Ubuntu 11.04, hard drives and all that.

As you may have read here: http://linuxforums.org.uk/general-discussion/external-harddrive/
I’ve recently bought an external hard drive.

Although I originally just wanted to use it for the extra space, I have considered, based on what Mark Greaves said:

Another option that doesn't require partition changes (so your Widows drive is safe), yet would still allow a "proper" installation would be to get a second hard drive and install Ubuntu "natively" onto that.

(at the bottom of reply 5 here: http://linuxforums.org.uk/general-help-advice/advice-on-setting-up/msg40312/#msg40312)

How should I go about doing that (installing Ubuntu onto my external drive)?
Would I need to install persistence or would that work automatically?
MOST IMPORTANTLY, is there a way I can get all the settings and software I’ve added to Ubuntu here on my laptop across?

To complicate things, with Ubuntu 11.04 coming out in under 2 weeks (this will be my first upgrade) could you explain:

Whether it’s advisable to wait a few weeks for the major bugs to go?
How to do an upgrade?
Whether I can do an upgrade without losing the changes I have applied that remain relevant in the new release?
In which order I should act: upgrade followed by transfer to external drive or vice versa?

I know that’s alot, answers to any of these questions would be very much appreciated :slight_smile:

I should clarify my issue on the subject of the external hard drive - the only way I can think to ‘install ubuntu natively’ to that is:
a) to create my own ubuntu remix by following the steps here: Make your own Ubuntu remix with Remastersys
b) use startup disk creator to put this remix on my drive by following the steps here: http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download
My problems are that in a) I don’t know which folders I need to supply remastersys to include all my settings, and in b) the screenshot on the page shows that I’m only allowed to use up to 128 MB for documents and settings ???

I think I’ll worry about 11.04 after I’ve set up Ubuntu on my HD

If I’m reading this correctly, and you already have a dual-boot setup on the internal drive (Non-WUBI).

Aren’t you making this much more complicated than it needs to be ? … What’s wrong with using the CloneZilla LiveCD to clone the internal drive to the external drive, then either using the BIOS (or boot device selection key) to decide which drive to boot from… this would mean BOTH drives have a bootloader, so the external drive could be booted from ANY PC that can boot from USB hard drives, and/or adding the external drives OS’s to the internal drives GRUB bootloader.

You can then remove Windows from the External drive, or save it as a backup.

Once the cloning is done… Wait 2 weeks, boot to the external drive, run “Update Manager”, and it will offer to upgrade to 11.04 for you… an upgrade button will appear in Update Manager when 11.04 is released.

Removing Windows from the external drive will only work if Ubuntu WASN’T installed using WUBI.

If your existing Ubuntu installation IS a WUBI install, you’de be better off with a fresh install to the external drive… I have no idea if it is possible to backup/move a WUBI installation.

Then copying across the contents of the “Home” folder(s), the sources lists, and exporting the package markings from the old Synaptic and importing them to the new one so it can install the same software… copying the Home folder contents will also copy across user settings for applications and interface etc.

WARNING… do this on the same version of Ubuntu, then upgrade… because the packages and sources will be different in the new version.

I didn’t WUBI install, so I’m fine there :slight_smile:
What does CloneZilla LiveCD do? Does it just copy across the OS/boot stuff?

No, it does exactly as the name implies, it make a clone of the hard drive… an EXACT sector-by-sector copy of EVERYTHING.

It doesn’t copy files and folders “as such”, it copies raw hard drive sectors.

Similar to GHOST in the Windows world.

You could also take a look at the Parted Magic LiveCD, which includes CloneZilla:

My hard drive is split into D: C: and my Linux Filesystem partition has only been given a small partition of about 20gb.
After I clone it, would my Filesystem have access to the rest of the space on the external hd? (I plan to move all my files in C: and D: into the Linux filesystem once I’ve got the space to do that).

I can see no problem with using Gparted to resize or even eliminate the Windows partitions, and stretch the Linux one to fill the whole drive.

The only issue that might arise is if deleting the windows partition causes the UUID of the Linux partition to change…, it shouldn’t change, as this is the exact reason they now use UUID’s rather than partition numbers… but occasionally they have been known to… it would break the bootloader, and make the drive unbootable, but is easily fixed from a LiveCD.


I’m pretty sure CloneZilla allows copying on single partitions… don’t know if this also allows copying of the bootloader… but you could always install grub manually.

OK, I will resize my partitions after cloning onto the external HD in order to keep the windows option on my PC’s HD.
Clone with CloneZilla
Install Gparted and totally eliminate the Windows partition
Re-copy all the files from the PC’s Windows Partition into the now entirely Linux external HD

And because CloneZilla has cloned the entire hard drive, all my documents and settings as well as the OS and boot files will be automatically on.
So I don’t need to do any reformatting?

You’ve got it :slight_smile:

All you have to do is delete the Windows partition(s), and resize the Linux partition(s).

