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View Full Version : Booting off a USB 2.0 Flash drive?


Strahd
01-23-06, 04:51 PM
Has anyone tried this? I'm seriously considering getting a 4GB flash drive and a 2 or 1 GB flash drive for a pagefile drive to see how it would work and how fast it would be. I could then have a regular hard drive for all my programs and stuff and leave the USB drive for OS only.

CaptNKILL
01-23-06, 05:00 PM
Itd probably be pretty slow considering how often your drive would be accessed. I could be wrong though.

Any reason reason for having a hot swappable OS? :p

Strahd
01-23-06, 05:07 PM
Speed of course. No moving parts and since 2.0 is much faster, might be worth looking at :)

Riptide
01-23-06, 05:15 PM
Hmm... I dunno. This sounds like a recipe for problems IMO. USB is not perfect and I have seen devices do some strange things before. My A8N will sometimes boot and lose my external USB devices. I have to turn them on/off to get them to show back up. That could be something particular to my board and BIOS - or not. But to me it still sounds sorta risky.

But hey if you wanna be the guinea pig. ;)

CaptNKILL
01-23-06, 05:25 PM
Speed of course. No moving parts and since 2.0 is much faster, might be worth looking at :)
USB 2.0 isnt that fast I dont think. I think the transfer rate is 480MBit which comes out to 60Mbyte\sec... slower than ATA66. I dont think flash drives are really that fast anyway.

You can give it a go, but dont get rid of your primary OS. Try just disconnecting your hard drive and attempting to install XP on the flash drive and see if it works at all.

Strahd
01-23-06, 05:32 PM
Hmm... I dunno. This sounds like a recipe for problems IMO. USB is not perfect and I have seen devices do some strange things before. My A8N will sometimes boot and lose my external USB devices. I have to turn them on/off to get them to show back up. That could be something particular to my board and BIOS - or not. But to me it still sounds sorta risky.

But hey if you wanna be the guinea pig. ;)

I'm seriously considering giving it a shot. I need a new flash drive anyway :)

USB 2.0 isnt that fast I dont think. I think the transfer rate is 480MBit which comes out to 60Mbyte\sec... slower than ATA66. I dont think flash drives are really that fast anyway.

You can give it a go, but dont get rid of your primary OS. Try just disconnecting your hard drive and attempting to install XP on the flash drive and see if it works at all.

Well if a PATA drive is 133MB and a SATA is 150MB, then it would theoritecally it would be faster? Not as fast as SATA II but faster then a hard drive with moving parts. Well, that is kinda what gave me the idea when I was looking for a new flash drive. I'm not sure if my MB will even boot from a USB device as I have never tried it lol

Son Goku
01-23-06, 05:47 PM
Umm, you don't mean a thumb drive, do ya? I've heard it recommended that one doesn't use them for an OS drive, due to the possibility of them over-heating under heavy use. I haven't tried one specifically, though thought even some of the manufacturers themselves recommended against such use...

Roadhog
01-23-06, 06:26 PM
dont even try.. they are so slow... read and write around 10mbps / 5 or so...

Riptide
01-23-06, 06:34 PM
It doesn't hurt to have something like this around though. I can see how it could come in handy if you just need a quick XP install to boot from so you can hit the internet and download drivers or something. I've considered installing XP on my pocketec drive (external HD) for just such an eventuality.

Rakeesh
01-23-06, 07:37 PM
There are inherent problems with solid state storage in this type of application. Namely, the lifespan of most solid state storage technologies isn't necessarily as long as that of magnetic storage. Depending on the type, they can take anywhere from 500,000 to 2 million writes within their lifetime.

Now this is fine for putting regular programs or data on, and that kind of casual writing will last longer than your lifetime, and this is why you don't see any kind of disclaimers like this written on any memory sticks/cards or usb thumbdrives. But if you use it for something like memory paging where there are frequent writes that occur on a regular basis, you are going to wear it out rather quickly. This isn't due to overheating or anything, but the chemicals used to create the memory cells that hold your data can only have their state changed so many times.

Clay
01-23-06, 07:44 PM
http://www.informationweek.com/windows/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=177102101

OWA
01-23-06, 08:09 PM
Excellent. I've been wondering about this myself.

Strahd
01-24-06, 11:19 AM
http://www.informationweek.com/windows/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=177102101

Thanks for the link! :thumbsup:

Clay
01-24-06, 07:18 PM
NP, hope it is helpful. There's another really good source on this but I don't remember the site...will post it here if I can find it.

UPDATE: That didn't take long... :)

http://www.weethet.nl/english/hardware_bootfromusbstick.php

and some other sources:
http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/5735
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keydrive#Flash_drives_to_boot_operating_systems

a12ctic
01-24-06, 09:29 PM
i run damn small linux off a flash drive it works fine...

zoomy942
01-25-06, 01:08 PM
i might give this a try, just for fun. but if its super slow, then i wont mess with it