I've got an Ubuntu installed on an USB-drive for portable use. It's a regular install and not a live USB. Needless to say, it's a Flash-based storage and only 16 GB. What can I do to extend its life?

N.B. Currently my main PC is missing a HDD so the USB-drive is in regular use. I'm afraid that I've already shaved off quite a bit of its life.


Since the life of SSD is more affected by writes (than by readers) I would recommend two things:

1) Do not use a swap partition,

2) Edit the fstab to ad noatime for the mounted partitions:
gksu gedit /etc/fstab

It should looks like this:
UUID=something / ext4 errors=remount-ro,noatime 0 1

Also you may like to check this: How do I optimize the OS for SSDs?

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  • What exactly does noatime do? Forgive me if it's already mentioned in the link, but this is before reading it. Swap isn't used much (or at all), as far as I can tell, so I'd prefer to keep it in case of emergency need. – Oxwivi Sep 1 '11 at 17:46
  • This options tells to system not to write the information of when the file or folder was accessed. Check this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fstab#Common_options_to_all_filesystems – desgua Sep 1 '11 at 18:00


Probably the easiest way to prolong the USB stick life is to use the "toram" feature of a Live Environment boot.

This will boot the entire live CD/USB into RAM and therefore reduce/eliminate further USB disk accesses.

to-do - press F6 using the boot sequence and add toram to the boot string before the end -- i.e. .... toram --

edit - not at my ubuntu - possibly TORAM=yes - I'll check later.

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  • Since it's being used in place of a HDD, it's not a live installation (I would've mentioned if it was). – Oxwivi Sep 1 '11 at 12:22
  • ok - its a full install - not a persistent install? Worth adding that into your question to clarify. – fossfreedom Sep 1 '11 at 12:24
  • Useful tip. Could you please clarify, as currently the answer is a bit vague? – landroni Feb 7 '14 at 13:20

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