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Install SSD & Slave HDD, While Keeping HDD's OS & Programs

Tags:
  • Hard Drives
  • BIOS
  • Linux
  • SSD
  • Dual Boot
  • Operating Systems
Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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August 17, 2013 1:20:15 PM

Okay, currently I am faced with a difficult scenario, for a myriad of reasons, to which I am unable to locate a solid solution for, therefore, here I am. I am currently migrating towards placing a fairly high-end SSD into my system, making it my master drive, and slaving my current primary 3.5” HDD drive. However, I want to see if I can not only maintain the programs and information that currently reside on this drive, but I would also like to maintain the OS, which is currently Windblows 7. The SSD will be loaded with Linux, however, I face another problem there as well, because there are not that many distributions that install well under a motherboard sporting an UEFI BIOS, unless you are willing to place it into legacy mode, which I would like to avoid.

I have located a few distros, to which I ‘should’ be able to install upon onto this SSD, with minimal problems, however, I really cannot afford to have much down time, and if I wipe everything, and start installing ‘everything’ from scratch, it could cost me, severely. What I would like to do is this:

1. Install SSD as my Master Drive

2. Slave my 3.5” HDD, which has both Windows 7 and Applications installed

3. Somehow, add a reference to Grub 2, to allow me to boot into Windows 7, without compromising any of its contents, or data.

4. Then setup the Linux Distros that I choose to install upon my master drive (the SSD), and tweak them at my leisure, which would also enable me to continue school, and my day job, instead of halting everything for a few days while, I sort out and install everything from scratch.

I have done this before, however, when I did, I was working under very different circumstances. 1) I was not working with an SSD drive, and I do not see how this will make any difference, however, I am not completely sure yet. 2) I have never had to install Linux on a Motherboard with a UEFI BIOS before, only legacy Basic Input and Output Systems, therefore, I am expecting a headache. 3) When I installed multiple Operating Systems, including Windows, I would always install everything fresh, and Windows first, allowing Windows to write to the MBR, and then I would install Grub, and configure Grub from within Linux to add Windows as an accepted boot option. That was then, and this is now. Not only am I dealing with different technology, but I am also attempting to net a different result.

Any assistance regarding this matter would surely be appreciated, and if anybody requires me to clear up any details, feel free to ask.

Thank you.

More about : install ssd slave hdd keeping hdd programs

a b 5 Linux
August 19, 2013 2:56:08 AM

Can't imagine why you couldn't install to the new drive using the same settings in the BIOS ie. if you installed windows under uefi then you must install linux that way as well unless you want to have to switch to legacy in the BIOS everytime you want to run linux.
If you are running a live version of ubuntu or variant you could go ahead and format your new drive with 2 partitions, the main one in ext4 and a small (2gb or so) as a swap.
When running the install select other when it asks type of install and make your big new partition the mount point. (/). Grub will see your windows on the other drive and add it to the startup menu all by itself.
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a b 5 Linux
August 19, 2013 11:07:58 AM

I would disconnect the HDD with Windows during setup process, then use BIOS to choose which drive to boot from (many BIOS-es have a hot-key to bring boot menu). Only after that I would mess with GRUB.
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August 19, 2013 11:51:20 AM

stillblue said:
Can't imagine why you couldn't install to the new drive using the same settings in the BIOS ie. if you installed windows under uefi then you must install linux that way as well unless you want to have to switch to legacy in the BIOS everytime you want to run linux.
If you are running a live version of ubuntu or variant you could go ahead and format your new drive with 2 partitions, the main one in ext4 and a small (2gb or so) as a swap.
When running the install select other when it asks type of install and make your big new partition the mount point. (/). Grub will see your windows on the other drive and add it to the startup menu all by itself.


You see, this is exactly what I am wondering, whether I can keep the MBR that currently exists on my primary, or ‘master’ drive, and slave that drive, then install the new SSD drive, as the new ‘master’ drive, and point Grub, or Grub 2 to that drive, and have it boot as it does now. The reason why I am a little iffy about this situation is that I have run into various problems in the past, with Windows wanting to dominate the boot process, or the MBR, including the fact that Windows, historically, does not have the best track record when it comes to working friendly with Grub, or Grub2. The Linux distros that I am planning on placing on my SSD are UEFI compatible, therefore I should not have a problem there, however, I desperately need to know whether I can do this without wreaking both the Windows OS (on my soon to be slaved drive - master -> slave), including the programs which reside on them. I am a part-time web & software developer, and I am currently in of a few college courses, therefore, I truly cannot afford a couple of days’ worth of down time, while I attempt to get everything configured, and working in harmony, which, to be honest, will probably take more than a few days.

