Booting from external ssd

nzminiman

New Member
Hi there,

So I have a windows surface book and need to run Linux on it for university, however, im stubborn and don't want to dual boot or only run Linux by itself, instead, I have a bootable USB drive that I used to test with linux mint, when formatted with FAT32 that worked fine, however I needed a more permanent soultion so I took an old m.2 SSD I had, put that in an external enclosure, formatted it to FAT32 and used universal usb installer to install the mint iso file. That worked fine and I can run linux mint on my laptop using this external SSD enclosure.

So whats the problem you ask? For some silly reason, windows or specifically surface can only boot from a usb formatted as FAT32, and as you know FAT32 only supports up to 4GB, which is pointless to be used on a 256gb drive and even more pointless to be used as a permanent Linux environment solution. My goal was to have this external 256gb SSD, and when I needed to run linux I just plugged it into my laptop, booted to it and had Linux without messing with the original drive on my laptop.

Do you know any soultion for booting from windows on a bootable usb other than FAT32? As others have said that UEFI cant boot from NTFS. Or is there something I can do to have my external SSD as a bootable linux enviorment.

Thanks for your time and help,
Cheers
 


TechnoJunky

Silver Member
Silver Supporter
Well, because Surface is made by Microsoft, I would assume that MS has locked things down so that it can only run Windows. YOu can try turning off Secure Boot in the BIOS, if it has an option to. That might allow it to boot to Ext4. But you may be stuck with a Fat32 primary partition. But that doesn't mean you can't format the rest of the disk with Ext4.
 

nzminiman

New Member
Well, because Surface is made by Microsoft, I would assume that MS has locked things down so that it can only run Windows. YOu can try turning off Secure Boot in the BIOS, if it has an option to. That might allow it to boot to Ext4. But you may be stuck with a Fat32 primary partition. But that doesn't mean you can't format the rest of the disk with Ext4.
Hi,

Thanks for your reply, so I partitioned the 256gb drive with 10gb FAT32 and the rest as ext4 for Linux, I was able to make the FAT32 partition bootable so I can now plug it in and boot to mint, and the other 240gb Ext4 partition shows up as a external drive. This is great as I can save things to the drive and they won't get deleted everytime I reboot. However is there a way where I can change all the directories to this "external" drive so everything I do is saved to this partition and not the FAT32 bootable partition that gets wiped on every reboot.

Thanks agian for your time,
 

wizardfromoz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
G'day @nzminiman and welcome to linux.org :)

I'm one of your neighbours from across the Tasman Sea, how are things in The Land of The Long White Cloud?



(Wizard appears in a puff of smoke, sets fire to his gown, dances around to put it out and looks like he is doing a Haka)

1. What Linux Distro are you using?

2. Would you be prepared to use Ubuntu, I can show you a method called WUBI-UEFI (or Google it) which might work from your Surface, not sure

3. You could reset up the install, whatever you are using to involve manual partitioning whereby instead of having a home folder, you could have a Home Partition holding the same contents.

4. Just settling perhaps a misapprehension

... as you know FAT32 only supports up to 4GB, which is pointless to be used on a 256gb drive and even more pointless to be used as a permanent Linux environment solution.
The 4GB limitation applies to file size, not to partition or drive size. Up to 2 GiB can be supported.

So tell us more about what you need

Cheers

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
 

nzminiman

New Member
G'day @nzminiman and welcome to linux.org :)

I'm one of your neighbours from across the Tasman Sea, how are things in The Land of The Long White Cloud?



(Wizard appears in a puff of smoke, sets fire to his gown, dances around to put it out and looks like he is doing a Haka)

1. What Linux Distro are you using?

2. Would you be prepared to use Ubuntu, I can show you a method called WUBI-UEFI (or Google it) which might work from your Surface, not sure

3. You could reset up the install, whatever you are using to involve manual partitioning whereby instead of having a home folder, you could have a Home Partition holding the same contents.

