Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

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rui no onna
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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by rui no onna » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:59 am

lsemmens wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:29 pm
Just a couple of "idle, silly" questions. Is there a BIOS that will permit booting from a USB connected HDD? (i've not tried, so don't know) I'd have thought that that would be a no-brainer given that USB flash memory can be bootable.
Note, not all motherboards support booting from USB flash either. Probably more pronounced for computers released prior to 2010.

I expect most newer devices wouldn't have an issue booting from USB though (regardless of HDD or flash drive). Granted, I'm just guessing. Last time I tried a USB "hard drive" was back in 2012 working on even older hardware. My MB didn't like it. :P
Last edited by rui no onna on Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by spaceman5 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:02 am

rui no onna wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:59 am
I expect most newer devices wouldn't have an issue booting from USB though (regardless of HDD or flash drive).
Does a BIOS boot from USB 3 device as well as it does from USB 2 devices??
And when it boots from a USB 3 device, does it work in USB 3 mode or USB 2 mode?


I ask this because when you connect a USB 3 device to a computer running an OS,
If that OS has drivers for your USB 3 controller, then you will get USB 3 speeds.

But when you boot from a USB 3 Device, the motherboard has to take responsibility of everything..
There's no OS running already that will provide USB 3 drivers..

Anyone has experience with this?

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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by rui no onna » Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:00 am

spaceman5 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:02 am
I ask this because when you connect a USB 3 device to a computer running an OS,
If that OS has drivers for your USB 3 controller, then you will get USB 3 speeds.

But when you boot from a USB 3 Device, the motherboard has to take responsibility of everything..
There's no OS running already that will provide USB 3 drivers..
Unlike Windows XP or Windows 7, the current Linux kernel has built-in support for USB 3.0. Mind, both Windows 8 and 10 have built-in support for USB 3.0, too.

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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by BG405 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:11 am

rui no onna wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:00 am
Unlike Windows XP or Windows 7, the current Linux kernel has built-in support for USB 3.0
This .. and yes, if it'll boot off a flash drive, it'll normally boot off a suitably prepared USB HDD too.
lsemmens wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:29 pm
YES you can load to, and boot from an external HDD with one caveat! It stuffs up Grub on the primary drive so now I have to work out how to repair it!!! 'nutha thread coming up!
What I'd do is set the BIOS to boot from USB first, then, if possible, remove the internal hard disk before starting the installation.

If this is impractical, you may need to run ubiquity -b from a Terminal, which runs the installer without installing the bootloader (GRUB). Then, do sudo grub-install /dev/sdX where X is the USB drive.

NOTE: I'm assuming this is a BIOS (Legacy) install? If it's (U)EFI then the bootloader needs to go in the EFI System Partition (ESP).
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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by lsemmens » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:22 pm

BG405 wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:11 am

This .. and yes, if it'll boot off a flash drive, it'll normally boot off a suitably prepared USB HDD too.
lsemmens wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:29 pm
YES you can load to, and boot from an external HDD with one caveat! It stuffs up Grub on the primary drive so now I have to work out how to repair it!!! 'nutha thread coming up!
What I'd do is set the BIOS to boot from USB first, then, if possible, remove the internal hard disk before starting the installation.

If this is impractical, you may need to run ubiquity -b from a Terminal, which runs the installer without installing the bootloader (GRUB). Then, do sudo grub-install /dev/sdX where X is the USB drive.

NOTE: I'm assuming this is a BIOS (Legacy) install? If it's (U)EFI then the bootloader needs to go in the EFI System Partition (ESP).
It did not work when I plugged into another computer, so I'll need to play some more. Sorry, I cannot offer more assistance at this stage. I spent the rest of yesterday getting two computers working again instead of just the one that prompted my attempt. In the end, it was quicker just to perform a re-load. (BACKUPS are wonderful!!!!)
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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by rui no onna » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:30 am

lsemmens wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:29 pm
YES you can load to, and boot from an external HDD with one caveat! It stuffs up Grub on the primary drive so now I have to work out how to repair it!!! 'nutha thread coming up!
Curious, assuming the following:

/dev/sda - internal HDD
/dev/sdb - Live USB
/dev/sdc - external USB HDD

Did it mess up grub on /dev/sda with /dev/sdc selected for bootloader install? Also, was this under Legacy BIOS or UEFI mode?

