Full install onto SD card

Questions about Grub, UEFI,the liveCD and the installer
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piphil
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Full install onto SD card

Post by piphil »

I recently bought an HP Stream 11 laptop. It's an impressive little device for the price, and runs Windows 8.1 quite well. However, it is missing one key thing - Linux Mint!

I've been experimenting a bit to try and find the best way to run both Mint and Windows - I run programs that are Windows only and vice versa. I've got a functioning virtual machine of Mint using VirtualBox. It's fine, but a bit slow, which isn't a surprise as the device only has 2GB of non-upgradable RAM.

As for a standard dual-boot approach, there's not enough space on the, again, soldered-in 32GB eMMC drive. On top of this, the Windows installation appears to be a "Wimboot" installation, so I can't delete the 7GB recovery partition, as then Windows can't boot.

What I was wondering is if Mint will support booting from the laptop's SD card slot? The slot isn't listed on the boot menu in the BIOS. I understand I could also boot from USB, but the tutorials I've found have focused on creating "Live" USB sticks, which are not really full installs that I can upgrade as new versions come out.

Is it possible for me to install grub on the eMMC, and point it at the SD card slot? Many thanks for any advice, it is appreciated (I'll head off and make a donation now...!)
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gold_finger
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Re: Full install onto SD card

Post by gold_finger »

piphil wrote:What I was wondering is if Mint will support booting from the laptop's SD card slot?
Yes -- you can do a full installation (not a "live" install) to SD card. Make sure it's 16GB or larger.

piphil wrote:The slot isn't listed on the boot menu in the BIOS.
Many times USB's, SD cards, etc. won't show in boot menu until you have a bootable medium connected at boot time. If no bootable medium in slot, it won't offer the choice. So, it should show up as a choice after you install to it and then try booting.


You'll need a live USB to do the installation with and your blank SD card to install to. Easiest thing would probably be to install to SD card in Legacy/CSM mode, not UEFI mode. Make your live USB, plug it into computer, push power button, then hit whatever key needed to access the Boot Menu. When get boot menu, pick which ever USB option that does not have UEFI in the description.

After booted up, confirm that USB is booted in Legacy mode by opening a terminal and entering this command:

Code: Select all

ls /sys/firmware
If "efi" is listed in the output, you're booted in UEFI mode and you need to reboot and try again. If it's not listed, you have booted correctly in Legacy mode.

Once Legacy mode is confirmed:
  • 1. Plug in your SD card
    2. Find GParted in the menu and open it.
    3. Select your SD card from drop-down list in upper-right. (Make note of which device name it is -- eg. /dev/sdb, /dev/sdc, etc. -- you'll need that info later.)
    4. Right-click on any/all partitions showing for SD card and choose "Unmount".
    5. Go to Device -> Create Partition Table -> "msdos"/(MBR) -> OK to make a new MBR partition table on it.
    6. Close GParted.
    7. Start installation and choose "Something else" installation type.
    8. Follow instructions on this tutorial to make partitions you need from free space on your SD card. It will show up on partition/drive list as same thing is was in GParted -- /dev/sdb, sdc, etc.
    • * If using a relatively small SD card (<32GB), just make a Root and Swap partition. If larger, you can add a separate Home partition if you want to. In either case, set size of Swap to 2048MB.

      * If larger SD card used and you want a separate Home partition, make Root partition only 15-20GB.
    9. Last step on partitioning page is choosing location for boot loader installation (near bottom of window). Make sure you pick the device name that corresponds to your SD card -- /dev/sdb, sdc, etc. It will automatically be pre-filled with /dev/sda, which is the internal hard drive. So you need to change that.
Once install is done, reboot computer, access boot menu and choose to boot from SD card (in non-UEFI mode). It should work fine.
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piphil
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Re: Full install onto SD card

Post by piphil »

Wow, that's a very in depth answer, thanks.

