Scrivener on a Laptop: Would a Flash Drive Save Juice?

I’ve grown quite fond of my USB keychain drive, and was wondering; would saving my Scrivener documents onto this drive keep my hard drive quieter while running from my laptop battery?

Summer is coming to the Northern Hemisphere, which means I’ll be writing in places without an electrical outlet (and without a bathroom, but that’s a separate issue. Part of the appeal of writing in coffee houses, perhaps?)

I love the way Scrivener saves, this is in no way a complaint or request for changing it!

For those in the US interested in getting one, I found another Flash keychain type drive online, only 256 megs for $9.99. … sku=151311

In case it’s of use to anyone.

I don’t know about the hard drive noise or power issue, but some of the slowdown complaints seem to be linked to the use of flash drives - they’re a lot slower than hard drives.

Just so you know.


now that I have increased the number of seconds for autosave from 2 to 120 it works smoothly, no feeling of delay any more. After all, I am happy with the USB drive.


Sorry! By “quieter” I meant keep hard drive access down to prolong battery life.

A, understood. My iBook lives 4 to 5 hours and more with thumb drive. No differences.


That’s great staying power! The biggest trick I knew for maxing the battery on my old iBook was to make a RAMdisk, and I never fooled around with that, it made me too nervous.

I understand OS X is at a big advantage, it uses cacheing to keep hard drive access to a minimum. I’m looking forward to seeing how I’ll do with the new system. Thanks!

But is caching used for autosave? If it was, and the machine crashed, would the document really be save?

If one is typing furiously, isn’t this a bit risky? As I undertand it, the autosave is only after __ minutes of inactivity. If you never took a break of the length of time you set autosave to, if would never save.

Is there any way to set the autosave time to a finite time?

You can always hit command-s to force a save, regardless of the autosave time interval.

Of course, but that kind of defeats the purpose of AUTOsave.

As I understand it autosave is after __ SECONDS of inactivitty, so Maria’s 120 is actually 2 minutes. The default 2 seconds means hardly any risk of lost data unless you type for long periods without even pausing for 2 seconds.



yes, it seems like Scrivener is saving every 2 minutes. This is enough, although I sometimes type blind with quite some speed. If there is ever the case that I have typed 400 characters in these 2 minutes (beyond my abilities I am afraid) and the system crashes for some reason, well, I lost 400 characters, not more. It works very well. BUT: I frequently back up on HD with zip (cmd-shift-S), a good feeling of security.


So does setting the time interval to two minutes, but the point is that it’s there as an option.

One basic flaw, or should I say risk, with the idea of using USB flash drives for running backup is – they’re not dependable!

Of course, a HD isn’t 100 per cent dependable either, but the last six months, I’ve had two flash drives go bad on me.

I mean go bad as in deceased, bereft of life, resting in peace, pushing up the daisies, off the twig, kicked the bucket, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile…

In other words, not mounting and no amount of artificial resuscitation would help.

A flash drive is a convenient way of moving files from one computer to another. It’s not a safe backup medium!


As far as I understand the question was not to use the flash drive as a backup medium, but to store the projects to work. This works nicely, as regards my experiences during the last weeks. Maybe I was not clear in my last post, the zipped backups go to the HD of the connected computer, of course.


I’m happy it works for you, so far… :wink:

Fact is, I wouldn’t trust a flash drive even for incremental storing of work-in-progress. YMMV, of course.



As long as one considers any file saved to a flash card to be no more secure than that of one saved to a floppy disk, they should be all right. The more deadly error that I’ve seen is when sectors drop out, corrupting data without warning. There have been times when I’ve used a flash card to transfer data from one computer to another, and then not realised until months later that the data was corrupted in transfer and the originals are now gone.

Well, my two year old Flash drive did start acting funny. Just after I bought a new one, coincidentally enough.

I would delete stuff off of it, but the available space did not adjust. Soon, it wouldn’t take anything new, even though there was hardly anything on it. I used my Mac to reformat it, and now it works again. I blame the dual formatting that was on it when I bought it. Yes, I blame the PC!

But it’s worth a reminder that any medium can fail.

Aye, I got a newer one a year or two ago that supported the ability to format it with HFS+ and Journaling. I never did have errors on that one, but I had to stop using it eventually because the physical mechanism broke. I did have more errors with the older ones, and with ones that need to be FAT16 formatted because they are for cameras. I wouldn’t be surprised if FAT16 is just as much at fault as the medium itself, if not more. But all I have is the data of experience with a few units; hardly scientific.

When the latest one I owned broke, I came to the realisation that with my dreamhost account being essentially unlimited as far as storage constraints go, and broadband being the normal nearly anywhere I go, I might as well just use my ftp server as a common storage area.

I agree that online storage has a number of advantages. The “coming thing” is services that you basically access online, save online, run the App online.

Which is fine, as long as you can get on the internet. Probably in areas more advanced than mine, which has a few wireless spots in cafe’s & hotels. And, of course, the library!

So I’m not too bad off that way…

You do realise that this thread was last active 14½ years ago!