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Gadgets

Get an 8GB flash drive for $15.99 shipped

Plus, learn five cool things you can do with that kind of mobile-storage goodness, including rescuing a malware-infested PC and installing Windows 7 on a Netbook.

8GB of ultra-versatile mobile storage for $16? Too good to pass up! Crucial

A flash drive is arguably the single most practical computer accessory you can own. They have countless uses (more on that in a bit), and in recent years they've gotten dirt-cheap.

Case in point: Newegg has the Crucial 8GB Gizmo flash drive for $15.99 shipped. (Update: Looks like the price is up to $21.99 today--and the bonus deal is sold out! Gotta act fast on this stuff.) That's not the best price I've ever seen, but it's still a bargain--especially considering that the list price is $29.99.

The Gizmo offers no special features to speak of, just 8GB of keychain-friendly mobile storage. It does have a "blue LED key ring area" that glows when data is being transferred, though I can't quite figure that out because it looks to me like the keyring hole is in the cap. Whatever.

The drive is compatible with just about every operating system, and Crucial backs it with a two-year warranty.

So, what good is a flash drive these days? Let's see, you can use one to rescue a malware-infested PC; install Windows 7 on a Netbook; sync your Dropbox files; and carry around a couple dozen incredibly handy programs.

And let's not forget the obvious: Flash drives are great for making on-the-fly backups of important files, moving data from one PC to another, and improving the performance of Windows 7 systems.

Did I forget anything? Share your favorite flash-drive functions in the comments. In the meantime, check out this recent post on turning your iPhone or iPod into a flash drive. After all, why spend extra money if you can leverage existing gear?

Bonus deal: If this drive sells out and/or you don't like removable caps, Meritline has a RiDATA 8GB flash drive for just a buck more ($16.95 shipped). It has a retractable USB connector, so there's no cap to lose.