I really hate to be a problem, however, since you are a Linux Veteran, I am hoping that you can both understand and relate to the fact that configuring and/or tailoring a systems environment, just the way you like it (especially for development), is a long and tedious process. Which, unfortunately, is something that I cannot afford to do right now, which is why, I would like to do this migration in segments, when I have spare time. In addition, I not only want to keep my Linux distros virtually apart via different partitions, but physically apart, via different drives. I want my SSD to be purely Linux, and if it was not for DRM, I would not even be running Windows in the first place. I know that this has nothing to do with this topic, but the only reason why I got rid of Linux a while back was due to space on my hard drive, and because Windows programs are generally ‘bloated’ in comparison to Linux programs.

If you are saying that I can slave my current master drive, which currently has Windows 7 on it, install my new SSD, install a Linux distro (or two), and then direct Grub to my slaved drive, with Windows 7, and have it boot just as it does now, then that would be wonderful news. Moreover, if this is what you are saying, then I am assuming that I should either be able to edit Grub via a terminal, or VIM, adding my slaved drive to the Grub menu, or, somewhere throughout the installation of my Linux distro, I should have this option. Any further advice, recommendations, or comments would surely be appreciated. Thanks again for your response.

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a b 5 Linux
August 20, 2013 1:40:15 AM

The linux install won't touch the windows drive but it will read that there is a bootloader there and add it to your boot options in grub. You will need to identify the linux drive as the first to boot in the BIOS as Ala mentioned. If you are really worried you can do as he said, install with windows drive disconnected and the use your hot key for boot order when you want to change.
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August 20, 2013 9:28:40 AM

stillblue said:
The linux install won't touch the windows drive but it will read that there is a bootloader there and add it to your boot options in grub. You will need to identify the linux drive as the first to boot in the BIOS as Ala mentioned. If you are really worried you can do as he said, install with windows drive disconnected and the use your hot key for boot order when you want to change.


Do not get me wrong, I do think that Alabalcho’s idea regarding unmounting, or completely detaching my soon to be slaved drive is an intelligent solution, especially if I am apprehensive about this installation process, which I am. However, it is not that easy to get in and out of my PC. I will spare you my life’s story and simply say this, my PC is heavier than s#!t, due to the many components that reside within, it is tucked away in a really awkward place, due to my office arrangement, and to say the least, a real pain to get in and out of. Although, I may just end up doing this, I was hoping to install the drive once, and have at least an 80% chance that everything is going to go fairly smoothly, and avoid the whole process of having to detach, and re-attach components, while I sort everything out. Believe me, I know how Linux can be sometimes, and although Linux boasts many great features and advantages over Windows, there are times where it is difficult to get ‘everything’ working correctly. Especially when you have a host of different devices that require drivers to which are not directly supported by the kernel out of the box.

In addition, if I was not looking at installing several distros, to which one appears to have some severe problems with the installation process (in their most recent version), with my current CPU and Video components, and configurations, I probably would not be so apprehensive. I am not a moderate to advance user of Linux, however, eventually, I would like to be there, and the first step that I need to take is to install Linux, and in doing so, I am attempting to obtain as much assistance as possible, to make this process a smooth one. I understand, it may appear as if I am asking for a lot, because with all of the different system configurations available, Linux distros, kernals, drivers, and yada, yada, yada… it is difficult to ensure a smooth installation, however, not impossible. Essentially, I am the type that likes to plan, before leaping, and I have been attempting to plan as much as I can for this matter. If there is anything else that you can suggest regarding this matter, I surely would appreciate it, and if there is any information, regarding my system, its configuration, the type of distros that I plan on installing, or whatever else, I would be more than happy to lend that data, if it would assist you in designing a comprehensive solution for this problem. I sincerely do appreciate your time, and I hope to hear back from you. Thanks again.
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a b 5 Linux
August 21, 2013 12:43:49 AM

Then by all means install linux, just specify that it be installed on the new drive when it asks where to install. It won't touch the other drive except grub (the boot menu) will look to see if there is a boot loader there to add to it's list. Linux is a lot more polite about these things than Windows, it accepts that you may want to use something else as well and leave it alone unless you tell it otherwise so don't tell it to mess with the windows drive and it won't. Unless there is a version that I am unaware of you should be fine so how about you tell us what you want to start with just to be sure?
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August 21, 2013 9:06:28 AM

stillblue said:
Then by all means install linux, just specify that it be installed on the new drive when it asks where to install. It won't touch the other drive except grub (the boot menu) will look to see if there is a boot loader there to add to it's list. Linux is a lot more polite about these things than Windows, it accepts that you may want to use something else as well and leave it alone unless you tell it otherwise so don't tell it to mess with the windows drive and it won't. Unless there is a version that I am unaware of you should be fine so how about you tell us what you want to start with just to be sure?


