(Solved) Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

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Matthew_Wai
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(Solved) Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by Matthew_Wai » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:58 am

I have burnt Linux Mint 18.3 "Sylvia" - Cinnamon (64-bit) onto an SD card.
I have an HP Pavilion v7078hk motherboard with an Intel Core2 CPU 4300 and 3GB of RAM.
I have a USB hard disk with two partitions. The first one contains backups.
Is it possible to install Mint on the second partition without data loss on the first one?
I just tried but failed to install it. See the screenshots below.
/dev/sda1 was the partition containing backups, and I wanted to install Mint on /dev/sda2.
Errors arose and the installation could not be finished. It stuck at "Detecting file systems".
At the moment, /dev/sda2 is still in NTFS. Does it mean Mint failed to format it?

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Re: Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by michael louwe » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:23 am

@ Matthew Wai, .......
Matthew Wai wrote:.
.
Should be possible for a Legacy BIOS mode install, ie assuming the OS installed on the internal hard-drive(/sdc.?) is in Legacy BIOS mode.

It is incorrect to click Change to 'Edit Partition'. You should click + to 'Create Partition'.

/sda2 is only 10.7GB which is hardly sufficient for the LM system. Minimum is 10GB.

If you want to do it, LM should be installed on /sda1 or at the beginning of the external USB hard-drive = you need to move your data from /sda1 to somewhere else or as backup elsewhere.
....... You can then use the GParted program to repartition the external drive appropriately, eg allocate 100GB in /sda1 for the LM system. Proceed with the install via "Something else" method. Ensure that the "Device for boot loader installation is the external drive or /sda.

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Re: Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by Matthew_Wai » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:46 am

Mint should be installed on the first partition rather than the second one, and I should "Create Partition" rather than "Edit Partition". Is that correct?

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Re: Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by phd21 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:51 am

Hi Matthew_Wai,

I just read your post and the good replies to it. Here are my thoughts on this as well.

Yes, of course you can fully install Linux Mint to any drive or partition (internal or external (USB, Sata, etc...)) as long as there is enough space. But, you have to be careful to correctly choose the installation destination drive and partition where you want Linux Mint installed.

Usually "sda" refers to an internal hard drive and its partitions (sda1, sda2, sda3, etc...) and drive and partition designations like "sdb" or "sdc" refer to another drive (internal or external) and its partitions. Do you have an internal hard drive installed and an external USB drive, or just external drives?

Although your screenshot is partially blocked by a pop-up window, it looks like "sdc" is your external USB drive and it only has one partition. If "sda" is one of your external USB drives that you want to use, then "sda2" using the "ext4" Linux file system is what you would select as a destination for Linux Mint. FYI: 10gb is not a lot of space for installing a full version of Linux Mint, I would recommend increasing that to at least 20gb.

Hope this helps ...
Phd21: Mint KDE 17.3 & 18.3, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,4gb Ram,256gb SDD, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

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Re: Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by Matthew_Wai » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:03 pm

phd21 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:51 am
Do you have an internal hard drive installed and an external USB drive, or just external drives?
No, I do not have an internal hard drive because I have already killed it accidentally.

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Re: Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by phd21 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:34 pm

Hi Matthew_Wai,

Okay, then both drives you showed are USB external drives and their partitions. In this case it looks like you would install Linux Mint to /dev/sda2 and /dev/sda1 with the NTFS file system has all the files you want to save. Is "sdc" a USB Stick with the installation version of Linux Mint? I would still recommend increasing the size of "sda2" to at least 20gb, if you have enough unused space to do so. And the device for the bootloader would be "sda" as shown, just make sure "sda2" is selected and highlighted before continuing the installation of Linux Mint.

If you run "sudo lsblk -f" and paste the results back here, that would also provide us with drive and partition information.

Code: Select all

sudo lsblk -f
Out of curiosity, how did you kill the previous internal hard drive? FYI: There are some manufacturers selling SSDrives for very good prices nowadays from Amazon.com, Ebay, etc...

Hope this helps ...
Phd21: Mint KDE 17.3 & 18.3, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,4gb Ram,256gb SDD, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

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Re: Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by michael louwe » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:17 pm

@ Matthew Wai, .......
Matthew Wai wrote:.No, I do not have an internal hard drive because I have already killed it accidentally.
.
There are 3.5" and 2.5" hard-drives. The former is for desktops(= bigger) and the latter is for laptops. The hard-drive found inside the external USB hard-drive is the same as that found inside the desktop or laptop, ie they are interchangeable.