Just make sure you get the “source” and “destination” disks right in CloneZilla… you don’t want to clone the external to the internal, and end up with 2 blank disks :wink:

OK, but I’m struggling to download clonezilla - on the website (downloads page) it says that the main stable release is debian-based, and the alternative is ubuntu based.
Does this mean I need to use he ‘alternative’ package, and will that complicate things?
Should I install it to my computer or use the LiveCD?

Use the LiveCD (otherwise it will be copying itself… that’s probably OK, but kinda pointless), and it doesn’t really matter which one…

Ubuntu is Debian based, so they are BOTH Debian based… but as far as I can see, the underlying distro shouldn’t really matter.

Why not get the Parted Magic LiveCD, which contains Clonezilla and other useful tools too… link here:

or direct download links:
pmagic-6.0.iso.zip = 157mb
pmagic-6.0.iso = 158mb

Parted Magic homepage:

I’m currently running PartedMagic, having just attempted to use clonezilla.
I’ve set up with the internal drive as source and external as destination.
I start the process, and clonezilla gives me a warning about all previous files on the destination being deleted.
I enter y and continue.
It gives me the same message again, in different wording, and I do the same.
It asks me whether to include the bootloader, and I say yes.

http://Then it starts, but very quickly gives me an error message and closes after I hit enter.

The files already on the drive are .exe files, so only for Bindows (odd, the reviews said set up is not needed) and a manual (which says nothing about setting up).
I have backed these files up just for safety (virtually no space and I’ll delete later if they’re not necessary).

Huh ?? :o … What’s the problem exactly ?

If you’re having problems with CloneZilla… here’s another solution.

1.) Remove the internal drive… for safeties sake, as you will be installing GRUB and you don’t want it to go in the wrong place.

2.) Install the same version of Ubuntu (in the normal way) to your external drive, using the same username and password… but partitioning as you like.

3.) Shut down… reconnect the internal drive, and boot to the internal drive

4.) Copy the /etc/apt directory from the internal drive to the external drive overwriting the existing directory.

5.) Copy the /home/ directory from the internal drive to the external drive overwriting the existing directory.

6.) Start up Synaptic, and select File>Save Markings, give it a name like mymarkings, and put a tick in Save full state, not only changes… click Save… now copy the mymarkings file to the external drive (your home directory will do, or a pendrive)

7.) Boot to the external drive.

8.) Run:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

9.) Fire up Synaptic, select File>Read Markings … click Open … on the main synaptic toolbar, select Apply.

Your external copy of Ubuntu should now be identical to your internal Ubuntu installation… including user files and settings and software packages… except for any packages you installed from somewhere other than the package manager.

Another option would be to archive EVERYTHING on the Linux partitions of the internal drive, to tar.gz files.

Create similar partitions on the external drive (sizes can be different as long as big enough for unarchive), and unarchive everything to them.

Install GRUB manually.

Or learn to use the dd from the command line.
But be careful with dd and be sure to get the if= and of= parts right… there’s a reason it’s sometimes known as “data destroyer”, or “data deleter” :wink:

Or type backup into Synaptics quicksearch, and pick one of the MANY backup solutions.

OK, I’ve managed to get CloneZilla up and running but I am having a bit of trouble, I may well resort to this method eventually.
Out of interest, when I run from the external drive (if I ever get it working) will I be able to mount the internal drive as if it were an external drive, or is it automatically mounted?

It will be discovered and shown in the file manager, but you’ll have to click on it to mount it… similar to what you have to do ATM to access the Windows drive.

If you want it actually mounted at bootup, you’ll need to add it to /etc/fstab … But I wouldn’t bother, just mount it as required.

I have successfully cloned internal to external - but a new partition has appeared called WinRE containing the folders:

System Volume Information

and the files:
bcd (both executables)

What should I do with this partition? Where does it come from?

I take it you have Win7 or Vista… it’s the hidden Win7/Vista boot/recovery partition… you can delete it if you want (or leave it), as long as you’re planning on deleting the Windows partition, and are using the GRUB bootloader.

WinRE is the Windows Recovery Environment… and is where ‘parts’ of the Windows bootlaoder are stored… and the tools to re-install it if necessary.

DO NOT delete this partition on the internal drive.

Personally if it isn’t too large, I’d just leave it in place… but it won’t hurt to remove it from the external drive.

I have completed the cloning of my hard drive.
Now I am trying to use GParted to edit the partitions, but finding this difficult. There is about 850 gb free, as displayed in GParted, but when I try to resize the partition it offers to resize to a maximum of about 22 gb - the size that the partition already is. Also, there are two separate areas of unallocated space - one where all the new Hard Drives extra size is located, and one where I have deleted the clone of my Windows D: partition, hoping to add the extra space to my Linux system.
I’ve read the GParted documentation, which doesn’t mention this scenario (no extra space being offered).

Can you upload a screenshot of Gparted to somewhere like Flickr, or Photobucket or a Dropbox or Ubuntu One account. so we can “see” the partition layout.

Anywhere that will put the picture (publicly) online, so you can post a link to it.