Install to external 2.5" drive, then put in laptop?

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runbei
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Install to external 2.5" drive, then put in laptop?

Post by runbei » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:51 am

I have a ThinkPad T43 laptop that won't boot from CD or USB, due to a problem I haven't been able to solve.

I would like to install Mint to the HD. Can I put the laptop hard drive in a 2.5" enclosure, install Mint there, then stick the HD back in the laptop and boot Mint from it? Searched here but didn't find instructions for that specific process. Thanks! This is the last solution before the laptop becomes a boat anchor.

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gold_finger
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Re: Install to external 2.5" drive, then put in laptop?

Post by gold_finger » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:03 pm

runbei wrote:I would like to install Mint to the HD. Can I put the laptop hard drive in a 2.5" enclosure, install Mint there, then stick the HD back in the laptop and boot Mint from it?
Never done that myself, but don't think it would be a problem.

First I'll state a couple of assumptions I'm making. If these are not correct, let me know.
-- You are planning for Mint to be the ONLY operating system on the disk.
-- You are planning to boot live Mint DVD/USB on a different computer while having target laptop hard drive attached via USB in an external enclosure.

You are dealing with an older laptop, so you may want to try a "lighter" desktop environment in one of the Long Term Releases (LTS), like Mint Xfce 13 or Mint Mate 13. The LTS releases are more stable releases and 13 is supported until 2017. Cinnamon versions may pose a problem for your laptop's capabilities. Also, if your laptop processor is 32-bit (probably) pick that version when downloading iso.

Go ahead and boot computer with live Mint and the laptop hard drive in external enclosure. Before installing, open GParted (partitioning software) and when it's done loading select the laptop hard drive. VERY IMPORTANT to be sure you are selecting the right drive. If you have multiple hard drives in the computer you're working from, this could be confusing. If you are having hard time figuring which is correct, post back here before continuing. On the selected laptop drive, delete all existing partitions leaving nothing but free, unpartitioned space. (GParted is usually located under: Menu -> System or Menu -> Administration depending on flavor of Mint you picked.)

Once that's done, go ahead and click the "Install Mint" icon on the screen. When you get to where it asks where you want to install, make sure you pick "Something Else". It will then load a screen showing all drives and partitions on them. Look for the drive you just cleared with GParted -- it will not have any partitions on it and show as free space. Click to select that drive and click the "free space" on it. Click "+" to make a new partition. (If "+" doesn't work, click button to make "New Partition Table" first; then select the free space and come back to adding partitions.) For simplicity sake make only two partitions. First, make large "Primary" partition starting at the "Beginning of this space" using "Ext4 journaling file system" with "Mount point" == /. Before clicking "OK", go back to the top and note the size. Then either type in a size that is 4GB (4000MB) less or use the "-" to do that. (You're leaving 4GB for a Swap partition after primary partition.) Now hit "OK" to create partition. You should see it and 4GB free space. Click to select free space and hit "+". Leave "Size" as shown, pick "Logical", "Beginning of this space", "Use as:" == "swap area", then "OK". (Do not hit "Install" yet.)

NOW VERY, VERY IMPORTANT!!!
"Device for boot loader installation:" == MUST BE THE LAPTOP DRIVE, but will likely be pre-filled with the hard drive of the computer you are working from. Click the arrow on the box (right side) to see choices. Pick the one corresponding to laptop drive. If you only have one hard drive in the computer you're working from it will likely be called "/dev/sda" and the laptop drive thru usb will be /dev/sdb or similar. Use same name as in partitioning section for the laptop drive and be sure to pick the one that does not have any numbers at the end. (/dev/sdb for example; not /dev/sdb1)

Once that's all set, click "Install Now" and let it do its thing. When done, choose to continue using live media instead of "rebooting". When install screen disappears, then just do a shutdown of the computer. (Menu -> Log Out -> Shutdown) Take you hard drive, put in laptop and boot-up. It should work fine. Post back to let us know how it went.
Last edited by gold_finger on Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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runbei
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Re: Install to external 2.5" drive, then put in laptop?

Post by runbei » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:11 pm

Boundlessly grateful for this masterful guide. I'm sure it will be useful to many who want to do the same thing, or similar.

Thanks particularly for the warnings - it would be a nightmare if I accidentally chose the wrong partition and wiped out a desktop drive.

Your assumptions about my hardware and purpose are correct. Long ago, I had Mint installed on the laptop, before the ability to boot from CD or USB went south. This will be an experiment to see if those boot problems are/aren't due to a serious motherboard issue. (T43s sometimes die from heat to the GPU, and from Southbridge problems.)

Thankfully, external 2.5" USB laptop drives are just $9 at Fry's. I can always use the enclosure as a light backup drive. Will let you know how it goes.

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gold_finger
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Re: Install to external 2.5" drive, then put in laptop?

Post by gold_finger » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:16 pm

Your welcome and good luck! Hopefully not an MB problem.
runbei wrote:Thankfully, external 2.5" USB laptop drives are just $9 at Fry's. I can always use the enclosure as a light backup drive.
Yeah, I've got a couple of them -- they do come in handy.
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kukamuumuka
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Re: Install to external 2.5" drive, then put in laptop?

Post by kukamuumuka » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:28 pm

I have made some installations that way, and mostly they all are working out of box.

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usbtux
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Re: Install to external 2.5" drive, then put in laptop?

Post by usbtux » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:36 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKL1tmn-xC0 External install
OR
Full install encrypted usb or flash drive http://youtu.be/Nw99gRGWGuw
http://goo.gl/DXKgM LinuxMint tutorials.
Running LinuxMint 17.3 Mate. Pepermint 6 & Manjaro 15.12 Capella XFCE
http://goo.gl/WFu0u Installing Mint - the screen cast videos.
linuxcounter #368850

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