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How to Install Ubuntu 13.10 on an external hard drive

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#1 NickAu


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Posted 06 April 2014 - 12:24 AM


Installing Ubuntu 13.10 on an external hard disk drive (HDD) connected to a computer that’s already running another operating system like Windows 7/8 or another Linux distribution is the subject of this article.

Installing Ubuntu or any other Linux distribution in standalone mode on an HDD is normally a simple, point-and-click operation. To do it on an external HDD connected to a computer running another operating system require a little bit more care, if you don’t want to overwrite the contents of the internal HDDs Master Boot Record (MBR). It’s still a simple process, but you have to watch out!

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#2 cat1092


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Posted 13 April 2014 - 11:11 PM

I've done this many times, all one needs to do is simply remove the HDD (or SSD), Ubuntu or most any version of LInux will only see the USB drive. Install to it, reboot & update, shut down & reinstall main drive, you're done.


If you want the USB drive to be seen as first option at boot, leave it plugged in, reboot & enter the BIOS. Move the USB drive above the main drive, it'll boot first every time when installed. Optionally, the hard way, press "F12" or whatever key to select boot device repeatedly at boot & select the USB drive.


This also guarantees that the Windows MBR is untouched.



Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 

#3 rp88


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Posted 22 March 2016 - 12:57 PM

Thanks, this is going to be helpful.
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

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