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Thread: Installing to USB or HDD?

  1. #1
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    Question Installing to USB or HDD?

    Hi there.

    Since I realised, that running BackTrack4 on VirtualBox at WindowsXP (Host) is a pain in the ass (because of the NOT-handling of the USB-WLAN-Device through VirtualBox) I wanted to install it on a real Medium.
    So I thought about formating my laptop and installing it on the real HDD.
    The thing is, that I do need those 3 OS on my laptop:
    - Backtrack
    - Ubuntu
    - Windows XP

    Primary, I'm using Windows XP.

    So I thought about installing all 3 together on the HDD. But since my HDD is not that big (150 GB), I came to think about installing at least Backtrack on a USB-Device, such as a SD-Card or simple a USB-Stick (I don't wand to carry something larger than a USB-Stick with me, except the Laptop itself xD).

    Now my question:
    It's about the performance of USB.
    My Laptop has USB 2.0 (99% sure, because it's very new... it's an Acer Extensa 5235).
    Is there a big difference between the speed and performance of booting Backtrack from HDD and booting it from USB (SD-Card/Stick)
    If the speed with USB is almost as good as HDD, I thought about this:

    - installing Backtrack 4 on a 4 GB USB-Stick
    - installing Ubuntu on a 4 GB USB-Stick (or 8 GB)
    - installing Windows XP on HDD, but leave 4-5 GB free space on HDD
    - formating the free 4-5 GB on HDD as linux-SWAP
    - booting backtrack and configuring it to use the SWAP from HDD
    - booting Ubuntu and configuring it to use the SWAP from HDD

    So... what do you think about it?
    It's not a Problem, if Ubuntu or Backtrack do need 0,5-1 minute longer to boot... that's o.k. for me.
    But I don't want to have short freezings or hangings while working with both. I'm not using both (BT, Ubuntu) for graphical things... I'm just using the default GUI with no special effekts, so...this should not be a problem.

    Just tell me, what you think

    Greetings
    spYro

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Installing to USB or HDD?

    I've just installed bt4 final on Kingston c10 USB (with full encryption), and performance are not bad. Boot time is less than a minute. Ofcourse, you can not expect a miracle, there is sensible difference in performance between hdd and usb installation, but it's ok to me.

    SETI_explorer

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Installing to USB or HDD?

    Usb is really fast, u wount notice the differense weather its in hdd or in usb.
    BT4 wount fit into a 4gb usb stick.
    You can install BT4 to usb just like ur installing it to hdd. just remember at last stop to select that u want to install grub to USB

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Installing to USB or HDD?

    Personally I install BT4 on a hard drive in my PC and then install to a Western Digital 500 GB external usb powered hard drive. By installing to a usb powered hard drive it is small, portable, and very fast. I can also have my wordlists readily accessible on the external hard drive.
    I like the bleeding edge, but I don't like blood loss

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Installing to USB or HDD?

    Personally i have installed BT4 on both an 8g usb flash drive an an internal sata3 7200rpm hdd. While boot times are about the same, i found the real world application of the internal hdd significantly faster than the usb. When it comes to larger files the hdd handled it much better than the usb. My intention was to keep it on the usb because of the portability, however word lists in the multiple gb were useless on such a small medium. I also found that running multiple threads of applications like metasploit and writing data from it sometimes caused hangups and i/o errors if it was more than the usb could handle. I considered the USB hdd option for space, but again i decided against it due to the speed limitations. The hdd install has been amazing so far. With CUDA scrolling though a 30gb wordlist of the hdd its been great. I thought my original cuda limitations were because of my lower end 9600gt gpus, but it turned out they were able to read information faster than my usb could supply it. If its an option for you, id go internal hdd install on a desktop, internal flash storage on a netbook, or even ssd in lieu of a hdd on a netbook or notebook. Thats my 2c.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Installing to USB or HDD?

    Thanks so far
    If I'm using an 8 GB USB-Stick for Backtrack, then I would keep the .CAP-Files and Wordlists onto the internal HDD.
    I did so for a Time. I then used the LIVE-DVD and kept the Capture-File onto the internal HDD.

    I think, it should work that way, right?
    Booting Backtrack from USB-Stick and managing the files, handshakes and wordlists on my internal HDD...

    I think, Backtrack is able to write to Partition, used by windows (FAT/NTFS), right?

    What about it?

    spYro

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    Default Re: Installing to USB or HDD?

    Running BT4 from a USB stick gets a thumbs up for me. Just got finished installing to a 8GB Sandisk stick with persistent changes and full disk encryption yesterday. The only downside is writing to the thumb drive can be pretty slow, of course this also all depends on the speed of your thumb drive. For instance I was installing updates and had time to go to the kitchen for some munchies before it was finished. Other than that running tools and such is just as fast as running the OS from a HDD.

    One thing I might add is if you are planning on configuring your system to write the SWAP to your HDD you might as well just run the OS from it tool. In my opinion it kind of defeats the purpose of running off a thumb drive if your not also writing the swap.
    Once again this is just my personal view on it.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for that answer, it helps me a lot

    So then one last question:
    Is the method of "SWAP on USB-Stick" slowing down the speed?
    As I said, it's meaningless to me, if an update of Backtrack takes 5 Minutes or 4 hours.
    The booting should not take too long, but it may take a few minutes more than booting from HDD, I do not demand a great deal of the time it takes to boot and to update.
    The mainthing is, that using tools does not lag.
    So, if I use a 8 GB-Stick:
    - is it important to spend much money on it because of the write-/read-time?
    - how would you do the partitions on the 8 GB?
    - you talked about encryption. So it's possible to use, for example truecrypt, so if I boot the stick, it first asks me for the encryption-password an then boots backtrack? How much does the live-encryption slows the general speed down?

    If you could answer this few more questions, I would be so thankfull =)

    Best wishes
    spYro

    I forgot something important.
    What about the limited write-/read-counts a Flash-Stick can take?
    As a SWAP the stick would be written and read very often and this would shorten its life enormous, right?
    So... if I don't want to buy a new Flash-Thumb/-Stick every 2 months, I shouldn't use it as SWAP, am I right?
    If this is the case, I would, as I imagined before, create the SWAP on the HDD (let's say 3-4 GB).
    I then would boot the USB-stick and config it to use the swap on HDD.
    So then I would have:
    - 1x 8 GB USB-Stick with Ubuntu
    - 1x 8 GB USB-Stick with Backtrack
    - 1x 4 GB SWAP-Partition on HDD
    - 1x Windows XP on the remaining GB on the HDD

    This should work... or am I missing something?

    Best wishes
    spYro
    Last edited by lupin; 02-03-2010 at 03:23 AM. Reason: Merging...

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