I was wondering what the difference between running and trying Ubuntu and I was also wondering if there was any downfall to running Ubuntu on a USB drive.

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  • Running (or installing) Ubuntu usually means you put it permanently on your hard disk, either by itself or alongside Windows, etc. You use it every day, all your documents/settings are saved, just like Windows.
  • Trying Ubuntu usually means you start it from a Live-CD or a Live-USB. You can use it for the duration of that session, but your saved documents/changes/etc. are lost when you shut the computer down (although you can set up "persistence" to prevent that).
  • Running Ubuntu from a USB drive is possible, either using persistence or actually installing to the drive as if it were a hard drive. The downsides include:
    1. Slow: Regular USB "stick/flash" drives are nowhere near as fast as hard drives, and it will show, possibly detracting from your experience.
    2. Lower life:: The frequent writes/swapping done by an operating system may be injurious to the health of your flash drive. e.g. it may only last one year instead of a normal five.
    3. Limited space: If you intend to use Ubuntu for a decent period of time and/or use it for multimedia (movies, music, etc.), you will eventually run out of space even if you get, say, a 32 GB flash drive. That doesn't happen with hard drives, which are typically much larger.

Try Ubuntu or Install Ubuntu when installing

Makes no difference, I use them interchangeably when installing Ubuntu.

Try Ubuntu gives a chance to prepare the target disk in GParted or double check the partition table, but it can be prepared in "Something else" just as easy.

Choosing Install Ubuntu is slightly more direct.

Both have all the same options, the end results are the same.

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