Mind, assuming dissimilar hardware, how portable is a full install compared to the Live USB?

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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by spaceman5 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:45 am

rui no onna wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:30 am
Did it mess up grub on /dev/sda with /dev/sdc selected for bootloader install? Also, was this under Legacy BIOS or UEFI mode?

Maybe he didn't select the USB HDD on the bottom ComboBox, like Mute Ant noted?
Mute Ant wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:07 am
Along the Something Else route you need to specify that the boot-loader GRUB should go to the same store that's going to hold the OS.
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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by lsemmens » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:06 am

spaceman5 wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:45 am
Maybe he didn't select the USB HDD on the bottom ComboBox, like Mute Ant noted?
That, indeed, may well have been a possibility. I can't recall even seeing that option, but that does not mean it was not presented to me. If I left the drive plugged in, it would boot to grub where I could, then select which OS to boot. It was only when I unplugged the drive and tried to re-boot that I went to the Grub rescue prompt. I also, then, plugged that external drive into another computer and it would not boot. (I'll qualify that in that it was an older machine, that would boot from a memory stick, but may not from a USB HDD.)
Kernel: 4.15.0-46-generic x86_64 bits
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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by spaceman5 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:30 am

This Grub is so problematic?

It's impossible to Install Mint without it?
(for example if one is installing only Mint, without doing MultiBoot or anything special)

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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by rui no onna » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:16 pm

lsemmens wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:06 am
spaceman5 wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:45 am
Maybe he didn't select the USB HDD on the bottom ComboBox, like Mute Ant noted?
That, indeed, may well have been a possibility. I can't recall even seeing that option, but that does not mean it was not presented to me. If I left the drive plugged in, it would boot to grub where I could, then select which OS to boot. It was only when I unplugged the drive and tried to re-boot that I went to the Grub rescue prompt. I also, then, plugged that external drive into another computer and it would not boot. (I'll qualify that in that it was an older machine, that would boot from a memory stick, but may not from a USB HDD.)
If you don't recall changing that option and assuming you didn't run the installer as BG405 showed ubiquity -b (no boot loader install), then it would default to /dev/sda which replaces the boot loader for your local install. The computer will look for the USB HDD in order to boot every single time and fail to boot without it. One way to fix that is to boot into the local install and run sudo grub-install which should restore local grub to how it was before the USB HDD install.

That also means the USB HDD does not have a boot loader installed ergo, it can't boot if plugged into a different computer.

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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by spaceman5 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:24 pm

I think the developer of that screen should change it.

In 99.9% of the cases, a user would need the boot loader and the boot partition to be on the same physical drive.

For the rare case where someone would think about a reason not to do so, this should only be enables via some special checkbox that enables splitting the boot loader and the boot partition to 2 physical drives.

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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by rui no onna » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:26 pm

spaceman5 wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:24 pm
I think the developer of that screen should change it.

In 99.9% of the cases, a user would need the boot loader and the boot partition to be on the same physical drive.

For the rare case where someone would think about a reason not to do so, this should only be enables via some special checkbox that enables splitting the boot loader and the boot partition to 2 physical drives.
I think it's fine the way it is. For the 99.9% of cases, I expect using default Mint install options would install both boot loader and boot partition on the same physical drive (internal).

Being able to select the drive for boot loader install is part of the "Something else" setup which is geared towards more advanced users (or at least ones who are hopefully following an in-depth tutorial). It's far more likely that someone who chooses "Something else" is doing so for multiboot ergo, having one boot loader for all drives is likely the preferred default.

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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by rui no onna » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:39 pm

Just installed Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon 64-bit on my old, slow Kingston SSDNow V 40GB (rebadged Intel X25-V 40GB, ~40 MB/s max sequential read/write) connected via USB-SATA adapter. Laptop is set to Legacy BIOS/MBR mode.

