Alma KDE bricks my pendrives

Tried few pendrives, tried two different PCs. Looks like the installation broke my pendrives.
I am not 100% sure what is the issue.
So I grub this:
Flash it on the pendrive A (using rufus). The boot looking good and smooth.
Then I grub another pendrive B, and installed the OS on that one:

The pendrive became very slow after that (like literally 10x drop). Even after I reformat it, it still slow regardless of anything.

However 6 month ago I installed Gnome version and all was fine.

I did it one more time on another PC with another pendrive, and the installation broke my second pendrive.

I am not sure what is the issue and whether I can restore my pendrives back to normal.
It was two different brand new pendrives, 1. Adata 64Gb, 2. Goodram 64Gb. Both showed 40Mb/s write and 80Mb/s read. Now they completely unresponsive, like the real speed is something around 1Mb/s or less.

Sorry to disappoint you, but no matter what Crystal DiskMark says, the real speeds are not those displayed, and random access is very slow, and deteriorating with time.

From my experience with installing on USB Flash Drives, and given my experience with dozens and dozens of models and makes over ~20 years (my first USB flash drive had 16 MB, and I repeat, MB), only the following models offer good performances in a stable manner for running an installed Linux distro:

I love ADATA and I use their devices since forever (HDD, Flash, SSD), but no, don’t use their flash drives for this purpose.

In all cases, 128GB+ are recommended, for the speed. Anything lower is slower, although 64GB drives are usable. Currently, I have one 128GB and one 64GB from Intenso HSL, a 64GB FIT Plus, and a 256GB BAR Plus.

What I do:

  • For the original ISO, no Rufus, but Ventoy. (Why the %"!^& are people still using all kinds of crappy solutions, when 99.98% of the distros are supported by Ventoy, and thus one can have plenty of live ISOs on a single drive?)
  • No swap on the installed distro. None. Nope. Never. Unless you want to kill your flash drive.
  • A single partition (except for /boot/efi), preferable ext4 or JFS; xfs should be fine, though, it’s just I never installed with xfs on a flash drive.

Hope this helps. Oh, and it has nothing to do with AlmaLinux. It’s the same with Fedora, openSUSE, Debian, MX, you name it.

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Thank you for detailed explanation. But I still could not understand why live image works fast and smooth while the installed version does not. What is difference between them?

I agree, I should not use swap for pendrives. And please note, it is not something I wanna use everyday. I just want to have a separate backup linux on pendrive which I can also configure for my needs and install any required apps. I cannot do that with live.

Just wondering what is spamming pendrive during the load, are there any write operations which happens every time I boot it? Why it doesn’t work in the same way how Live boot works?

And more strange I have Alma Gnome version I installed on ADATA 64Gb Pendrive back to 8 months ago, and it’s working fast and nice. The only difference it’s encrypted. I cannot understand why is that.
I feel there is some bug, maybe on the kerner level, so that is why all distros have such issue.

Or maybe this time I allocated all available space with partitions, so I should probably do more experiments with that.

The difference? The difference is exactly what you stated: one is running in a “live” environment, and the other is attempting to run as a fully-installed operating system.

What you are seeing in a live environment is exactly what is meant to be used on a USB pen/thumb drive – that is, minimal (if any) writing to the disk: no logs, no swap partition or file, and the lack of any kind of persistence in-between reboots. That’s what live environments are.

Running a “full” installation of pretty much any operating system off a USB pen/thumb drive is generally just A Really Bad Idea . Especially if you plan to use it as some form of backup or emergency-use thing…

Note how even Microsoft had to redesign Windows before they would support it being installed onto, and run from, USB pen/thumb drives (see “Windows to Go”, I think). They also have a remarkably short list of supported drives for this very purpose – as most consumer USB pen/thumb drives are of less-than-ideal quality,

Nothing is “spamming” the drive; you’re simply trying to run an operating system off an inexpensive, inconsistent, and generally-short-time use device when it actually was designed to run on standard spinning disk or SSD drives – which nearly always are far more robust in data integrity, consistent performance, and utilize things like SMART to warn of potential impending hardware issues.

If you have found that an encrypted AL8 configuration on an ADATA 64GB drive works acceptably then, yes, I would recommend you try installing AL9 on the same model drive, and to use the same parition configuration etc.

Overall, though, I would highly discourage you from relying on this kind of installation unless you’re at least using “above consumer grade” drives such as the Samsung BAR and others, as mentioned by @ludditus .

Better still – you could look into purchasing a decent SATA m.2 SSD, and install it into a USB 3.0 (or better) enclosure, and you would get both the improved performance and durability vs. 95%+ of the USB pen/thumb drives out there.

When using a Live ISO image, this is typically an SquashFS system that gets decompressed as needed (on-the-fly, not in its entirety), with whatever is decompressed, plus a cache, plus /tmp, in the RAM. The Live ISO image remains read-only!

OTOH, the installed system behaves like… an installed system, with frequent writes on that flash drive which is not designed for such an intensive I/O, especially not in writing, which is slower and leads to fragmentation, etc.

I beg to differ. It is not always a bad idea. I’ve applied this idea using the flash drives models previously specified, and it worked great.

Patriot Supersonic Rage Pro flash drives are said to be an even better choice, but I don’t own such brands.

Oh, right, I could also mention a flash drive that I literally KILLED this way! OK, here it is: this Philips flash drive (manufacturer of the chip: SiliconMotion) literally died because of using it for an installed system! The controller just gave up.

That’s why I said generally … as the vast majority of consumer USB flash drives out there really aren’t made to last.

I also agreed with your specific USB flash drive recommendations :grinning:

External compact SSD drives such as Kingston XS1000 1TB and 2TB can come at a very good price.

Just to give you a picture what performance I am talking about.
Booting the system takes about 5 minutes.
Opening Firefox takes about 1 minute.
Opening Start Menu (KDE) takes about 15 seconds.
Whatever you do it freezes screen and mouse, and the performance is really abnormal.

I don’t think this is something expected for the pendrive. I have Alma Gnome older version and it works not as fast as SSD of course, but it’s usable and you don’t wait as long as I described above.

I feel there is some kind of bug. It is not normal pendrive speed.

Indeed, it is not. But there must be differences in the options used during the installation. Also, you didn’t mention the installation source and versions. “Older GNOME” means what? You installed it from what ISO? Same for this KDE version: is it installed from the official KDE spin, or KDE was later installed over GNOME? I recommend installing directly with the desired DE.