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I would like to have a dual-boot laptop, but there is not enough space on my internal hard drive.

In terms of performance, is it possible and a good idea to have an external system installed on an external drive plugged with USB ? Is USB3 a limit over the performances I can have if I plug, say, a SSD with an adapter into the USB port ?

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Using a USB flash drive over a SATA to USB adapter will not make much of a difference if you get a higher-end flash drive. The limiting factor in this setup will be the USB port. Also, flash drives may not last as long as an SSD, but they are more compact.

If you are going to get an SSD, I would recommend to install it in your laptop and use the old hard drive for your dual-boot over USB so you can get the full benefit of using an SSD

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