"Something else"

Code: Select all

Device      Type    Mount point     Size
------------------------------------------
/dev/sdc1   btrfs   /               20 GiB
free space                           5 GiB  (OP while allowing for potential growth of sdc1)
/dev/sdc2   fat32   /media/shared    5 GiB
free space                           7 GiB  (OP while allowing for potential growth of sdc2)


Device for boot loader installation:
/dev/sdc    Kingston SSDNow V 40GB
Seems to work OK. It didn't change grub on the laptop's internal drive and it installed the boot loader properly to the Kingston. Despite low sequential speed, boot up was pretty fast. I don't believe TRIM is supported via USB hence the manual over-provisioning (OP).

The fat32 partition /media/shared is if for when I need an easy way to copy files without needing to mess with permissions.

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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by lsemmens » Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:19 pm

rui no onna wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:26 pm
I think it's fine the way it is. For the 99.9% of cases, I expect using default Mint install options would install both boot loader and boot partition on the same physical drive (internal).

Being able to select the drive for boot loader install is part of the "Something else" setup which is geared towards more advanced users (or at least ones who are hopefully following an in-depth tutorial). It's far more likely that someone who chooses "Something else" is doing so for multiboot ergo, having one boot loader for all drives is likely the preferred default.
Agreed! I was trying "something else" and failed, but that is to my benefit, as I learnt from it.
@ rui no onna I actually did try sudo grub -install and, for some reason it would not install. Anyway, I performed a re-load of Linux which was quick and painless. It took way less time than trying to solve the issue. I did not learn as much as I might have out of the exercise, but my time is at a premium and I must steal what moments I have. :D
Kernel: 4.15.0-46-generic x86_64 bits
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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by rui no onna » Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:40 pm

lsemmens wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:19 pm
Agreed! I was trying "something else" and failed, but that is to my benefit, as I learnt from it.
@ rui no onna I actually did try sudo grub -install and, for some reason it would not install. Anyway, I performed a re-load of Linux which was quick and painless. It took way less time than trying to solve the issue. I did not learn as much as I might have out of the exercise, but my time is at a premium and I must steal what moments I have. :D
By any chance are you on UEFI? After several failed attempts trying to get UEFI working, I'm sticking to Legacy BIOS/MBR for now, lol. :lol: UEFI's a task for another day (or weekend... or month...) when I have more time and energy to devote to research and troubleshooting. :D

I did have to learn some grub legacy basics by necessity. Multiboot setup on a tiny SSD kinda depended on it. The more I use other distros though, the more I appreciate how Mint works (mostly) well out of the box. :P

By the way, was the grub-install performed from your local drive or using a Live CD/USB? If it's Live, I usually have to do:

Code: Select all

sudo mount /dev/sdXY /mnt
sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt /dev/sdX

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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by lsemmens » Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:53 pm

Linux would not instal under UEFI on my lappy, so I turned it off. I tried Grub install from a live USB. I also connected to the 'net in case it wanted to download. I even tried it after booting into the correct OS using grub from the external drive, and nothing would work. At that time I just gave up and re-installed Linux, which was waaaaay quicker than stuffing around.
Kernel: 4.15.0-46-generic x86_64 bits
Desktop: Cinnamon 3.8.9
Distro: Linux Mint 19 Tara

Laptop HP-ProBook-470-G2 8Gb RAM SSD
Server AMD Phenom 9650 - GEForce 9400GT 6Gb RAM
+ three other Mint machines
Out of my mind - please leave a message

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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by rui no onna » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:16 am

lsemmens wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:53 pm
Linux would not instal under UEFI on my lappy, so I turned it off. I tried Grub install from a live USB. I also connected to the 'net in case it wanted to download. I even tried it after booting into the correct OS using grub from the external drive, and nothing would work. At that time I just gave up and re-installed Linux, which was waaaaay quicker than stuffing around.
Like I mentioned, for me it was a necessity. I was probably already on my 10th or more Mint re-install and still couldn't get things working. I had no choice but to learn to figure out where it's going wrong. :lol:

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Re: Linux Mint Live USB with Persistent Partition: how?

Post by Moem » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:21 am

Mod note:
The question from majpooper about an iMac is now here: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=276472
Please do not hijack other people's topics, it's rude. Post a new topic instead. Thanks!
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