Installation from live usb to usb, does not work

Questions about Grub, UEFI,the liveCD and the installer
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znapper
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USB to USB installation not working

Post by znapper » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:53 pm

Hi

I created a "live-cd" on a 64GB usb-drive I had lying around, all worked fine, booting ok, coming into the live-version of the Mint os just fine.

I want to install the actual running OS to a separate USB drive (128GB), because of limited disk space on my laptop.
Plugged in the other USB, started the installation. Created the root partition (sdb1) as ext4 (also tried ext3 and ext2), no network, continue install.

Apparently all is fine, installation completed to my other USB drive.

Fine, reboot, removing the live-usb, boots up from my 128GB USB with the actual full installation of Mint.
Grub-boot starts, I can select the Mint linux and start booting that.

Splash/Progress screen with the Mint logo appears.

Drops into initramfs after a while, no info, no nothing, no nada zitz.

This was done with Mint 19, also tried 18.3, same result.

Whats going on here?

There is no information at the prompt, I have no idea where and how to get information about the fault.
I suspect there is some issue because I installed from USB to USB.

GRUM configuration is cryptic.
initramfs is useless, at least for me, cannot find any logs, tools or information to correct the GRUB (If that is what I am supposed to do).
Commands in initramfs shows the disk and partitions located on my USB, so it should be available.

If the thing boots, why the heck can't the OS load?
Where is the boot-log located?

I am not interested to run the thing as dual boot on my actual HD.

Anyone familiar with this kind of issue? Can't find the right information online, I find a lot of issues booting and typical drops to initramfs, but no one that describe the scenario I am having, after installing from a USB to a USB.

jglen490
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Re: Installation from live usb to usb, does not work

Post by jglen490 » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:09 pm

When you installed Mint to the USB drive, where did you tell the installer to place Grub?

What is the "boot" drive according to your BIOS?

I suspect that whatever is your machine's first bootable drive, it knows nothing about your USB drive as being "bootable", or that it contains an operating system.
I feel more like I do than I did when I got here.
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znapper
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Re: Installation from live usb to usb, does not work

Post by znapper » Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:39 am

For the installer, I tell it that the boot-loader should be locatd on sdb1. (my 128 GB USB-drive)

The grub only loads when I stick the 128GB drive in and press f12, so I can tell my computer to boot from the 128GB USB drive.
- If I do not, I boot windows automatically.

Though, I see in the installer that I can select that the boot-loader is installed on "the drive" sdb1, or the root partition that I install Mint to.
Thus far, I have put the boot-loader on the "drive" and not on the root partition.

Can that be the problem?

(I am starting another install to see and report back)

znapper
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Re: Installation from live usb to usb, does not work

Post by znapper » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:11 am

Ok, I tried again (with 18.3).

During the installer, my 128GB USB drives shows up like this:

sdc
1
1-----sdc1 / ext4 100 gb
|-----swap 20GB

For the boot-loader device selection, I can select both sdc (SAMSUNG) and sdc1

I have tried both, GRUB loads up when I boot from the 128GB USB in both cases.

Thing is; the sdc and sdc1 is changed to sdb and sdb1 when I remove the live USB after the install and try to boot from the 128GB USB.

Though, I thought the system used UUID(?) to figure out what disk is where, and that this would not be a problem.

znapper
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Re: Installation from live usb to usb, does not work

Post by znapper » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:17 am

I have tried keeping the live-USB in during reboot and select the 128GB drive as the boot device.

Same results, after a while, the logo disappear and I am back to initramfs

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pbear
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Re: Installation from live usb to usb, does not work

Post by pbear » Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:30 am

The good news is that it's definitely possible to install to USB drive (I've done in many times) and it doesn't matter whether you boot the live session from USB or DVD. Also, it doesn't matter that the device designation changes from sdc to sdb when you boot the full-install USB after removing the live USB. The bad news is that installing to USB drive is tricky in UEFI because of a bug which will bollix your internal hard drive's EFI partition even though you tell the installer to place Grub on the USB drive. There are ways around the bug, but let's start with the question: Does your laptop use BIOS or UEFI?

If the former, you should be telling the installer to put Grub on the drive, not a partition. If the latter, you should use one of the workarounds, e.g., here and here. Or, if your laptop supports it, you could install in legacy mode and use that for all USB boots. If you've already bollixed your internal drive bootloader, see here for how to fix. I'm off to work, so won't be able to follow up until much later in the day, but wanted to give you a "head's up" about the bug and a few links to maybe get you over the hump on your own. Will check back later to see how you're doing.