If the hard-drive inside the external USB enclosure/casing is the same size as that of your computer with the missing internal hard-drive and if you are up to doing some DIY dismantling, you can do the replacement. I have done it on a not-so-new laptop(2013) and it's not difficult.

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Re: Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by Matthew_Wai » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:48 pm

phd21 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:34 pm
Okay, then both drives you showed are USB external drives and their partitions. In this case it looks like you would install Linux Mint to /dev/sda2 and /dev/sda1 with the NTFS file system has all the files you want to save. Is "sdc" a USB Stick with the installation version of Linux Mint?
"sda" is the USB hard disk on which I want to install Mint. "sdc" is the USB flash drive to which I saved the screenshots. The installation version of Linux Mint is on a 2 GB SD card, and I have an installation version of Lubuntu on a 1 GB SD card, which has been mentioned in this post: https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php ... st13747919
phd21 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:34 pm
I would still recommend increasing the size of "sda2" to at least 20gb, if you have enough unused space to do so. And the device for the bootloader would be "sda" as shown, just make sure "sda2" is selected and highlighted before continuing the installation of Linux Mint.
Do you mean I can install Mint on "sda2" as long as it has 20 GB? Or should I install it on "sda1" as michael louwe said in his post? Should I "Edit Partition" or "Create Partition"?
phd21 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:34 pm
If you run "sudo lsblk -f" and paste the results back here, that would also provide us with drive and partition information.

Code: Select all

sudo lsblk -f
Do you mean running the code in Terminal when I have booted HP Pavilion from the Linux Mint Live SD card?
phd21 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:34 pm
Out of curiosity, how did you kill the previous internal hard drive?
I removed the sticker with "Warranty Void If Removed" printed on it. The sticker originally covered a small hole, through which dust particles got in afterward.

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Re: Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by Matthew_Wai » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:52 pm

michael louwe wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:17 pm
doing some DIY dismantling, you can do the replacement.
I won't do so because I want the USB hard drive, My Passport, to remain portable.

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Re: Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by phd21 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:50 pm

Hi Matthew_Wai,
Matthew_Wai wrote:"sda" is the USB hard disk on which I want to install Mint. "sdc" is the USB flash drive to which I saved the screenshots. The installation version of Linux Mint is on a 2 GB SD card, and I have an installation version of Lubuntu on a 1 GB SD card, which has been mentioned in this post: https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php ... st13747919
I was assuming that you are already booted into a Linux Mint to make your current posts. If you want to install Linux Mint to the external drive "sda" and its sda2 partition with the "ext4" file system, then go ahead. You can install it there right now with only 10gb of space, but after Linux Mint updates, you will not have much space leftover, which is why I recommend resizing that sda2 partition to 20gb, if you can. There are various partitioning options for doing this, boot to a live version of Linux Mint or "gParted live" and use their partition manager editor to perform the sda2 resize (edit partition), or to delete sda2 and recreate it as 20+gb and ext4 file system, either method may require shrinking sda1 (ntfs) partition to get the extra space.
Matthew_Wai wrote:Do you mean I can install Mint on "sda2" as long as it has 20 GB? Or should I install it on "sda1" as michael louwe said in his post? Should I "Edit Partition" or "Create Partition"?
From your screenshot, it looks to me like sda1 with the ntfs file system probably has all the "data" files that you do not want to loose, is this correct or not? And, that you created sda2 with 10gb to install Linux Mint to?
phd21 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:34 pm
If you run "sudo lsblk -f" and paste the results back here, that would also provide us with drive and partition information.

Code: Select all

sudo lsblk -f
Matthew_Wai wrote:Do you mean running the code in Terminal when I have booted HP Pavilion from the Linux Mint Live SD card?
Yes, that is what I mean. How did you get the screenshot of the partitions you already provided?

Video tutorial on installing a full version of Linux Mint to a USB Stick (or a USB drive)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_INn5_ ... h5w03c010c

Hope this helps ...
Phd21: Mint KDE 17.3 & 18.3, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,4gb Ram,256gb SDD, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

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Re: Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by Matthew_Wai » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:32 am

phd21 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:50 pm
If you want to install Linux Mint to the external drive "sda" and its sda2 partition with the "ext4" file system, then go ahead.
I already went ahead before I started this topic, but the result was that errors arose and the installation could not be finished. It stuck at "Detecting file systems", as I said in my first post.
phd21 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:50 pm
I was assuming that you are already booted into a Linux Mint to make your current posts.
I cannot make posts via Mint because the installation failed. I am currently using Windows on a different device.
phd21 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:50 pm
From your screenshot, it looks to me like sda1 with the ntfs file system probably has all the "data" files that you do not want to loose, is this correct or not? And, that you created sda2 with 10gb to install Linux Mint to?
Yes, and yes.
phd21 wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:50 pm
How did you get the screenshot of the partitions you already provided?
I pressed the "Print Screen" key.