4. Just settling perhaps a misapprehension



The 4GB limitation applies to file size, not to partition or drive size. Up to 2 GiB can be supported.

So tell us more about what you need

Cheers

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
Wow hi Chris, that was awesome, it put a smile on my face thank you.

So im using Linux Mint only because that is what we use at the university labs at the moment, so my life story is that I don't want to go to the Uni labs every time I want to do my specific homework labs and assignments, I would like to have that environment at home so i can work from home if that makes sense.

So my situation is that I have a m.2 SSD in an external enclosure which I use as a bootable usb with my Linux mint iso, however whenever I boot to it, it says the storage is full, there is another partition on that ssd that is ext4 which pops up as an external drive and ultimately if I could set that "external" drive to hold and be the root of everything then my goal would be done.

And thank you for the misapprehension, the current usb persistent partition boot creator i use (universal usb installer) only lets you set a 4gb persistent partition and I would like to use more of my 256gb ssd. Maybe you have a bootable usb program you would recommend that allows persistent partitions?

Honestly I have been looking for answers for countless hours and Im open for anything, I feel like what Im asking for isnt to much: An external drive that holds a persistent Linux mint environment that I can just plug in and run Mint from. What is your opinion on all of this?

Thank you for your time,
 

nzminiman

New Member
Wow hi Chris, that was awesome, it put a smile on my face thank you.

So im using Linux Mint only because that is what we use at the university labs at the moment, so my life story is that I don't want to go to the Uni labs every time I want to do my specific homework labs and assignments, I would like to have that environment at home so i can work from home if that makes sense.

So my situation is that I have a m.2 SSD in an external enclosure which I use as a bootable usb with my Linux mint iso, however whenever I boot to it, it says the storage is full, there is another partition on that ssd that is ext4 which pops up as an external drive and ultimately if I could set that "external" drive to hold and be the root of everything then my goal would be done.

And thank you for the misapprehension, the current usb persistent partition boot creator i use (universal usb installer) only lets you set a 4gb persistent partition and I would like to use more of my 256gb ssd. Maybe you have a bootable usb program you would recommend that allows persistent partitions?

Honestly I have been looking for answers for countless hours and Im open for anything, I feel like what Im asking for isnt to much: An external drive that holds a persistent Linux mint environment that I can just plug in and run Mint from. What is your opinion on all of this?

Thank you for your time,
So this is what I'm dealing with, It's on a 256gb ssd so I need a way of utilizing that as currently my FAT32 bootable partition has no space
4359

4360
 

wizardfromoz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
...so i can work from home if that makes sense.
Makes perfect sense, Mate. (BTW just read your latest)

I know zilch about Surface book, so you may need to give me the brand and model number and specs and I can Google/steer you to Google references.

Below is a shot of my partition setup on my internal 256 GB SSD, on the Dell Inspiron.

GParted (GNOME Partition Editor) is our equivalent of Disk Management on Windows, but way better.



SCREENSHOT 1 - WIZARD'S SSD CURRENTLY


/dev/sdb3 is Windows 10, and I have basically neutered it to 55 GiB, to allow for more Linuxes.

I run about 90 Linux all up, over 2 rigs. This Dell has a WD My Book 4TB hooked to it, with 30 or more on it, and the Toshiba Satellite laptop in the Laundry has about 40, on a 1 TB SATA HDD.

Seems to me that you could install something like Rufus, or Balena-Etcher on the surface, and then use one of those to put a full Linux install on the SSD.

Is there a particular Linux you have in mind (I am thinking Uni here) , or what did you try to put on?

Absolute necessity is to have a contingency plan for the Surface OS (is it like Windows 10, or other?) so that experimenting with the LInux voodoo does not lose you essential data.

I'll be around for maybe an hour (you will be 2 hours ahead of me, I am in Queensland) before I have to cook tea, gotta go make my girl a cuppa after her nap.

