Not to worry about the hard drive anymore

Derek Broughton derek at
Sun Apr 5 12:29:43 UTC 2009

Carl Friis-Hansen wrote:

> Karl F. Larsen wrote:
>> John Heinen wrote:
>>> Is a possible to install, erase and install a different op program such
>>> as   ubuntu or kubuntu, puppy linnux, suse, on a flash drive
>>     Sure. But the flash drives are rated by how many you can do. It's
>> usually rated at 1000 or more so It's not a problem.
> Karl, you are actually into something here, I never thought about it.  But
> as you say, the flash drives have limited number of writes before they
> begin to fail.  I am sure the original poster will never write new OS'es
> on it more than a 1000 times (or is it not 10000).

At least.

> However, if you use 
> the flash drive to hold a workable, bootable image, then loads of writing
> is going to happen all the time the computer is running.  In the view of
> this, I fail to see that one can have his/her boot-image-on-a-stick
> working for very long.  The only exception to this is of cause when
> running Linux Live CD image from the stick, as these images do not write
> anything.

No image needs to write _much_.  Your linux-on-a-stick would need to ensure
that it has a swap partition on the HD, and /tmp in tmpfs.  Provided you
can do that, then the vast majority of writing will occur on the HD, not
the stick.

Then you have to consider whether you want the flash drive synced.  Normally
USB sticks are mounted so that writes are delayed (which is why you
get "safely remove" options in most OSes - the write doesn't actually occur
until you want to unmount the filesystem).  This could have frightening
results if you're doing all your work on files on the stick!  However, if
you _do_ sync the drive, then you're using up it's available life.  I'm not
sure what balance Netbooks, with pure flash drive systems, take.

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