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(Solved) Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by Matthew_Wai » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:38 am

Bingo! I am now running Mint on the USB hard disk.
I unmounted all partitions and then the installation went on without a hitch.
I installed Mint on the 10 GB partition, sda2, and 4.9 GB was free after the installation.

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Re: (Solved) Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by phd21 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:39 am

Hi Matthew_Wai,

That's great news, congrats on getting Linux Mint installed on your external USB drive. And, you can also access your NTFS partition with all your "data" as well, right?

FYI: You can still increase the size of the 10gb Linux Mint partition using a bootable installation version of Linux Mint or "gParted live" and its partition manager editor assuming you have space left on the NTFS partition.
Phd21: Mint KDE 17.3 & 18.3, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,4gb Ram,256gb SDD, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

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Re: (Solved) Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by Matthew_Wai » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:59 pm

All data, the backups, on the NTFS partition are safe and sound, and I can access them via Mint.
Actually, before installing Mint, I did successfully install Lubuntu but could not set up a PPPoE connection, so I switched to Mint. See this post: https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php ... st13748303

FYI: I will use this Mint on HP Pavilion only when my ASUS is dysfunctional. HP Pavilion is just a backup device. So 10 GB on the Ex4 partition is enough although there is still much free space on the NTFS partition. I wonder why Windows 10 showed it as 10 GB in AOMEI Partition Assistant but Mint shows it as 11 GB in "Disks".

matthew@matthew-pc ~ $ sudo lsblk -f
[sudo] password for matthew:
NAME FSTYPE LABEL UUID MOUNTPOINT
sdb
├─sdb2 ext4 17460673-8f64-4b42-a308-6bf2fc572e2d /
└─sdb1 ntfs My Passport 52B8CD88B8CD6B55 /media/matth
sda
└─sda1 vfat \xb3ƥ\xf7 BACKUP 06C7-0E6C /media/matth

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Re: (Solved) Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by phd21 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:51 pm

Hi Matthew_Wai,

I am glad to hear that you are up and running with Linux Mint on your external USB drive.

I highly recommend creating a bootable DVD and or USB stick of these wonderful "must have" utilities, "gParted Live" partition manager editor, "SuperGrub2", "boot-repair-disc". In fact, you can create a bootable DVD or USB stick with all of them on one DVD disc or USB stick.

As I stated before, it is pretty easy to safely resize partitions. If you boot to your Linux Mint Live installation DVD and use its partition manager editor, or "gParted Live", etc... You can click the NTFS partition, and shrink it (resize it) by about 10gb creating 10gb free space after the NTFS partition. Then move the ext4 Linux Mint partition to the left where the free space was which should then show 10gb or whatever free space after the ext4 partition, then resize the ext4 partition to use that 10gb free space thus increasing the Linux Mint ext4 partition by 10gb for a total of around 20gb+, apply, reboot.

Advertised vs. Actual Hard Drive Storage
https://www.lifewire.com/drive-storage- ... ies-833435

Why Do Hard Drives Show the Wrong Capacity in Windows?
https://www.howtogeek.com/123268/window ... -capacity/


Hope this helps ...
Phd21: Mint KDE 17.3 & 18.3, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,4gb Ram,256gb SDD, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

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Re: (Solved) Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by Matthew_Wai » Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:59 am

phd21 wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:51 pm
I highly recommend creating a bootable DVD and or USB stick of these wonderful "must have" utilities, "gParted Live" partition manager editor, "SuperGrub2", "boot-repair-disc".
I know nothing about "SuperGrub2" and "boot-repair-disc", but I already have a bootable Mint SD card that includes GParted. There is more than enough space on my USB hard disk. See below:

Free space.jpg

Actually, My Passport is the first partition, and matthew-pc, which contains Mint, is the second.