Back soon, or tomorrow.

BTW - was using UUI yesterday and today on another project - Persistence has value on a USB stick, but not on an SSD.

Wiz
 

nzminiman

New Member
Makes perfect sense, Mate. (BTW just read your latest)

I know zilch about Surface book, so you may need to give me the brand and model number and specs and I can Google/steer you to Google references.

Below is a shot of my partition setup on my internal 256 GB SSD, on the Dell Inspiron.

GParted (GNOME Partition Editor) is our equivalent of Disk Management on Windows, but way better.



SCREENSHOT 1 - WIZARD'S SSD CURRENTLY


/dev/sdb3 is Windows 10, and I have basically neutered it to 55 GiB, to allow for more Linuxes.

I run about 90 Linux all up, over 2 rigs. This Dell has a WD My Book 4TB hooked to it, with 30 or more on it, and the Toshiba Satellite laptop in the Laundry has about 40, on a 1 TB SATA HDD.

Seems to me that you could install something like Rufus, or Balena-Etcher on the surface, and then use one of those to put a full Linux install on the SSD.

Is there a particular Linux you have in mind (I am thinking Uni here) , or what did you try to put on?

Absolute necessity is to have a contingency plan for the Surface OS (is it like Windows 10, or other?) so that experimenting with the LInux voodoo does not lose you essential data.

I'll be around for maybe an hour (you will be 2 hours ahead of me, I am in Queensland) before I have to cook tea, gotta go make my girl a cuppa after her nap.

Back soon, or tomorrow.

BTW - was using UUI yesterday and today on another project - Persistence has value on a USB stick, but not on an SSD.

Wiz
Hi,

Okay thanks, yea I tryed Rufus but it was the common issue where everytime I rebooted it wiped everything, how were you able to set your partitions as the root location for your /home folders?

thanks,
 

wizardfromoz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
Mate just a heads up with the software around here.

When you are reading a Post, use the Reply Pane below to answer, generally, unless there is a need to quote.

Our software is somewhat antsey on Links in quotes, and so if you use Reply at right, you get the extra baggage, and where I have links such as those to Rufus or Etcher, it sends your Post to me or another Moderator for approval and there is a delay.

I'll be back with more tomorrow, have to answer another Post and then it's shark and taties.

Wizard out
 

Jeffrey Lapinski

Active Member
@wizardfromoz Chris, this post is somewhat relevant to the current problem I am having. I've been following this because I thought using an external SSD would be a good if only temporary solution to my problem. Anyway, I installed Neptune to my 266 SSD, it installed easily but when I tried to boot I encountered the same ACPI "storm" as I have been experiencing. Even worse, when I removed the SSD I could no longer boot my LM and had to reinstall.
 

nzminiman

New Member
Hi Wizard,

Okay thank you, nice to know, I guess my main question at the moment is how can I set what Linux sees as an "external drive", how can I set that to be my main storage location.

Thanks,
 

wizardfromoz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
@Jeffrey Lapinski - Jeff, I'll place a link here to your Thread on the LG, so if @nzminiman and/or others want to compare between the two, they can.

https://www.linux.org/threads/acpi-error-on-lg-gram-17-inch-when-attempting-to-multiboot.24996/

... and it, in turn, came from

https://www.linux.org/threads/solved-lg-gram-and-booting-from-usb.24866/

I'll be over at the first one pretty soon, have to do some work for Dick/Doc/Whazzupdoc first.

this post is somewhat relevant to the current problem I am having.
Maybe yes, maybe no, bit early for me to tell, yet.

@nzminiman can you tell us which Linux Mint you were looking to install, the exact name of the .iso file will reveal, or else eg Linux MInt 19.2 'Tina' Cinnamon 64-bit.

Also, from above

I know zilch about Surface book, so you may need to give me the brand and model number and specs and I can Google/steer you to Google references.
Cheers

Wiz
 

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