Well, I attempted to install Ubuntu 13.04, and had a whole heap of problems. None of this ruined my Windows partition, on my now slaved drive (to which I have reverted back to boot priority 1), however, not once during the installation process did Linux kick in and install Grub!? This sort of leaves me dumbfounded, because, although Linux did locate my other partitions (or other drives), it never added my Windows 7 partition to a Grub menu, in-fact, it did not even install Grub!? Really bothering me, because, I know, once I get Grub installed, and I have the choice upon whether to boat between Linux, or Winblows 7, and slowly setup my Linux distro, while still maintaining my developers environment that I have spent too much time to count setting up.

In addition, I have an NVIDIA SLI rig (GTX 660 DCOCII) x 2, and three monitors (which are all identical, in make, and vertical and horizontal polarity), and even after I was able to get the correct NVIDIA drivers installed, I was unable to get all three monitors working!? Another confusing problem, especially given the fact, that ‘out-of-the-box’, this distro identified all three monitors, and they were displaying. Albeit, my environment was ‘incredibly’ sloooow, I was still able to get all three monitors up and running as independently active monitors, instead of one wide screen monitor, as you would see when using NVIDIA Surround. I scoured the Internet, and I honestly have not found a single thread that could help me sort this issue out. Currently, I am back in Windows, but hopefully, not for long. I do not know how I am supposed to sort this out, however, I am sure there is a way, and I need to know before I go back in and attempt to either fix the Linux install that I currently have, or start from scratch, and see if I can get anywhere from there. Like I said before, I know how Linux can be, and it can be a real pain in the a$$ sometimes, when it comes to ensuring that everything is configured properly.

Any comments, opinions, ideas, or suggestions would surely be appreciated on this matter. Thanks again in advance.
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a b 5 Linux
August 22, 2013 12:34:30 AM

How did you start Ubuntu without grub? It's there but since it didn't detect the windows loader it just skips the option screen and goes straight to boot. To see grub press the left shift key during boot and it should launch.

Try boot-repair to fix the boot. This is a good thing to put on a live usb flash btw just in case of future problems.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair && sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && (boot-repair &)

For info on boot-repair go to https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair
Use the recommended repairs settings.

As to the hardware Sam_p_lay is your guy, probably want to start a new thread for that.
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August 22, 2013 7:54:48 PM

stillblue said:
How did you start Ubuntu without grub? It's there but since it didn't detect the windows loader it just skips the option screen and goes straight to boot. To see grub press the left shift key during boot and it should launch.

Try boot-repair to fix the boot. This is a good thing to put on a live usb flash btw just in case of future problems.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair && sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && (boot-repair &)

For info on boot-repair go to https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair
Use the recommended repairs settings.

As to the hardware Sam_p_lay is your guy, probably want to start a new thread for that.


Albeit, I feel as though I am making some headway, I am still receiving some really strange results.

First action:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair && sudo apt-get update

Result: Loaded everything, headers, and installed packages.

Second Action:
sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && (boot-repair &)

Result: Everything seemed to setup correctly, then, a “Boot Repair” window appeared, with the following prompt:

“EFI detected. Please check the options.”

Then the ‘Boot Repair’ application loaded. When I chose [Recommended Repair], I received a prompt stating:

“The boot of your PC is in Legacy mode. You may want to retry after changing it to EFI mode. Do
you want to continue?”

I have no idea why I am receiving this prompt, seeing as though ‘Boot Repair’ just stated:

“EFI detected. Please check the options.”

Action: Restarted computer, changed BIOS settings. [Boot Device Control] => UEFI & Legacy OpROM, and [Boot from Storage Devices] => Both, UEFI first, then restarted again. Received the same prompt via ‘Boot Repair’. Restarted computer again, changed BIOS settings [Boot Device Control] => UEFI only, and then restarted. BIOS did not even detect that there was a Linux partition, or that my SSD existed. Changed BIOS settings [Boot Device Control] => UEFI & Legacy OpROM, again, booted into Ubuntu, and now Grub was present, but no option for Windows 7!?