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Re: (Solved) Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by pbear » Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:45 am

As you have used only 25 GB on the backup partition (i.e., have 124 GB free), there's no good reason for not giving Mint the sort of space it needs to function correctly. Even 20 GB is the bare minimum. You're only seeing what's installed from the get go. Much more will come in over time. I've done minimum install for test purposes, six versions of Mint on one 250 GB drive. Ended up dismantling it and reinstalling only two because minimum space wasn't enough for long without aggressive weeding and purging. What you should do is keep half the drive for backup, give half to Mint, and both will have plenty of room.
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Re: (Solved) Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by phd21 » Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:10 pm

Hi Matthew_Wai,
Matthew_Wai wrote:I know nothing about "SuperGrub2" and "boot-repair-disc", but I already have a bootable Mint SD card that includes GParted. There is more than enough space on my USB hard disk.
1.) You certainly do have enough space to add at least 10gb more to your existing 10gb Linux Mint partition. And, the Live test drive installation version of Linux Mint Cinnamon does include a version of "gParted" partition manager editor which you could use. I have found that over time, Linux Mint updates themselves can total gigabytes since the original version was first released which could quickly eat up (use) what little space is left on that current partition.


2.) It is always possible that for whatever reason, a computer system using any operating system might develop a bootup problem, especially after doing partition changes, power outages or power surges, drive wearing out (bad sectors), inappropriate USB hot swapping, etc... These utilities can help with that (can save you a lot of trouble).

Tip: If you are using any 32-bit computers, or think you might be using 32-bit computers, then use 32-bit versions of these utilities, or have both 64-bit and 32-bit versions.

a.) "SuperGrub2" will scan all attached drives and their partitions for operating systems and allow you to boot into them even if they have a corrupted, missing or bad, bootloaders.

Super Grub2 Disk information
https://www.supergrubdisk.org/super-grub2-disk/

Super Grub2 Disk - download link for 64-bit and or 32-bit iso files.
https://www.supergrubdisk.org/category/ ... kdownload/

b.) "boot-repair-disk" is just that, a wonderful program to repair booting up issues, usually with their "Recommended one click repair" option as well.

boot-repair-disk information
https://sourceforge.net/p/boot-repair-cd/home/Home/

boot-repair-disk - download link for 64-bit and or 32-bit iso files.
https://sourceforge.net/projects/boot-repair-cd/files/


Just some examples of where partitioning helped me.

FYI-1: I recently installed a new SSDrive (256gb) that is about twice the size of my previous very small mechanical drive (120gb) where I was always running out of space, and has two bootable partitions Linux Mint KDE 17.3 (ext4) and Linux Mint KDE 18.2 (ext4) and a shared "Data" (NTFS) partition and the Linux Swap partition. After cloning the old drive to the new drive using the superb "Clonezilla Live" disk imaging application, I had over 100gb of unused free space at the end of the drive which of course I wanted to redistribute to those partitions. Although it took some fancy partitioning using a bootable partition manager editor, it worked perfectly without messing up my bootup processes. In other words, I did not need to use the "boot-repair-disc" or "SuperGrub2" afterward, but I have needed to before.

FYI-2: I also have 2 older Western Digital USB Passport Drives (Blue "Ultra" and Grey "Slim") for backing up my computers and for multimedia stuff (I alternate them when backing up); they are only 1tb (terabyte) each. I partitioned them to have 2 partitions a Linux "ext4" partition and a MS Windows "NTFS" partition (for compatibility with MS Windows systems and for use with multimedia devices with USB ports that only read MS Windows file system formats even though most of these devices use Linux as their operating system firmware(?), like smart TV's, smart DVD Blu-Ray players, game consoles, hardware routers, etc...)

FYI-3: I do have a couple fast and durable USB sticks with fully installed Linux Mint systems for a portable version of Linux Mint you can take with you and use on other computers, and In Case of Emergency (ICE) hardware problem (drive failure, etc...), or for "bugout" disaster (must leave the area, shtf) necessity.


Hope this helps ...
Phd21: Mint KDE 17.3 & 18.3, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,4gb Ram,256gb SDD, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

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Re: (Solved) Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by Matthew_Wai » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:36 am

phd21 wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:10 pm
I do have a couple fast and durable USB sticks with fully installed Linux Mint systems for a portable version of Linux Mint you can take with you and use on other computers
Can you access the Internet via the portable version of Linux Mint?
Is it possible to access the Internet via a Mint Live medium?

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Re: (Solved) Is it possible to install Mint on a USB hard disk without data loss?

Post by phd21 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:42 am

Hi Matthew_Wai,

Yes to both questions...
Phd21: Mint KDE 17.3 & 18.3, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,4gb Ram,256gb SDD, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:https://opensource.com/life/15/4/9-reasons-to-use-kde

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