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Thread: Ubuntu installer doesn't see external SSD connected via USB

  1. #1
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    Post Ubuntu installer doesn't see external SSD connected via USB

    Hi everyone,

    I'm super new here and I'm also new to Ubuntu, which I need in order to use OpenFOAM for university reasons. I'm having some trouble installing it (20.04.2) on an external SSD connected via USB to my computer. The problem is that my ssd doesn't appear among the possible options where to install ubuntu, and only my main internal SSD appears, where I don't want it to be. I have Windows 10 on my main SSD and I have formatted the external SSD with a primary partition of NTFS type. My laptop BIOS is of UEFI type and I have no idea if this has anything to do with the problem. I don't know which other details i need to give you to get a prespective so I will wait for any kind answer

    Thanks in advance

    p.s I think I should have put in in the installing section but I don't see how I can delete this post...
    Last edited by avanguardia; February 16th, 2021 at 11:34 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Ubuntu installer doesn't see external SSD connected via USB

    Can you see the external ssd from within the Ubuntu live session? Can you see it in uefi?

    You should be able to install Ubuntu on the external ssd. The bootloder will be put in the first (internal) drive anyway, in the efi partition already used by Windows. You probably want that in the external ssd too, so you may have to disable the internal ssd in uefi or physically disconnect it (if possible on your computer).

    There's no need to format the ssd first. The installer can do so and Ubuntu cannot be installed on an ntfs partition anyway. If you use manual partitioning (often recommended when there are multiple drives in your computer), it's convenient to use the gparted tool for that. It's included in the live system.

  3. #3
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    Re: Ubuntu installer doesn't see external SSD connected via USB

    I have Windows 10 on my main SSD and I have formatted the external SSD with a primary partition of NTFS type.


    This is your first misunderstanding coming from Windows land.
    Ubuntu requires ext4 not NTFS.

    Within Windows territory there is a package Rufus which can create a LiveUSB which in turn installs Ubuntu on your external USB.

    I have gone through the same stages, starting with Windows10. But rather than sharing the internal SSD my preference is to install Ubuntu on one or more external SSD's. I have two SSD's in an external docking bay with separate power.

    If your external SSD supports USB3.0 and your host has USB3.0 that is preferred for performance.

    There is a galaxy of posts in this forum about dual booting. You will need two USB flash drives:
    One for holding Windows recovery data (not necessary, but advised)
    Another for your Ubuntu LiveUSB.

    Once Rufus has created a LiveUSB you can launch this and "Try Ubuntu" (before Install Ubuntu which comes later).
    Then in "Try Ubuntu" mode on your laptop you will need to install Gparted (from memory it is not installed by default, but possibly my memory fails me). Then I advise using Gparted to prepartition your external SSD.

    If you get stuck I can offer a screenshot of the Gparted view on /dev/sdc (I have Windows on /dev/sda, another copy of Ubuntu on /dev/sdb and my current Ubuntu running on /dev/sdc). Although Windows does have a partition for boot, I prefer to add my own fat32 EFI (with boot flags) to each external SSD.

  4. #4
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    Re: Ubuntu installer doesn't see external SSD connected via USB

    Thanks to both of you for the answer, I understand some of the steps and I am doing mostly what dragonfly said. However, once I am in Ubuntu Live, I can't see my external SSD among the memory devices, only my internal one, called dev nvme01. Thus, I can't partition my external one using gparted because I don't see it in the first place. (Maybe I'm missing/not understanding something really silly)

  5. #5
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    Re: Ubuntu installer doesn't see external SSD connected via USB

    Gparted has a dropdown menu for different devices.
    Disks shows all drives in the left panel.

  6. #6
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    Re: Ubuntu installer doesn't see external SSD connected via USB

    Quote Originally Posted by avanguardia View Post
    installing it (20.04.2) on an external SSD connected via USB to my computer...
    Have you already created it as a gpt disk on your external drive?
    corn ubuntuforums community.
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    From: mike_08

  7. #7
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    Re: Ubuntu installer doesn't see external SSD connected via USB

    Perhaps an obvious point .. but have you tried connecting SSD through a different USB port?
    And does your USB port recognise other devices?
    Could be port/cable.

  8. #8
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    Re: Ubuntu installer doesn't see external SSD connected via USB

    Yes, if i understand the question correctly. I have created a single partition on my external ssd as GPT disk with NTFS format; then, as some of you mentioned that NTFS can't be used for ubuntu, I've also tried removing that space so I was left with an unallocated space on a GPT disk, but either way Ubuntu doesn't recognize it. Also to reply to dragonfly, I have tried with both of the available usb ports and it doesn't work, the ssd is fully visible in windows so i doubt that's the problem.

  9. #9
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    Re: Ubuntu installer doesn't see external SSD connected via USB

    Quote Originally Posted by avanguardia View Post
    I have tried with both of the available usb ports and it doesn't work, the ssd is fully visible in windows so i doubt that's the problem.
    Have you tried using the sata ports? Just try using the SATA maybe it will work. What specific usb do you have, usb 2 port or usb 3?
    corn ubuntuforums community.
    Open Source platform where the real world of human is here. Click here for Solve thread
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    From: mike_08

  10. #10
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    Re: Ubuntu installer doesn't see external SSD connected via USB

    How exactly have you concluded that "Ubuntu doesn't recognize it"?
    Again, in GParted you must use the dropdown menu to see other drives. Or you can open Disks instead and all drives should show up in the left panel.
    There are also different commands to gather a more in depth information about the whole system:
    Code:
    sudo lsblk -o NAME,FSTYPE,SIZE,MOUNTPOINT,LABEL
    Or
    Code:
    sudo fdisk -l
    Both in terminal, obviously.

    And I must insist in what was commented a few times here: Please refrain from doing partitioning and formatting in Windows for a drive that is intended for installing Ubuntu. Creating a NTFS partition and then removing it is a (twice) waste of time. Anything related to partition table, partitions and formatting can and should be done in the Ubuntu live session and most if not all can be done within the Ubuntu installer itself.

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