How can I fresh-install latest mint without a flash drive/DVD, and just the one SDD that currently has mint?

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pepperminty
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How can I fresh-install latest mint without a flash drive/DVD, and just the one SDD that currently has mint?

Post by pepperminty »

Do you think one day that we can do a fresh-install of Linux mint or other distributions without a USB stick/DVD?

The only time it seems I need a flash drive is for a fresh install of the latest version of Linux mint. for everything else I just send my files to the cloud.
Last edited by pepperminty on Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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zcot
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Re: will there be a day when we can do a fresh install of Linux mint without a flash drive/USB stick?

Post by zcot »

You can do a GRUB iso boot for a new install.

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Re: will there be a day when we can do a fresh install of Linux mint without a flash drive/USB stick?

Post by pepperminty »

Neat! Never heard of that before.

I just googled [grub iso boot] and to[ result is https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2/ISOBoot

Will that work for me, a mint 19 cinnamon user?


Update: I added the words Linux mint into the search and got

https://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/1849

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Re: will there be a day when we can do a fresh install of Linux mint without a flash drive/USB stick?

Post by pepperminty »

Yikes. That community.Linuxmint page intimidates me

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Re: will there be a day when we can do a fresh install of Linux mint without a flash drive/USB stick?

Post by lsemmens »

Where is the ISO going to be located? If on a HDD, then, surely it must have been bootable in the first place. You'd need some form of OS to boot from first. It might well be some other medium yet to be devised, time was when we used tape for that process.
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Re: will there be a day when we can do a fresh install of Linux mint without a flash drive/USB stick?

Post by DAMIEN1307 »

I believe one of the article stated that grub 2 was a requirement to be already installed first, but have not a clue how that is done first...DAMIEN
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Re: will there be a day when we can do a fresh install of Linux mint without a flash drive/USB stick?

Post by zcot »

pepperminty wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:46 pm
Neat! Never heard of that before.

I just googled [grub iso boot] and to[ result is https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2/ISOBoot

Will that work for me, a mint 19 cinnamon user?


Update: I added the words Linux mint into the search and got

https://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/1849
That tutorial is more complex than it needs to be.

You do not have to have the iso in any special location, unless you are trying to put it under an encrypted space, in which it will just be easier to move it outside of that instead. I will show you an example. This could be done with any existing Mint 19.x install.

And forget editing grub.cfg too.

The whole thing is roughly 4 steps:
1. download the iso
2. find your drive number and partition number.
3. edit the custom booting file
4. update the grub configuration

Here they are explained.


1.
Say I download an iso file using my browser and the file ends up at this location(and I just leave it there):
/home/zcot/Downloads/linuxmint-19.3-xfce-64bit.iso


2.
And I already know that the drive is going to be called drive "1" because it is my second drive(sdb), this is way GRUB counts drives, from 0, to 1, 2, etc.

And I know the partition that my current system is running on is the 3rd partition(sdb3). GRUB counts partitions from 1, to 2, 3, etc.

I can run terminal command: lsblk (and I see what drive "sd" letter, and what partition the "/" is mounted under which is where my "/home" is located also, otherwise I would note the partition related to "/home" instead)

sdb3

So drive "b" is the second drive but that will be called "1" from within grub. And it's the 3rd partition, so I make note that this iso is located, in GRUB language, at the drive and partition location of "drive1,partition3"

grub calls the drive "hd" instead of "sd".

There's my next only important piece of info: (hd1,3)


3.
So, based on the 2 pieces of info I collected from above, in grub configuration, 40_custom I'm adding this to what's already there:

Code: Select all

menuentry 'Mint Xfce 19.3 .iso BOOM!' {
set isofile='/home/zcot/Downloads/linuxmint-19.3-xfce-64bit.iso'
loopback loop (hd1,3)$isofile
linux (loop)/casper/vmlinuz boot=casper iso-scan/filename=${isofile} quiet splash
initrd (loop)/casper/initrd.lz
}
I'll open that file with elevated permission using this terminal command: xed admin:///etc/grub.d/40_custom


4.
Next I sudo update-grub, reboot

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Re: How can I fresh-install latest mint without a flash drive/DVD, and just the one SDD that currently has mint?