I'll give that a go and report back.
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Ginsu543
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Re: Full install onto SD card

Post by Ginsu543 »

Just to affirm that this does work. However, it will be fairly slow. If at all possible, install on to the fastest SD card you can.
Main: Intel Core i7 920 D0 @ 4.0 GHz | Asus P6X58D Premium | 12 GB Mushkin Redline PC3-12800 7-8-7-24 | EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti | Mint 17.2 Cinnamon 64 / OS X 10.7.3
Portables: Toshiba Portege R200 | Mint 17.2 Cinnamon 32 / Dell Mini 9 | OS X 10.6.7
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Minterator
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Re: Full install onto SD card

Post by Minterator »

SD card slots are usually not bootable (not seen by the BIOS). Boot from a USB port, using UHS-1 flash drive in a card-reader.
Mint 17.3 MATE, kernel 4.11.12
piphil
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Re: Full install onto SD card

Post by piphil »

So I've followed the instructions above, which proceeded fine until the reboot. It seems that the HP Stream 11 cannot see the SD card at boot.

I'm not sure that installing grub on the eMMC (with Windows) would work? If the laptop can't see it at boot, would grub be able to see it?

The alternative is to use the same method to install onto a USB flash drive. I suspect this would be quicker, but I was trying to avoid this on the basis that the laptop only has 2 USB ports, and the USB port is easier to pull out/sticks out further from the body of the laptop.
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gold_finger
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Re: Full install onto SD card

Post by gold_finger »

piphil wrote:I'm not sure that installing grub on the eMMC (with Windows) would work? If the laptop can't see it at boot, would grub be able to see it?
That should work, but with two caveats:
  • 1. You'll probably need to keep SD card in computer even when booting Windows. (I could be wrong about this, but think this will be the case.)

    2. You'll need to find out whether Windows is installed in UEFI or Legacy mode and install Mint in the same mode. Windows is likely using UEFI mode. To find out for sure, boot live Mint and enter this command in a terminal:

    Code: Select all

    sudo parted -l
    (Command ends with a lowercase letter "L", not a number 1.)

    First 4 lines of output will give general description of the drive. Look at line for "Partition Table". If it says "msdos", Windows is installed in Legacy mode. If it says "gpt" it's installed in UEFI mode.

    Run the command and let us know result. We'll be able to give instructions for proper way to proceed after that if you want to install grub on Windows drive.

Otherwise you have two choices:
  • 1. Download and install Plop boot manager to a USB stick and use that to boot from the SD card. That should work.

    2. Install to a USB by simply following same procedure used to install to SD card.
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kuman
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Re: Full install onto SD card

Post by kuman »

After reading this I'm wondering if I can install Rebeca on a USB stick or sd card. Since I only have 526 Mb RAM & 4 GB HD on my Acer Aspire One I'm not sure if I'm gonna have any advantage of that in comparison to Mint 13 Maya which I currently use.
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kuman
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Re: Full install onto SD card

Post by kuman »

This topic seems dead for more than 2 wks .....!
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Ginsu543
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Re: Full install onto SD card

Post by Ginsu543 »

Well, if you just need confirmation whether you can install Linux Mint onto a USB thumb drive, the answer is YES! I recently installed Mint 17.1 Rebecca onto a 32 GB USB drive so I can dual-boot my Dell Mini 9 (which by default boots into OS X Snow Leopard).
Main: Intel Core i7 920 D0 @ 4.0 GHz | Asus P6X58D Premium | 12 GB Mushkin Redline PC3-12800 7-8-7-24 | EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti | Mint 17.2 Cinnamon 64 / OS X 10.7.3
Portables: Toshiba Portege R200 | Mint 17.2 Cinnamon 32 / Dell Mini 9 | OS X 10.6.7
sundragon
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Re: Full install onto SD card

Post by sundragon »

Trying to do the same thing on my MBPro retina 2015 (12,2)
I'm having issues where the screen isn't rendered properly when I boot the live USB. I can't see any text or buttons, just the screen elements like windows and menus. Is there a way around this so I can install Mint 17.1?

I got Ubuntu 15.04 to install on the SD card but I prefer mint.
sundragon
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Re: Full install onto SD card

Post by sundragon »

biniz
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Re: Full install onto SD card

Post by biniz »

For this thread's problem, I know the laptop doesn't support the booting from sd card or micro sd card. so it's not solvable, it seems. I searched the solution on the web. but I didn't find the solution to boot from sd card on the laptop with emmc storage.
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