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I have 64bit laptop, running windows 7 64 bit operating system with 7200 RPM Hard drive.

I have Vmware installed on Windows 7, and I am using the Ubuntu 10.10 as virtual machine. Performance seems to be fine.

My question is that if I use 16 GB USB thumb drive to install and run Ubuntu 10.10, will it have any performance gain over Ubuntu running as virtual machine inside windows?

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why don't you try it (and report the results here)? It is easy enough to do. I'd expect the VM to be 5-10 % slower in computational tasks but about 4-5 times faster on accessing system files (anything on the USB stick, including swap) compared to the VM (reading from the HDD). – user12889 Jan 21 '11 at 5:17
Oh..well.. I didn't read your comment.. but wrote my own. Well.. I totally agree. – Shiki Feb 21 '11 at 8:35
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You would probably be looking at a performance decrease if you ran Ubuntu natively (not as a virtual machine) off of a USB drive compared to running it as a virtual machine in Windows. You would be drastically reducing your disk access speeds (around 40 MB/s for a USB flash drive compared to around 130 MB/s for the standard HDD... plus or minus a few MB/s for each depending on brand and what not).

Have you considered dual booting? That would give you the best for both Ubuntu and Windows.

I should add though that while your disk speeds would decrease if you ran Ubuntu natively you would be able to make full use of all your RAM instead of sharing it with Windows. Still, I would probably stick with the virtual machine if it were me.

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Its a corporate laptop. I cannot have dual boot system there. I think, 130 MB is huge figure compared to 40 MBs of USB stick.. Thank you. – Gopalakrishnan Subramani Jan 21 '11 at 5:23

It'll be faster, but depends on what you are doing. Mostly the files you will copy, open and such will determine if you see a decrease or increase. Since USB works like an SSD, it can access all the files in an instant. Like if you click Firefox, it instantly opens it. And the boot is much faster.

I say, give it a try! In my experience, it's much better, but only if you have a somewhat good pendrive. (So not the one you get for 5$ :))

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