Post by pepperminty »

Thanks zcot for giving me the simplified instructions.

There are a bunch of personal files that I'd like to keep/transfer over to the fresh-installed Mint. Must I back them up first (like to my Google drive)?

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Re: How can I fresh-install latest mint without a flash drive/DVD, and just the one SDD that currently has mint?

Post by zcot »

pepperminty wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:56 pm
Thanks zcot for giving me the simplified instructions.

There are a bunch of personal files that I'd like to keep/transfer over to the fresh-installed Mint. Must I back them up first (like to my Google drive)?
Well, what I just described was booting an iso from some specific functioning system on a particular partition, to be able to do an installation to a different unused or not-in-use partition or drive. So, doing that, there's not a particular need to do a backup since you could transfer the files after the new system is up.

But using the above method you can not overwrite the existing system that is holding the iso that is currently in use as the installer. You could move the iso to an isolated location if you wanted to try to overwrite a system, and in which case yes obviously you would want to backup since the previous info would be overwritten(I think you would get a fatal error probably). I think just moving the iso to outside the system partition would be the easiest method so you don't add that complexity. And yes definitely do backup anything you want to keep. It's better to have a backup and not need it, than the other way around.

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Re: How can I fresh-install latest mint without a flash drive/DVD, and just the one SDD that currently has mint?

Post by pepperminty »

This is what I get

Code: Select all

~ $ lsblk
NAME                  MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE  MOUNTPOINT
loop0                   7:0    0     8K  1 loop  /snap/anbox-installer/24
loop1                   7:1    0 373.5M  1 loop  /snap/anbox/158
loop2                   7:2    0 197.5M  1 loop  /snap/viber-unofficial/37
loop3                   7:3    0  89.1M  1 loop  /snap/core/8213
loop4                   7:4    0  89.1M  1 loop  /snap/core/8268
loop5                   7:5    0 310.8M  1 loop  
sda                     8:0    0 223.6G  0 disk  
├─sda1                  8:1    0   487M  0 part  /boot
├─sda2                  8:2    0     1K  0 part  
└─sda5                  8:5    0 223.1G  0 part  
  └─sda5_crypt        253:0    0 223.1G  0 crypt 
    ├─mint--vg-root   253:1    0 207.4G  0 lvm   /
    └─mint--vg-swap_1 253:2    0  15.7G  0 lvm   [SWAP]
I don't care about the anbox program (loop0 and loop2) anymore. I'm happy it a fresh installation wipes that and the viber loop (loop2) clean. I'm not sure what loop 3 and loop 4 are about.
Last edited by pepperminty on Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How can I fresh-install latest mint without a flash drive/DVD, and just the one SDD that currently has mint?

Post by pepperminty »

Sorry, but I'm afraid I don't completely track what you said in your last post.

My laptop has only one drive: a 222.2 GB SSD drive.
Basically, after the fresh installation is finished, I want to end up with partitions as though I used a flashdrive/DVD to install.

I want to make space for this ISO only for the fresh-installation. After the installation is done, I don't want the ISO or the partition it's in to exist.
I want to carry over my personal files into the fresh installation. But I don't want to keep whatever partition it was in. I hope what I'm saying makes sense. I basically want my SSD to have a fresh install of Mint 19.3 Cinnamon, without any remnant partition for the ISO or a remnant partition where my personal files were.

After the fresh install is done, is there a way for the fresh-installation's partition to swallow the "iso partition" and the "personalFiles partition", so that it becomes one merged partition?

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Re: How can I fresh-install latest mint without a flash drive/DVD, and just the one SDD that currently has mint?

Post by zcot »

ooh, yikes!

