Just got a 32GB usb - what should I do with it?

As a promo item, I got a 32GB usb drive. I was thinking about putting linux on it. I have a small drive with Mint on it. This is much larger and I want to know about options. Could I run an entire system on it? Should I use it for backups? I don’t even know if I have BTRFS Snapshots! Should I set it up for that?

All suggestions welcome!

First thin I do whit any type of free drive is use wipefs on it, then use gdisk to create as gpt, then use gdisk expert mode to wipe and zero out the mbr… then create a new partition for what ever it’s needed for…

You can run an entire system on it, typically you’ll write a LiveCD image on it.
You can get your image from the same place you download other openSUSE installation media, pick Tumbleweed or LEAP and then the Live tab.
Instructions for writing to USB somewhere on the same page.


You can use it for backups. As long as the filesystem on your USB stick is recognizable by Linux, you can store backups or any other files on it.

You probably won’t want to install the BTRFS filesystem on it, BTRFS is probably more suited for internal system storage. But, any other filesystem that’s recognized by Linux is probably a fine choice.

iI have mixed opinion about reformatting USB sticks.
Often for whatever reason the result is to lose some of the storage capacity.


Size matters. But speed matters even more. Thermal throttling occurs with USB sticks. You may want to check reading speed and writing speed using dd:

erlangen:~ # hdparm -I /dev/sdd


ATA device, with non-removable media
        Model Number:       SanDisk SSD U100 64GB                   
        Serial Number:      044fafae1           
        Firmware Revision:  KM.10.00
        Transport:          Serial, ATA8-AST, SATA Rev 2.6, SATA Rev 3.0
        Used: unknown (minor revision code 0x0110) 
        Supported: 9 8 7 6 5 
        Likely used: 9
        Logical         max     current
        cylinders       16383   16383
        heads           16      16
        sectors/track   63      63
        CHS current addressable sectors:    16514064
        LBA    user addressable sectors:   125045424
        LBA48  user addressable sectors:   125045424
        Logical  Sector size:                   512 bytes
        Physical Sector size:                   512 bytes
        Logical Sector-0 offset:                  0 bytes
        device size with M = 1024*1024:       61057 MBytes
        device size with M = 1000*1000:       64023 MBytes (64 GB)
        cache/buffer size  = unknown
        Form Factor: 1.8 inch
        Nominal Media Rotation Rate: Solid State Device
        LBA, IORDY(can be disabled)
        Queue depth: 32
        Standby timer values: spec'd by Standard, no device specific minimum
        R/W multiple sector transfer: Max = 1   Current = 1
        Advanced power management level: disabled
        DMA: mdma0 mdma1 mdma2 udma0 udma1 udma2 udma3 udma4 udma5 *udma6 
             Cycle time: min=120ns recommended=120ns
        PIO: pio0 pio1 pio2 pio3 pio4 
             Cycle time: no flow control=120ns  IORDY flow control=120ns

Speed tests:

erlangen:~ # dd if=/dev/sdd of=/dev/null bs=4M status=progress
63837306880 bytes (64 GB, 59 GiB) copied, 239 s, 267 MB/s
15264+1 records in
15264+1 records out
64023257088 bytes (64 GB, 60 GiB) copied, 239.716 s, **267 MB/s**
erlangen:~ # 
erlangen:~ # dd if=/home/karl/Downloads/openSUSE-Leap-15.2-DVD-x86_64-Build692.2-Media.iso of=/dev/sdd bs=4M conv=fsync
1023+1 records in
1023+1 records out
4293918720 bytes (4.3 GB, 4.0 GiB) copied, 206.152 s, **20.8 MB/s**
erlangen:~ # 

The above stick is fast, however it gets hot during continuous writing. Short writes are considerably faster. btrfs works fine on this stick. But see also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr7cQFPu0XY :slight_smile:

Thanks for the tips! I’ll get to work trying things out.

If you’re concerned about speed,
Just make sure when you purchase the memory that it’s a Class 10.

For a few years now I’ve seen seeing less and less memory that isn’t rated Class 10.
At some point, it becomes more expensive for a vendor to manufacture or sell lower rated product instead of standardizing on the performance nearly everyone wants. In other words, as capacities have grown into the 256GB and larger (Terabytes), the old production runs of smaller sizes like 32GB should all be turning out high performance because the technology for that size is no longer leading edge and the initial cost of manufacturing has been paid off long ago.


I ended up installing Tails with persistent storage. It seems fast enough in routine operation. But, now that I have Tails installed, I don’t know what to do with it! I have Linux Mint installed on a smaller usb drive. I look at it occasionally but all my work and fun is with Tumbleweed!

Contents of my stick is changing as needed. Currently I have:

erlangen:~ # fdisk -l /dev/sdd
Disk /dev/sdd: 59.64 GiB, 64023257088 bytes, 125045424 sectors
Disk model: Extreme         
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x0e479f2d

Device     Boot   Start       End   Sectors   Size Id Type
/dev/sdd1  *         64   1848875   1848812 902.8M cd unknown
/dev/sdd2       1848876   1879595     30720    15M ef EFI (FAT-12/16/32)
/dev/sdd3       1880064 125045423 123165360  58.7G 83 Linux

erlangen:~ # df -h -x devtmpfs /dev/sdd*
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sdd1       903M  903M     0 100% /run/media/karl/openSUSE_Leap_15.2_KDE_Live
/dev/sdd3        58G  1.6G   54G   3% /run/media/karl/cow
erlangen:~ #