Hi sorry I am a newbie in linux and was just wondering if it is a good idea to use usb/hdd to boot linux?? I used samsung usb 3.1 128GB to boot Kali linux and it heated up pretty quickly which made me quite worried... the other 2TB hdd I booted debian on it and it seems to be okay so far in terms of its temperature. So my question is that should I be looking to boot linux distros on internal drives or sata (connection?) / ssd drives instead? I read about something saying that usb/hdd are designed to store files and not for continuous reading/writing... because not only will it reduce its usage life, but also there is the risk of the usb/hdd collapsing at any time and lose all its contents inside?

Thanks for taking your time! Any advice is greatly appreciated!!

1 Answer 1


This is less a question about external vs. internal storage and more about what kind of storage device you're using and how it's attached.

First the what: USB sticks were definitely not designed to meet the demands of the constant read/write that occurs in /tmp and /var. They will wear out after some number of rewrites. In fact every solid state drive allows for a limited number of rewrites, but the enterprise grade ones like those made by Micron allow for so many that you'll usually be long done with the machine before the drive wears out.

The second issue is how the device is attached to the machine. A USB 2 connection will be quite slow, so your system will slow down if you boot from such a device. However, if you're attaching a Micron 5200 Max SSD using a USB C or eSATA connection, it will perform just like an internal drive.

  • Thanks for your reply! Greatly appreciated! That was crystal clear. Just one more question, which ssd model would you recommend for using as a daily system?
    – Jaja
    Dec 3, 2019 at 16:20
  • For your personal system? Almost anything should be fine; e.g. Samsung EVO. For a server or any machine with lots of read/writes you should look for an SSD that has a large PBW -- which stands for Petabytes Written (you might also see TBW -- Terabytes Written), the total number of bytes than can be written to the drive before it is expected to die or DWPD, which measures how many times a day you can completely rewrite the drive and expect it to survive until the end of the warranty. Intel and Micron both make SSDs with large PBW numbers; these are a waste of money on a personal computer.
    – pgoetz
    Dec 3, 2019 at 22:09
  • Thanks a lot! That was super informative!
    – Jaja
    Dec 4, 2019 at 12:38

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