I purchased the SanDisk Ultra Fit 32GB from a local supermarket and am planning on installing the latest version of Ubuntu Desktop (not live, but the actual version), onto the nano thumb drive and use the computer's hard drive for the main storage of the home directories, media files etc.

Would this:

  • Reduce the lifespan of the flash drive?
  • Cause unrecoverable damage if the flash drive was accidentally removed?
  • Dramatically decrease the system's overall performance?

The reason for me doing this is the desire to switch from Mint to Ubuntu. But I don't want to reformat the hard drive until I am satisfied Ubuntu is what I really want to use. So, the plan is to use the USB setup for a few weeks until I've made a final decision as to which operating system I prefer.

  • Meant to leave an answer... – Noah Spurrier Mar 25 '16 at 22:32
  1. Yes, heavy I/O usage should logically 'Reduce the lifespan of the flash drive'.

  2. Probably not. You'll loose a bit of non-synced data, and might need to run the filesystem check.

  3. Yes. USB2 is much slower then SATA interface, ...USB3 is better, but still, many flash drives are not as fast as HDDs.

Good luck.

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Yes, do it. Stop worrying. As for your concerns:

Reduce the lifespan of the drive: Yes, technically, but not such that you would likely notice. It's fine. It's been 10 years since I've worried about this issue with flash. I've never had a problem. I've used a SanDisk Extreme 32GB USB3 flash drive as a 24-hours a day security video recorder for weeks at a time. I've had no issues with it.

Cause unrecoverable damage: Do you mean to the USB flash drive or to your primary internal drive? In either case, no. Journaled filesystems will recover. You might loose some of the last data that was being written to disk. You won't cause permanent physical damage. The OS will reboot and recover quickly.

Dramatically decrease the system's overall performance: No. I would be surprised if you would even notice the difference. Even USB2 speeds are usable. The SanDisk Ultra Fit is not the fastest USB flash drive that SanDisk makes, but it's likely faster than most mechanical hard drives you would stick in your laptop.

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