While within ‘Boot Repair’, I reviewed the ‘Advanced Options,’ and I am wondering whether I should have used those, seeing as though the following options could apply to my system configuration.

[Advanced Options]
[Main Options] tab
[Restore MBR] – Should I check this? Would it matter? Will it screw up Windows?
[Backup and rename Windows EFI files (solves the [hard-coded-EFI] error)] – Again, should I check this? Would it matter? Seems like it could mess up Windows.
[GRUB Options] tab
[Secure Boot] – Since by BIOS is set to Secure Boot, should I check this?

Ultimately, I seem to have GRUB now, however, no Windows 7 entry. In addition, I have been ‘attempting’ to get my NVIDIA drivers working within Ubuntu, with really screwed up results. First, I installed NVIDIA’s drivers via Ubuntu’s Software Center [NVIDIA Driver Version: 313.30], and I could only get two screens, with the ‘TwinView’ configuration. I then selected my third monitor, which was disabled, but, detected, and enabled it, and set all three to ‘Separate X Screen’, where now I only have my ‘primary’ monitors displaying Ubuntu, and my other two (left & right) displaying nothing but ‘white’!? Once, I even rebooted, and all three screens lit up with a nice NVIDIA graphic logo, but froze, and I had to hard-reset. I have been able to log back into Ubuntu, however, I am not receiving a display on all three monitors. I had to create an xorg.conf file, to save my settings under /etc/X11/

Here is my xorg.conf file, for review:

# nvidia-settings: X configuration file generated by nvidia-settings
# nvidia-settings: version 313.30 (buildd@lamiak) Wed Apr 10 17:19:51 UTC 2013

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Layout0"
Screen 0 "Screen0" 0 0
Screen 1 "Screen1" RightOf "Screen0"
InputDevice "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
InputDevice "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
Option "Xinerama" "0"
EndSection

Section "Files"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
# generated from default
Identifier "Mouse0"
Driver "mouse"
Option "Protocol" "auto"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "no"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
# generated from default
Identifier "Keyboard0"
Driver "kbd"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
# HorizSync source: edid, VertRefresh source: edid
Identifier "Monitor0"
VendorName "Unknown"
ModelName "Acer G206HL"
HorizSync 31.0 - 80.0
VertRefresh 56.0 - 76.0
Option "DPMS"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
# HorizSync source: unknown, VertRefresh source: unknown
Identifier "Monitor1"
VendorName "Unknown"
ModelName "Acer G206HL"
HorizSync 0.0 - 0.0
VertRefresh 0.0
Option "DPMS"
EndSection

Section "Device"
Identifier "Device0"
Driver "nvidia"
VendorName "NVIDIA Corporation"
BoardName "GeForce GTX 660"
BusID "PCI:1:0:0"
EndSection

Section "Device"
Identifier "Device1"
Driver "nvidia"
VendorName "NVIDIA Corporation"
BoardName "GeForce GTX 660"
BusID "PCI:6:0:0"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen0"
Device "Device0"
Monitor "Monitor0"
DefaultDepth 24
Option "Stereo" "0"
Option "metamodes" "DFP-0: nvidia-auto-select +0+0, DFP-3: nvidia-auto-select +1600+0"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen1"
Device "Device1"
Monitor "Monitor1"
DefaultDepth 24
Option "Stereo" "0"
Option "metamodes" "nvidia-auto-select +0+0"
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
EndSubSection
EndSection

I have no idea what to do from here. I still cannot boot into Windows 7 from GRUB, and I must boot from my BIOS. In addition, my NVIDIA situation seems more screwed up than even. I do ‘honestly’ appreciate you being able to hang with me this far, because I have been abandoned by others much sooner. I sincerely do appreciate all of the assistance that you have given me so far, and would appreciate any advice, comments, or suggestions here on forth, if you have any. Thanks once again for your time and effort stillblue.
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a b 5 Linux
August 23, 2013 2:14:34 AM

It looks like you installed windows in UEFI and Ubuntu in Legacy. You really don't want that because to switch from one to the other you have to reboot and chande to Legacy if you want Ubuntu or UEFI for Windows. To be sure switch to UEFI and see if the system boots to Windows. If it does then you would be best served by reinstalling Ubuntu under UEFI. Some computers don't allow this for the time being but there is a class action suit pending to fix that and a new BIOS should be released. I would hope that's the outcome anyway.

As to the hardware, again try a new thread, you'll have a better chance at a response.
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