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I have a Lenovo Y580 laptop with a 1Tb hard drive and a ssd installed on the mSata.

So apparently Lenovo did something weird with the hard drive: there are already 4 partitions on the hard drive, and for some reason the Ubuntu install disk cannot detect my windows installation. I did some reading, and there seems to be additional problems with RapidDrive caching the SSD with the hard drive. I do not have the option of installing Ubuntu with my windows installation.

I do not want to lose my data and my work on my windows partition, so I decided that I am going to remove the hard drive and swap it with a spare hard drive that I have hanging around to do a fresh installation of ubuntu on the entire disk.

My questions:

  1. Should I remove the SSD in the mSata slot as well as the original hard drive? Will I potentially break my SSD?

    EDIT I decided to remove the SSD just in case.

  2. If I install Ubuntu on the spare hard drive, can I then remove it, put it in a usb drive enclosure, and put the original drive back in, then boot from the external hard drive? Would I have to install a boot loader on the original drive, or will the drive be able to boot from USB?

Thank you.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I don't know about (1), so I'm just going to answer the second question.

Yes, you can! As a matter of fact you can even install Ubuntu directly onto the USB hard drive. (Just make sure you select the correct drive during installation.) The boot loader will then be installed onto the same drive as Ubuntu.

If you are able to boot off you hard drive without using tricks (like the Plop Boot Manager:, or similar) entirely depends on your BIOS. Try pressing F12 during BIOS initialization to enter the boot menu and check if your USB drive is being displayed.

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Hmm, I tried to install ubuntu to the spare drive connected to a usb drive several times, but I get an error message with question marks "?????". I guess I will just try swapping the hd and installing it. – ialm Mar 27 '13 at 0:42

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