I'm not sure about that. :shock:

I'm not familiar enough with these encrypted setups and lvm.

It's not hard, but I don't have the experience with it.

That can be done, because grub does provide a function to unlock encryption already, so you just need to get rid of the lvm /swap, make another regular lvm volume there(and this way you stay separated from the system lvm volume), put the iso in it, and modify the iso custom boot method to unlock the encryption, then point to that new lvm location of the file. Doing this, you could run a new install and use the exact same setup that you had(but let the system create it's own swapfile internally) and it will overwrite the old system, and then afterward you can regain the extra 16GB space by expanding the root lvm partition over the 16GB space.

You're gonna want someone with experience dealing with these partitions or this is going to be a total headache.

And too, you're in a hard scheme for your situation because if you are talking about making backups, and not using any flash drive or dvd then, from my perspective at least, you'd want to do a whole mess of readjusting to that lvm scheme that exists so you can get backup space too, so killing the 16GB /swap then probably shrinking the system lvm to where you can get a separated volume that's large enough to hold whatever backups + the iso.

Are you capable with lvm management?

Can you get into some network backup scheme?

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Re: How can I fresh-install latest mint without a flash drive/DVD, and just the one SDD that currently has mint?

Post by jglen490 »

pepperminty wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:56 pm
Thanks zcot for giving me the simplified instructions.

There are a bunch of personal files that I'd like to keep/transfer over to the fresh-installed Mint. Must I back them up first (like to my Google drive)?
That, too, is simple! Always backup things you don't want to lose before making any significant change to your system.

In fact, always backup your important data - all the time!
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Re: How can I fresh-install latest mint without a flash drive/DVD, and just the one SDD that currently has mint?

Post by pepperminty »

zcot wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:13 am
You're gonna want someone with experience dealing with these partitions or this is going to be a total headache.
Okay, let's wait for them to chime in.
zcot wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:13 am
Are you capable with lvm management?
With some guidance/instructions, yes.
zcot wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:13 am
Can you get into some network backup scheme?
Probably not a feasible option for me.

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Re: How can I fresh-install latest mint without a flash drive/DVD, and just the one SDD that currently has mint?

Post by pbear »

At the risk of sounding like a stick in the mud, I'm going to point out a few things.

1. You're investing a lot of time and energy chasing an exotic solution, when the simple one (boot the live session from USB drive) works fine.

2. Bear in mind the live ISO is also your emergency recovery device. It's how you run fsck or boot repair, for example. It's the backup method for restoring a Timeshift snapshot if the system won't boot. And so on.

3. You're going to have to go through this rigmarole every time you reinstall and/or do a major upgrade. A flash drive is much easier.
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Re: How can I fresh-install latest mint without a flash drive/DVD, and just the one SDD that currently has mint?

Post by farkas »

Why bother to jump through all the hoops?
Just checked amazon
Screenshot from 2020-01-14 20-07-34.png
The above drive is more than enough for a live Mint usb.
Equivalent drives and prices are probably available locally.
Also:
pbear wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:34 pm
Bear in mind the live ISO is also your emergency recovery device. It's how you run fsck or boot repair, for example. It's the backup method for restoring a Timeshift snapshot if the system won't boot. And so on.
Edit:
Clone your drive, just in case of catastrophic failure!
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If you found a solution on your own please post it.
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Re: How can I fresh-install latest mint without a flash drive/DVD, and just the one SDD that currently has mint?

Post by pepperminty »

I borrowed a USB stick from someone and did the fresh-install. :)

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Re: How can I fresh-install latest mint without a flash drive/DVD, and just the one SDD that currently has mint?

Post by I2k4 »

I rarely but have used something called Daemon Tools in Windows to create a virtual drive and mount copies of old CD-ROMs, etc. without an optical drive, to run or install software. Some googling turned up this Linux alternative to it:

https://cdemu.sourceforge.io/about/

I might try it for fun some time. But looks like tried and true won out for this thread.
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