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Thread: Installing 14.04 onto flash drive

  1. #1
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    Installing 14.04 onto flash drive

    I've created the 14.04 installer DVD, and would like to use it to install the release onto a flash drive. If that works, would also like to install it onto an external hard drive. In both cases, I DON'T want to create a dual boot with the Windows 8.1 on my internal drive.

    If I can install them, plan to boot them from the PC boot menu. I don't want to modify my internal drive, don't want GRUB on it.

    MY PC is a Lenovo 64 bit laptop with UEFI, but hope I've surmounted the UEFI problem by changing to Legacy mode on the BIOS Menu.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Re: Installing 14.04 onto flash drive

    You have to have grub as that is the boot loader.
    But you can choose to boot from UEFI menu or one time boot key (f12 on my system).
    The os-prober will find the internal drive and add boot entries but only if flash drive is in same boot mode will those entries work. You can turn off os-prober.

    You can configure flash drive to boot in either UEFI or BIOS boot mode or both.
    Flash drive to boot in UEFI or BIOS - sudodus
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/In.../UEFI-and-BIOS

    You do have to use Something Else or manual install, so you get the combo box on the bottom of the partition, mount & format screen on where to install grub2's boot loader. You want to be sure to change from default of sda to whatever flash drive is, sdb or sdc etc.

    How large is flash drive?
    My 16GB has a 8GB / (root) and 8GB for data with no swap. But I do not use it a lot, it is more for emergency boot.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  3. #3
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    Re: Installing 14.04 onto flash drive

    Thank you for that quick response. Your responses have always been that way, and I greatly appreciate it.
    There is much that I don't understand, and I will have to work through it, and the links you provided, and get back to you with more questions, over a period of several days.

    One of the things which gives me pause immediately, is why I would have to have GRUB on my internal drive, even though I will not have Ubuntu on it. Is it because when I use the boot menu to boot the flash drive, it is actually GRUB which is providing that boot menu? I can understand why it would have to be on the flash drive, but I am very uneasy about making my Windows system inaccessible because of the boot problems I always get into with GRUB if it is on the internal drive.

    In any case, (many) more questions to come.

  4. #4
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    Re: Installing 14.04 onto flash drive

    You do not need the grub boot loader on your internal drive. And you do not want that.

    But you do have to have grub as it is boot loader, but have to install the boot loader to the MBR of the flash drive or external drive. Only Something Else or manual install gives an option on where to install a boot loader.

    Then you keep the Windows boot loader on the internal drive, and set BIOS/UEFI to boot external first. Then if external not found, it will default to internal. You may have to set that boot order in BIOS.

    If Windows is UEFI, I do suggest you make flash drive UEFI or any external drive UEFI. But use gpt partitioning whether you want BIOS or UEFI boot as Ubuntu can boot from either way from the new gpt partitioning.

    With UEFI the issue is less than it was with BIOS/MBR. In BIOS/MBR system only boots from MBR of drive. Each system overwrites MBR with its boot loader. Only if you have more than one drive can you have multiple/different boot loaders in each MBR.

    But with UEFI each system installs its boot loaders in the efi partition. So a new install does not overwrite an old install just adds another boot folder. So a system with UEFI is somewhat like a boot configuration with multiple MBRs even if only one drive.
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  5. #5
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    Re: Installing 14.04 onto flash drive

    Thanks! I didn't know I could make the external drive or flash drive UEFI. I didn't even know about gpt partitioning. Will look into those, and be back.

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    Re: Installing 14.04 onto flash drive

    Link in post #2 has detailed instructions on flash drive with gpt. It is also either BIOS or UEFI, but you do not have to make it both.

    GPT Advantages (older but still valid) see post#2 by srs5694:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1457901
    https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php...antages_of_GPT
    UEFI Advantages
    http://askubuntu.com/questions/44696...y-vs-uefi-help
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  7. #7
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    Re: Installing 14.04 onto flash drive

    Quote Originally Posted by walt11 View Post
    Would like to install onto a flash drive. Would also like to install onto an external hard drive. In both cases, I DON'T want to create a dual boot with the Windows 8.1 on my internal drive.
    It sounds like you want to run Ubuntu/Linux off external media, possibly with persistence.

