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I have a computer here thats always on as it runs a magicjack, a skype phone and some other stuff.

At the moment it has a 40, 30 and 20 gig hard drive in it, and most of that is empty space.

So I was wondering - can I take the 8 gig flash drive I have, install windows on it, and have the comptuter run from it, removing ALL of those old hard drives?  Seems like it would be a lot less power use, and would probably be faster as well, though I'm not enough of a geek to know how fast flash memory reads & writes.  has to be older than this thing made of 2002 parts.

32 gig flash drives are now available, though if I can boot this off USB, I could probably stick a flash drive onto every port and exceed the memory that this thing has with real hard drives.

Anybody doing this, especially with older systems?

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Some issues

ideaphile June 28th, 2009
Many older systems can't boot from USB, so you'd have to check on that first.

USB flash drives vary tremendously in performance-- I've done my own benchmarking, and the range is around 10:1 for the drives I've tested. The slowest USB drives will be slower than your old hard disks.

USB flash drives also have some undesirable behaviors: they'll go offline for seconds at a time to defragment themselves (which is something that you can't do yourself; don't ever run a defragging pass on a solid-state drive!). They wear out, as thakur said, though that can take years. They're generally cheap, so I would have concerns about reliability; keep backups.

If I were you I'd strip the machine down so it can run off just one HD. Use the other HDs to back up that drive, but don't leave them connected so they aren't consuming power and can't be damaged by some software problem.

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