USB Flash drive lifespan + portable apps

Discuss hardware related to portable usage, including the kind of storage devices people use, and how they use them.
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bitcoin
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USB Flash drive lifespan + portable apps

#1 Post by bitcoin » Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:01 am

i was considering buying a 256 GB low profile fit drive and putting all my portable apps and portable browsers on there and running everything from that drive instead of the onboard HDD because i have several laptops that i use and i get weary of updating the programs on all of them.

Any drawbacks to this? Would the flash drive last a year or two at least before failure?

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SYSTEM
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Re: USB Flash drive lifespan + portable apps

#2 Post by SYSTEM » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:07 am

You should be fine. A 256GB Flash drive can take a lot of writes.
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bitcoin
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Re: USB Flash drive lifespan + portable apps

#3 Post by bitcoin » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:06 pm

SYSTEM wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:07 am
You should be fine. A 256GB Flash drive can take a lot of writes.
thanks, i'll give it a try

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Re: USB Flash drive lifespan + portable apps

#4 Post by Midas » Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:30 am

Just the other day, a work mate showed me a 2TB(!) USB pendrive he got on the cheap from some Chinese sales website, commenting "who needs external HDDs, when you can have these?" :shock:

I haven't been able to find anything similar, but those days are coming for sure.

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Re: USB Flash drive lifespan + portable apps

#5 Post by webfork » Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:35 am

bitcoin wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:01 am
i was considering buying a 256 GB low profile fit drive and putting all my portable apps and portable browsers on there and running everything from that drive instead of the onboard HDD because i have several laptops that i use and i get weary of updating the programs on all of them.

Any drawbacks to this? Would the flash drive last a year or two at least before failure?
The lifetime of various flash media is definitely above two years -- I'd be shocked if it died in 4. As to how much exactly, this is the source of some speculation. The Sandisk warranty periods are instructive here: https://www.sandisk.com/about/legal/war ... anty-table

Regardless, the truth is most portable programs here on the site use *very* low overall writes compared to most audio / video work, so the device should work for many years to come.

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Re: USB Flash drive lifespan + portable apps

#6 Post by Specular » Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:46 am

Just on the subject of things to keep in mind, I've read several places that the type of flash used for memory cards at least (may affect the type of flash used for USB form factors as well) requires it to be powered/read from on a periodic basis otherwise the flash cells begin to lose their 'hold' on what's stored to them and in a worst case scenario may become faint enough within half a year (effectively losing the data stored on them), though more commonly I've read it can take a couple years.

In regular use though, reading from it constantly, this obviously wouldn't be an issue.

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Re: USB Flash drive lifespan + portable apps

#7 Post by SYSTEM » Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:00 am

Midas wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:30 am
Just the other day, a work mate showed me a 2TB(!) USB pendrive he got on the cheap from some Chinese sales website, commenting "who needs external HDDs, when you can have these?" :shock:

I haven't been able to find anything similar, but those days are coming for sure.
Cheap Chinese 2TB thumbdrives are scams. The drive is configured to claim that its capacity is two terabytes, but if you actually try to use it, new data will overwrite old data. Please advise your workmate to throw the drive away before he/she loses important data.

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Re: USB Flash drive lifespan + portable apps

#8 Post by bitcoin » Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:11 am

SYSTEM wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:00 am
Cheap Chinese 2TB thumbdrives are scams. The drive is configured to claim that its capacity is two terabytes, but if you actually try to use it, new data will overwrite old data. Please advise your workmate to throw the drive away before he/she loses important data.
i see the same thing going on with offbrand high capacity SD and micro SD cards at Amazon, like 1 TB cards for $30-$40

not sure why they are allowed

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Re: USB Flash drive lifespan + portable apps

#9 Post by Userfriendly » Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:20 pm

Just get an M.2 SSD drive and put it in an external USB enclosure. You get more speed and endurance than a typical flash drive and more flexibility since you can just take the M.2 drive and plug into your motherboard if you wanted.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwNr_WCpzRc

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Re: USB Flash drive lifespan + portable apps

#10 Post by Midas » Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:35 pm

SYSTEM wrote: Cheap Chinese 2TB thumbdrives are scams. [...] Please advise your workmate to throw the drive away before he/she loses important data.
Thanks for the info. Will do. :|

Userfriendly wrote: Just get an M.2 SSD drive and put it in an external USB enclosure.
I have one of those made by Samsung as my Lenovo primary disk -- coupled with a large secondary HDD. What I never knew is there were enclosures for them.

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Re: USB Flash drive lifespan + portable apps

#11 Post by thepiney » Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:08 am

I know some people that have gotten "fake" USB/SD etc. mostly through Ebay trying to get that killer deal. I always recommend name brands and more trustworthy sources such as NewEgg.

I recently upgraded my system (Asus M5A97) to my first install on an SSD (Samsung 860 EVO 250GB) and while checking the UEFI/BIOS settings came across an "ESP" setting for the SATA that I knew nothing about. While reading up on the setting I found that it allowed for making SATA drives hotswappable (eSATA) and since I have a 3-1/2" to 2x2.5" SSD/HDD carrier installed that sounds right. I have the Samsung 860 EVO running the OS on SATA 1 and the other drive (Crucial 64GB Refurb SSD) I have on SATA 3 w/ ESP enabled. When I rebooted the system I found that the Crucial drive and several other HDDs do work as hotswappable and also noticed that the drives are listed as USB devices. A few days later I was reading a post/topic on the forum about some programs that run portably only when run from a USB drive. So I moved most of the portable apps/programs that I currently use to that drive.

I'm not sure if the throughput is still at SATA speeds but don't see why not and If I have to use the drive remotely (through USB) just put it in an external case.

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Re: USB Flash drive lifespan + portable apps

#12 Post by webfork » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:59 am

thepiney wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:08 am
I was reading a post/topic on the forum about some programs that run portably only when run from a USB drive. So I moved most of the portable apps/programs that I currently use to that drive.
I've only run across only a handful of programs that insist on external-device only portability. A few devs think this is the best way to manage portability, but it's not ideal since a lot of people now run their this software via cloud services to maintain the same settings on all their machines.

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Re: USB Flash drive lifespan + portable apps

#13 Post by thepiney » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:10 am

Well as the OP is about lifespan...

A little more 1 month and the Crucial 64GB Refurb SSD went belly up. It only had maybe 10-12 hours on it in the "reset" SMART info when I installed it.

The great thing about it since I had just copied the "portable" programs/apps over from the the spinning rust and left them intact, at most I only lost a couple url links in FF. In less than a minute I'm back up and running.

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