    Please refer to these informative articles:

    Live USB
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_USB

    installation from USB Stick
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/In...n/FromUSBStick

    LiveCD/Persistence
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/LiveCD/Persistence

    Live CD
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_CD

    Make a Live CD/DVD or Bootable USB
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Ma...arddiskInstall

    There are also several Linux Distros whose main benefit is being small and lightweight enough to permanently boot off external media such as USB Flash Drives and so forth.

    Lightweight Linux Distribution
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightwe...x_distribution

    List of Linux Distros that run from RAM
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...t_run_from_RAM

    Good Luck, and Enjoy Linux.

  8. #8
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    Re: Installing 14.04 onto flash drive

    Thanks to both of you for all that helpful information. I would not have found that on my own - even after spending lots of time trying.

  9. #9
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    Re: Installing 14.04 onto flash drive

    Quote Originally Posted by oldfred View Post
    You can configure flash drive to boot in either UEFI or BIOS boot mode or both.
    Flash drive to boot in UEFI or BIOS - sudodus
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/In.../UEFI-and-BIOS
    I was able to use the instructions at the link you provided to install a bootable 14.04 system on my USB 3 flash drive. Thanks so much for your help. I would now like to do the same thing on my external USB 3 hard drive. How must I modify the instructions at H. for creating the partitions to include the large (1TB) data partition for the external? And then, which partition will have the boot flag?

  10. #10
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    Re: Installing 14.04 onto flash drive

    Grub does not use boot flag.

    With UEFI and gparted it uses the boot flag to indicate the efi partition (and only one per drive). But that is just a gparted convention as with gpt drives the efi partition is defined by a really long GUID which is not so easy to add, so gparted uses boot flag.
    With gdisk it uses 4 char codes to define GUIDs. For and efi partition it is ef00 and for a bios_grub it is ef02.

    You install to an external hard drive the same way, just partition sizes can be a lot larger. I suggest 20 or 25GB for / (root) and separate /home or data partition(s). If you may use drive with a Windows system, you may want a NTFS data partition so you can use it with Windows. Windows does not see Linux partitions.

    For the Total space you want for Ubuntu:
    Ubuntu's standard install is just / (root) & swap, but it is better to add another partition for /home if allocating over 30GB.:
    Only if gpt - all partitions in gpt are primary:
    gpt: 300 MB efi FAT32 w/boot flag (for UEFI boot or future use for UEFI, you only can have one per drive, so if already existing do not attempt another)
    gpt: 1 MB No Format w/bios_grub flag (for BIOS boot not required for UEFI)
    for gpt(GUID) or MBR(msdos) partitioning
    Ubuntu partitions - smaller root only where hard drive space is limited.
    If total space less than about 30GB just use / not separate /home or standard install.
    1. 10-25 GB Mountpoint / primary or logical beginning ext4(or ext3)
    2. all but 2 GB Mountpoint /home logical beginning ext4(or ext3)
    3. 2 GB Mountpoint swap logical

    Depending on how much memory you have you may not absolutely need swap but having some is still recommended. I do not hibernate (boots fast enough for me) but if hibernating then you need swap equal to RAM in GiB not GB. And if dual booting with windows a shared NTFS partition is also recommended. But you usually cannot create that as part of the install, just leave some space. Or partition in advance (recommended).
    One advantage of partitioning in advance is that the installer will use the swap space to speed up the install. Thanks Herman for the tip.
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DiskSpace
    suggested partitions for just Ubuntu on 3TB drive.
    http://askubuntu.com/questions/33643...rtition-scheme
    Another advanced suggestion from TheFu with Multiple / (root) - Post #5 similar to what I actually do
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2170308
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2021534
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

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