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Data transfer speed in Ubuntu - installed vs. LiveDVD

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January 21, 2013 11:04:20 AM

I'm using Ubuntu 12.10 to transfer a large amount of data from 1 external HDD to another, and it's taking a very long time. I was doing it from within the LiveDVD's "Try Ubuntu" feature. Would the transfer be faster if I installed Ubuntu and ran it from my HDD instead, and if so, about how much faster? I'm wondering since it would eliminate the need for the computer to communicate with the DVD drive as well as the 2 USB devices simultaneously.

Thanks!
January 21, 2013 12:41:28 PM

No, it wouldn't be faster. Once the copy program has been loaded there is no futher DVD access. USB is inherently slow.
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January 21, 2013 1:22:04 PM

Ijack said:
No, it wouldn't be faster. Once the copy program has been loaded there is no futher DVD access. USB is inherently slow.
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "copy program"... I'm just doing a drag and drop between 2 Computer windows (the ones that automatically appear when I connect the USB devices).
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January 21, 2013 2:08:32 PM

When you drag and drop like that the system loads a program behind the scenes to perform the copy; it only needs to do that the once and then doesn't need to read the DVD again. I think you are just experiencing the fact that transfer from a USB drive is slow; more so when you are transferring from USB to USB. Try it in Windows and see if it is any faster.
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January 21, 2013 2:29:39 PM

I don't mean to get your hopes up, but there was a release of Ubuntu a few years back where I ran into this. I often use LiveDVD/LiveUSB sessions of Ubuntu to troubleshoot computers and extract data off of failed-to-boot Windows HDDs, etc. One time I was dealing with a painfully, painfully slow transfer off of the LiveDVD. In this particular instance, I was extracting data from Windows onto an external HDD with the intention of installing Ubuntu and copying the data back over. Once the transfer was finally done, I installed Ubuntu and transferred the data back over. It was significantly faster. Why? In my case, this release of Ubuntu had a problem with the USB drivers or something or another. Once I installed Ubuntu and updated (after all, ISO's don't get updated, so your LiveDVD session will be a non-updated one) my USB speeds were significantly faster. So in that case, an update fixed my USB speed issue that existed in the originally-released ISO that was on my DVD.

Again, not trying to get your hopes up (this was a year or two ago now), but I wanted to share my oddball story with you in case it had any relevance with your case. I do however fully agree with ijack, the copy speed between a live session and a natively installed session should not be any different.
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January 24, 2013 9:57:31 AM

JaSauders said:
I don't mean to get your hopes up, but there was a release of Ubuntu a few years back where I ran into this. I often use LiveDVD/LiveUSB sessions of Ubuntu to troubleshoot computers and extract data off of failed-to-boot Windows HDDs, etc. One time I was dealing with a painfully, painfully slow transfer off of the LiveDVD. In this particular instance, I was extracting data from Windows onto an external HDD with the intention of installing Ubuntu and copying the data back over. Once the transfer was finally done, I installed Ubuntu and transferred the data back over. It was significantly faster. Why? In my case, this release of Ubuntu had a problem with the USB drivers or something or another. Once I installed Ubuntu and updated (after all, ISO's don't get updated, so your LiveDVD session will be a non-updated one) my USB speeds were significantly faster. So in that case, an update fixed my USB speed issue that existed in the originally-released ISO that was on my DVD.

Again, not trying to get your hopes up (this was a year or two ago now), but I wanted to share my oddball story with you in case it had any relevance with your case. I do however fully agree with ijack, the copy speed between a live session and a natively installed session should not be any different.
I'm using the LiveDVD for the newest version, 12.10. Shouldn't it be fully-updated?
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January 24, 2013 10:46:50 AM

NickH88 said:
I'm using the LiveDVD for the newest version, 12.10. Shouldn't it be fully-updated?


You're on the latest version, yes, but there's system updates that come after installing. Look at it this way, the 12.10 ISO is created on day 1. So if you go to ubuntu.com and download 12.10, you're getting that ISO. But let's say we're two months in, that's 60 days worth of live runtime 12.10 has had so far. Any updates that occurred between day 2 and day 60 won't be on the LiveDVD you burned with day 1's ISO. In my case years ago, there was a bug that wasn't caught in time that hit the finalized ISO, so on the LiveCD I had speed issues via USB, but once I installed that very ISO *AND* fully updated with all available system updates, things were fine, indicating that in my scenario a system update of some sort addressed the USB speed issues.
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January 24, 2013 11:01:44 AM

JaSauders said:
You're on the latest version, yes, but there's system updates that come after installing. Look at it this way, the 12.10 ISO is created on day 1. So if you go to ubuntu.com and download 12.10, you're getting that ISO. But let's say we're two months in, that's 60 days worth of live runtime 12.10 has had so far. Any updates that occurred between day 2 and day 60 won't be on the LiveDVD you burned with day 1's ISO. In my case years ago, there was a bug that wasn't caught in time that hit the finalized ISO, so on the LiveCD I had speed issues via USB, but once I installed that very ISO *AND* fully updated with all available system updates, things were fine, indicating that in my scenario a system update of some sort addressed the USB speed issues.
Thanks for clearing that up for me. The SATA HDD in the docking station is apparently damaged, which is what I predict is causing the slow transfer speed. Do you feel that it's worth the trouble of installing Ubuntu (and updating it) to try to resolve the speed issue, or should I look for another way?
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January 24, 2013 12:09:56 PM

NickH88 said:
Thanks for clearing that up for me. The SATA HDD in the docking station is apparently damaged, which is what I predict is causing the slow transfer speed. Do you feel that it's worth the trouble of installing Ubuntu (and updating it) to try to resolve the speed issue, or should I look for another way?


Honestly, no, I don't think it's worth it. I was just firing out my experience so it was on the table that you can't always take the live environment for being a 100% carbon copy of what you'd see in a regular install. If the hard drive is seeing any sort of issues whatsoever, that is far more likely to be causing the slowness. If you fire up Disk Utility within the live session you might be able to pick up the SMART status of the drive to get a better indication of its health.
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