drive question


Active Member
Here's a question for the computer guru's on the board.

I seeing lots of ads for 3 and 4 Gig usb thumb drives nowadays in the $30-$40 range up here and probably cheaper in the States.

Can these take the place of IDE hard drives and be used for automation hardware and booting up ?

I thinking like run XP Pro and Homeseer right from the thumb drive and have no hard drive to worry about ?

I don't think they are reliable enough for the steady bashing, unless you optimize XP & HS to avoid unnecessary writes, but I am no expert. The same was said about flash drives such as used by the HS Pro-100, but I am not sure if thumb drives are exactly the same as those flash drives or not.
It can be done, but you would have to install something like a driver/filter which stops the huge amount of writes to the flash drive, as they still have a limited amount of write cycles. If you run XP embedded, then this would be a little easier.
Those thumb drives are flash drives. Same flash chips. The problems with flash are:
1) They support a limited number of erase/write cycles (between 100,000 and a million).
2) They need to be erased in "pages". You cannot simply write to a location. This is similar to a sector on a disk, but the pages are larger.
3) Writes (and erases) are slow. Not counting the access times (seek time and rotational latency), writing to flash can take considerably longer than disk.

For these reasons, flash file systems are aware of these characteristics.

This is why God gave us "Write-Protect".

A simple solution is to build the system on the flash disk, and then write protect it. I believe that you would be able to boot (you can boot from a write-protected floppy) but you would need to configure to run without a pagefile. That means you may need a lot of ram.