Hello, I've had Ubuntu on my system before and I`m now thinking of using "Pendrive" version. Most important consideration for me is .......can I still "see" Windows partitions from, say, Ubuntu Pendrive version? Can I install VLC player? Appreciate any help here
Yes and yes. It's the same OS, just running from a USB drive instead of a hard drive.
When you get down to it, the installation is running off a disk attached to the system. Whether it's a platter drive, SSD or USB stick is irrelevant. Everything will function essentially the same.
I can't speak for USB 3.0 thumbdrives but running ubuntu off a usb 2.0 thumbdrive is equally painfully slow
The SLC as opposed to TLC flash most USB flash drives run off should help speed wise. As for USB thumb drives, I find them quite alright in comparison to... LiveCDs... (with the exception of puppy of course).