flash drive, I am eager to try it out.

That would cover the 16 GB and 32 GB flash drives from the question. As for the 1 GB one, I have one empty flash drive for whenever I need to bring a presentation for an event, just a few files to pass to someone in person etc.

Furthermore, I am constantly carrying around another empty 32 GB flash drive for any occasion, just in case. Used a few times here and there. It might be a bit excessive, but I am not going anywhere without my backpack and the flash drive weights nothing, so I can have one there all the time. The others are stored in my notebook bag, so this way I always have at least the empty one in my backpack and when needed, the others whenever I go somewhere prepared to do some work.

I have been thinking about having one flash drive with a full Arch system (ArcoLinux probably in my case, even though any stable distro might be a better idea) just in case everything goes wrong with all my devices. This way I could continue working on anything I have been previously working on. Addressing the issues only when I have free time to spare and not having to worry about fixing the issues immediately to have any working system at hand.

I am now thinking that the USB drives would probably be better off encrypted. There are no sensitive data, but it might be worth nonetheless, I believe. Well, when I have some time…


Encrypt it and store sensitive files, then keep that flash drive in a secure area and access only in case of emergency. Stuff that you would need incase your house burnt down for example. You can also back up a keypassxc database file so you don’t lose any locally stored passwords. Obviously depends on the size of the drive but this is what I would personally do.

Encrypt and store data

Toss them. Have what I need and don’t need more stuff to keep track of.

Can you share some scripts with us as well??

what kind of scripts?

This is not precisely the proper place for script sharing… Not to mention, I can only test the scripts I write on Linux as I left Windows permanently. It’s fantastic that you are interested though :grinning:.

I write my scripts in python using a combo of modules including pyautogui. I recommend that you start there if you want to manipulate your laptop.

Usually, there are just some setup scripts, easing the process of customizing a newly installed distro with my preferred settings. A few scripts testing the current state of the system etc. However, seeing as I have not had a problem with any of my systems in forever (which is surprising, as I am tinkering with my systems all the time), they will be pretty outdated, I imagine. I should really go through them and clean them up (read as “get rid of most of them”). Nothing privacy or security-wise, sadly.

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