By the way, have you considered doing this in VirtualBox? That's a separate learning curve, but has advantages like complete segregation from the main operating system, reliable installation (known set of virtual hardware) and the ability to have Windows and Linux running simultaneously.
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znapper
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Re: Installation from live usb to usb, does not work

Post by znapper » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:11 pm

Thanks a lot for answering :)

I turned off UEFI mode when I started experimenting installing, because in that mode, the Live USB would not boot to begin with at all.
So the settings are currently "Legacy".

My laptop starts just fine with no additional bootable media, loading up windows as normal.
Interrupts to check boot-orders etc does noe reveal anything in particular.

The disk in my laptop looks like this, i split C into C and D, the rest is related to recovery I think
2018-10-20 18_08_49-Datamaskinbehandling.png
System operates normally.

I could try and place grub on the windows-drive, but if things are not working after that, I suppose I will need to run windows repair-mode to correct the disk back to only boot windows.

jglen490
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Re: Installation from live usb to usb, does not work

Post by jglen490 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:59 pm

So if you are booting under legacy then your BIOS will look for a boot loader on the first drive. Your USB drive is not the first drive unless you tell BIOS that it is the first, or primary, drive. You could have 2 or 3 or 4 drives, each with an OS, BIOS will go to the first drive and when it finds that it is bootable and has an OS then it will boot there. The exception is if the boot loader presents multiple options, then you select a drive tell the firmware to boot from that drive.

Under UEFI, it's different, but the principle remains the same the firmware has to know or be told what OS to boot. If your EFI is on the desinated primary bootable drive, among several, and EFI has information about the other drives then it will allow selection of a drive and the OS to boot.

Having a boot loader on two, or more, different drives without giving your firmware information as to which drive to boot from is the problem you are seeing. It can be solved by having a boot loader on your designated primary drive that will allow a selection from different bootable drives and OSes.
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znapper
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Re: Installation from live usb to usb, does not work

Post by znapper » Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:46 pm

Well, I am able to interrupt the statup on the computer and then select which device (usb or hd) to boot from, and it seems to work well.

I also went into my BIOS-setting right now and set the USB as the primary boot-device (before the HD), computer starts up and shows the GRUB menu, the GRUB menu gives me the option to boot Linux mint cinnamon from the USB and even windows from my HD.

When selecting Mint Cinnamon, it still stops after 30 seconds with the mint splash screen and dumps me to the shell with no additional information.

If I type "exit" in that shell, I get information pointing to issues with my UUID for my USB-drive.
The UUID and naming checks out though, so it looks like the USB drive is not visible for the GRUB/at boot-time??

How is that possible when the computer actually starts booting from my USB?

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pbear
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Re: Installation from live usb to usb, does not work

Post by pbear » Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:44 am

Tried to post last night but the system was having issues. Anyhoo, I respectfully disagree with jglen. If this were a BIOS problem, you wouldn't be able to boot the live USB. Conversely, as you're able to boot that, a properly installed full-install USB also should boot. So, I think, we have to look elsewhere for the problem. Three possibilities occur to me: (i) there's something wrong with your live USB; (ii) the target flash drive is defective; or (iii) there's something wrong in your installation procedure, e.g., the partition scheme or the mount points.

Ordinarily, I would assume #3 is the most likely explanation, but the fact you couldn't get the live USB to boot in UEFI is suspicious. The ISO is designed to boot in either environment. You sound conscientious, so I assume you did the sha256sum check. If we exclude that possibility, the next thing to try is burning the ISO with a different utility. The Installation Guide recommends Etcher, but I've found it less than 100% reliable in Windows, whereas Rufus hasn't failed me yet. So, for your next trial, I suggest downloading that (it's a portable) and using it to burn the ISO to USB.

Now, do the installation again. (Yes, I know, heavy sigh.) If you actually want LM19, do that. Main difference from LM18.x for installation purposes is that 18.x requires a swap partition, where 19 can use either a swap partition or a swap file. Unless you plan to hibernate, a swap file is better on a small system, as the space only gets claimed when needed. And if you have 20 GB of RAM, that's going to be never (other than a hibernate). First time you do the reinstall, do what you did the previous attempts except, as mentioned, for a BIOS install you definitely should be installing Grub to the device rather than a partition (e.g., sdc not sdc1). If the live USB was the problem, the reinstall should go through fine and you're off to the races.

If that doesn't work, you're looking at trying to figure out what installation step you're getting wrong. Hard for us to know, as we're not there. Post a link to the "how to" you're using and maybe something will jump out at us. Hope that helps. Good luck.
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