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Thread: Could I install Ubuntu on a 8gb SD card and install the apps on an external hard driv

  1. #1
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    Could I install Ubuntu on a 8gb SD card and install the apps on an external hard driv

    I would have my laptop in between but 8 was thinking this "modular" setup would allow me to easily swap machines like when my current dinosaur laptop takes a final nose dive.
    Last edited by QIII; July 19th, 2021 at 01:28 AM. Reason: Family/Workplace friendly verbiage

  2. #2
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    Lubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa

    Re: Could I install Ubuntu on a 8gb SD card and install the apps on an external hard

    Nice idea, but I doubt that it will work. There are so many configurations, drivers and hardware dependencies that you'd need a 100% clone of your "dinosaur laptop", and then I fail to see the gain.

  3. #3
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    Re: Could I install Ubuntu on a 8gb SD card and install the apps on an external hard

    What about how the live CD works? How could I use that but put on an SD card? Is usually used for temporary uses?

  4. #4
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    Lubuntu Development Release

    Re: Could I install Ubuntu on a 8gb SD card and install the apps on an external hard

    You haven't said what release or system you want to install.

    Ubuntu Desktop has recommended the minimum of 25GB since Ubuntu 17.10 (ie. all GNOME3 releases). See https://help.ubuntu.com/community/In...emRequirements. Ubuntu Server has lower listed requirements, but in both setups it will depend on what you plan to do with it. (many blogs & users say you can live with less, but it depends on what you'll use it for & what software, upgrade procedures you'll follow etc)

    Yes you can have each directory on different drives; eg. put the directory /snap on a external drive so all installed snaps go to the external drive; likewise for other directories, so yes it's possible.

    I've had a motherboard die and tried to just swap disk out of one box, and into another of the same brand/model box, and the system failed to boot. I briefly worked on it then decided it was far quicker to re-install rather than make it work and thus re-installed. I didn't expect to need to reinstall, given the same brand/model box was used even though some components may have changed given they were nearly a year apart in production.

    I've swapped drives between different boxes & had the resultant drive boot & be perfectly usable. In fact I've volunteered at a recycler where we cloned drives (an installed Ubuntu/Ubuntu-MATE system) that were put in builds before testing and most booted pretty near perfectly, before our final tweaking (for the hardware of the build). At the recycler if a box failed to boot with a cloned drive it was usually discarded (ie. box was really recycled) as it may have meant hardware issues, or it required a real install which took too long to configure and test.

    Yes swapping installs between boxes is possible (and works more than it fails), but in my own experience I'd suggest it's not guaranteed, and I tend to clean install on boxes I rely on because of issues. Especially given installs don't take long (a QA-test install of Lubuntu on a `dell [optiplex] 990 (i7-2600, 16gb, nvidia geforce gt 6600 gt)` would take less than 2 minutes not including boot time though it had a good ssd)

    For a live system with persistence - yep that's definitely possible, and I'd create it with `mkusb` - I'll suggest reading https://help.ubuntu.com/community/mkusb/persistent

  5. #5
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    Re: Could I install Ubuntu on a 8gb SD card and install the apps on an external hard

    Thanks for all that input. My laptop is archaic. I can't do much with it. 1ghz 4gigs ram. My Ubuntu disk is a few years old too. 16.0.4 I believe off the top of my head. I'll probably get new hardware within a year. All I wanted was something to play movies and do some excel with. I used to use some emulator for excel I forget what it was called but it worked. I just went back to windows 7 because of the familiarity but I wasn't able to reinstall it after my last mobo died(only cost $30 to replace)

  6. #6
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    Re: Could I install Ubuntu on a 8gb SD card and install the apps on an external hard

    I suggest that you try a light-weight flavour of 20.04.x LTS: Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE and/or Xubuntu persistent live created with mkusb. You may consider a fast USB 3 pendrive with at least 16 GB in order to get a better experience even if the computer has only USB 2 ports. See this link.

    Edit: After testing some time you may want to full installation of your favourite flavour of Ubuntu. Then it is best to make a fresh installation.
    Last edited by sudodus; July 19th, 2021 at 10:10 AM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Could I install Ubuntu on a 8gb SD card and install the apps on an external hard

    What about an SD card? I don't have a pen drive. But I've got a couple sd cards and am adapter to go in the slot in my laptop

  8. #8
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    Re: Could I install Ubuntu on a 8gb SD card and install the apps on an external hard

    SD cards behave pretty much like USB pendrives, and there are fast and slow cards too. You can try with your 8GB card. Maybe it will be big and fast enough for you.

    I would say that with a small and slow card makes it more suitable for a live or persistent live system. An installed system demands more space and faster access (and will also cause more wear of the memory cells).

  9. #9
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    Re: Could I install Ubuntu on a 8gb SD card and install the apps on an external hard

    I am not understanding why you are not just installing Ubuntu on your external drive? It does not need to o on a flash drive or SD card. I find external mechanical drives faster than SD cards for running Ubuntu. A external SSD would be great. If you plan on moving it from computer to computer do not install any proprietary drivers at this time and everything should work okay

  10. #10
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    Re: Could I install Ubuntu on a 8gb SD card and install the apps on an external hard

    Just a note.

    You didn't say whether your system and card reader was USB, PATA or SATA... Or if USB, whether it was USB2 or USB3. I know form experience that some internal card readers will not let you boot from, because they don't usually show the cards as "storage" drives. Some USB SD card readers will not boot as a USB storage device. Make sure it comes up as USB Storage.

    SD cards are slow to read and write. The fastest SD cards are about 4-5 times slower than USB2.0. USB3.0 is 10 times faster than USB2.0. A good 16GB USB drive is less than the price of the same size reasonably fast (as SD Cards go) SD Card...

    So yes, people are recommending getting an USB thumb drive.

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