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I just got my first portable hard drive (WD Elements SE 500GB USB 2.0) and I guess I'll be using it for quite a while. So, I just wanted to ask whether I should or should not partition the hard drive. Will partitioning make it slower?

Also, I wanted to know if I could install Linux on the portable hard drive. Is it possible and if yes, is it recommended?

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So, I just wanted to ask whether I should or should not partition the hard drive.

Depends on how you are planning to use it.

Will partitioning make it slower?

No, partitioning should not slow down the drive.

Also, I wanted to know if I could install Linux on the portable hard drive. Is it possible...

Yes (although some older computers might be unable to boot from USB).

...and if yes, is it recommended?

There is no difference between installing Linux to an internal drive and an external one.

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Well, to be fair, there is one pretty large difference: USB 2.0 is quite a bit slower than internal drives, even with rotating media. Not that it matters a ton after everything is loaded into RAM, but it makes starting up pretty slow. Now if it was USB 3.0, that would be another story, but USB 3.0 is still pretty rare on computers. –  farfromhome Jan 30 '11 at 18:25
    
@ grawity, Running an OS from USB 2.0 is dog slow, you did say "installing" though, you might do an edit to clarify that statement. –  Moab Jan 30 '11 at 19:39

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