Is it a viable option to run linux from a SD card?

((If you don't want to read the context and just want to jump right to the question, it's on the last paragraph))

My old laptop still was usable, but battery was not just unhealthy, but also starting to fail with the laptop not detecting it has a battery inside very frequently, so it was time to do something about it. But even if I decided to replace the battery, the limitations of the laptop wouldn't let a fully compatible and healthy battery last more than 4 hours of use, which would be way too risky for taking it to university for a full day, so I ended up getting a new laptop.

It's a HP laptop, it was going through a double discount so I got it for much cheaper than what it usually costs and it was the best option I had for this price that wasn't a chromebook. It comes with windows 11 and I decided to give it a try; maybe some open source tools like openshell can make it less painful to use? ... yeah no, 2 days of use and it's the most frustrating experience I've ever had with a computer, no wonder sometimes the windows 10 marketshare rises while w11's drops. So yeah, linux time! Did some research and everything should be fully supported out-of-the-box as long as I'm using the kernel 6.4 or newer (that means no debian because it uses the 6.1, but at least Zorin meets the requirement with the 6.5)

My worry is the warranty, as this is still too new to know if it has any problems or not, and since previous questions about this in HP forums haven't given a clear answer (some say installing linux doesn't void the warranty but some say that it does...) I don't want to format nor partition the SSD yet. So that's where the SD card comes in.

I'm aware of the speed limitations of SD cards and I don't mind, as this is a temporary workaround that wouldn't be in use for more than 1 month, since it is more about testing things like battery life, CPU temperatures at light but long sessions of usage and on idle, something a live USB would struggle a bit more with, since, at least on windows, battery lasts for around 10 hours, and I don't think it's a good idea to keep a live session running for that long.

So my question is: Would running a linux system from a SD card for light usage on long sessions from time to time during a month affect significally the health of a 256 GB SD card or should it be fine? I would love being able to use that SD card in my nintendo switch after this, as the 64 GB it has is starting to run a bit short on storage.

And when I say the windows 11 experience was the most frustrating time I've ever had with a computer, I'm not exaggerating.

This white line was one of the problems I had and this animated image was the solution I found on a microsoft forum: clicking on a very specific pixel to bring a very specific right-click menu, and that's assuming you typed a specific command in the CMD terminal (not to confuse with the default PowerShell terminal, since that one gives an error with the exact same command) before to bring back the old right-click menu instead of the new one. Why is this even a real problem that happens????
windows11

1 Like

Not related to your main question, but the menu issue. When I was on Windows I
used ExplorerPatcher tool to restore the toolbar to old style and also the context menu.

Yes, it's a shame to have to resort to methods or tools to restore something
that they shouldn't have touched, or given the option to leave as it was.

1 Like

Just looked up what does that do and it seems useful... but at the same time unreliable. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming the developers behind it, I'm blaming Microsoft, as I've heard the upcoming 24h2 update is gonna remove a lot of legacy elements that tools like this rely on. I'm not gonna keep windows 11 for long enough to get that update, so I might give it a try for the taskbar (for the start menu I'm already using a very simplified windowsxp-style menu with openshell).

I just hope the linux marketshare rises enough to the point that the next laptop I'll buy in the far future can come with linux out-of-the-box instead of having to see how microsoft messed up this time before getting linux ready.

I can't speak from experience but if by "light usage" you mean web browsing and editing the occasional document, I see no problem with this. What causes the most harm to an SD card are frequent reads/writes. You can avoid some of this issue by disabling logging activity:

You can also instruct Firefox (assuming you are using Firefox) to write cache to memory instead of writing to the disk. You can even run your entire profile in-memory for maximum speed and minimizing disk writes, With the side effect that you won't be able to pick up where you left off after you close it, that is:

https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/Firefox/Profile_on_RAM

1 Like