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Thread: Portable installed system that boots in UEFI as well as in BIOS mode

  1. #41
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    Sep 2015
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    Re: Portable installed system that boots in UEFI as well as in BIOS mode

    thanks for the quick response ! I will give that a try and let you know how i get on....

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Re: Portable installed system that boots in UEFI as well as in BIOS mode

    that works great, many thanks.

    I have another question for further experiments

    I like the persistence of your install method, it behaves as a 'normal' ubuntu OS, I am wondering if it is possible to load the OS or filesystem into memory using your method and maintain persistence For example :-

    1. use your method for install to USB
    2. make changes to the the OS ...install/remove packages, change desktop environment etc.
    3. set the OS to load into RAM

    is this possible ? Currently the system fails (as expected) when the USB is removed as the filesystem is no longer availible
    Last edited by jamosky; September 7th, 2015 at 03:03 PM.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Re: Portable installed system that boots in UEFI as well as in BIOS mode

    It is easy to put the OS of a persistent live system into RAM. Just add the boot option toram. (Add it near persistent in grub.cfg)

    It may be more complicated to use RAM with an installed system. See this link (I have not tried it, but it seems to work for several people).

    Making Ubuntu Fast using RAM (updated and simplified)

    And of course, you need a lot of RAM to make it work well.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    8

    Re: Portable installed system that boots in UEFI as well as in BIOS mode

    thanks I will take a look at that.

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    7

    Re: Portable installed system that boots in UEFI as well as in BIOS mode

    hi,
    i'm not an expert about boot processes at all, but i'd like to share how i created an external usb disk with ubuntu installed that boots on both UEFI and bios machines...

    here are the steps i followed:

    1) using gparted, i wiped the disk creating a new gpt partition table with the following partitions:

    size | filesystem
    ---------------------
    2MB | unformatted filesystem
    200MB | fat32
    98GB | ext4
    3800MB | swap


    2) using gparted as well, i flagged the first partition with "bios_grub" flag.
    this is the final result:
    $ sudo parted /dev/sdb print
    Model: WDC WD32 00BEKT-00PVMT0 (scsi)
    Disk /dev/sdb: 320GB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: gpt

    Number Start End Size File system Name Flags
    1 1049kB 3146kB 2097kB bios_grub
    2 3146kB 213MB 210MB fat32 msftdata
    3 213MB 10.3GB 10.1GB ext4
    4 10.3GB 14.3GB 3985MB linux-swap(v1)


    3) i installed ubuntu 14.04.2 on the disk in bios mode. i selected "manual partitioning" to use /dev/sdb3 as root and install grub to the whole drive (/dev/sdb).

    4) after the installation, i booted the disk in bios mode, installed gparted and marked the fat32 partition (/dev/sdb2) with the "boot" flag.
    $ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install gparted && sudo gparted

    5) finally i installed grub-efi-amd64-bin and efi on /dev/sdb2:
    $ sudo apt-get install grub-efi-amd64-bin
    $ sudo mkdir -p /mnt/esp
    $ sudo mount /dev/sdb2 /mnt/esp
    $ sudo grub-install --efi-directory /mnt/esp --boot-directory /boot --target x86_64-efi --removable /dev/sdb
    Installing for x86_64-efi platform.
    Installation finished. No error reported.
    $ sudo umount /mnt/esp
    $ sudo rm -r /mnt/esp



    here are the tests i performed:
    1) before installing efi, the disk was not bootable on a UEFI machine. after installing it, it was.
    2) since i installed ubuntu 14.04.2 i tried and update the system: more than 300MB of updates where downloaded and installed (including kernel updates) and the disk is still bootable in both UEFI and bios machines.
    3) i tried same procedure with linux mint 17.1, updating to 17.2: everything went as expected.
    4) i tried and boot the disk inside a virtualbox machine: it correctly boots in both modes.

    the only attempt that failed so far was doing the whole procedure inside virtualbox: the disk boots fine if efi is disabled but i was not able to boot it in efi mode.

    what do you think about?
    Last edited by msavini; November 16th, 2015 at 06:10 PM.

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Re: Portable installed system that boots in UEFI as well as in BIOS mode

    Welcome to the Ubuntu Forums msavini

    I think your external usb disk with ubuntu installed that boots on both UEFI and bios machines is very interesting. It works well for you, at least when left alone and doing its own update/upgrade tasks.

    A future hard test is how it survives attacks from Windows. What happens if your usb disk is connected during major updates of Windows 10? Maybe it is left alone, thanks to the --removable option of grub-install.

    Good luck with your system, and please keep us updated

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    7

    Re: Portable installed system that boots in UEFI as well as in BIOS mode

    fortunately, i only (sporadically) run windows inside a virtualbox vm... sorry then, i won't be able to test if my method survives a windows update...
    i'll tell you if i find it to be broken by an ubuntu update, instead!

  8. #48
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    Nov 2011
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    Re: Portable installed system that boots in UEFI as well as in BIOS mode

    I have only Windows Technical Preview (for Windows 10). I have no regular Windows 10 system.

    Let us hope that someone who uses Windows 10 has time enough to test it!

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Re: Portable installed system that boots in UEFI as well as in BIOS mode

    @sudodus
    I would have taken that testing effort, But the last bit of updates that came in for Windows 10 On a Lenovo B-570
    Took my Bios out meaning I no longer have the ability to get to my BIOS.
    As a cheesy sort of work around I can remove the hard drive and plug a USB drive with Installer or persistent OS.
    This Lenovo Laptop is known for having faulty BOIS from the Start. Just a heads up for any one with this Laptop.

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Re: Portable installed system that boots in UEFI as well as in BIOS mode

    That's too bad runrickus. I hope that there will be a fix soon for the BIOS of that Lenovo model.

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