I have Ubuntu Bionic Beaver installed on an SSD in a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th gen laptop. What will happen if I put that SSD into a pretty similar laptop, the Dell XPS13 Developer Edition?

This older question says there's no way to tell other than trying, but is there anything I can do to prevent any damage? Or have things changed in the meantime?

Both laptops have integrated Intel graphics, so drivers shouldn't be too different.

  • Different enough to cause a kernel panic, which often happens when folks try a disk transplant. Go ahead and try...but have a complete set of backups first, and have a LiveUSB handy to resurrect the patient with a clean install. – user535733 Jan 17 at 3:04
  • Dell often needs UEFI update and UEFI setting on drive to be AHCI. SSD with Dell also need firmware update, but if not one of their standards it may be updated? Just be sure to boot in same boot mode, probably UEFI. – oldfred Jan 17 at 4:29
  • Remove any proprietary drivers before trying, although Nvidia can now tell if the computer does nor have a Nvidia card so does not load their driver. Otherwise there is not much difference than running a Full install USB drive in different computers. – C.S.Cameron Jan 17 at 5:04

The hardware may be similar, but there's a good chance the system won't work without a clean install on the Dell, and it might cause file system corruption on the SSD which means you can't recover if you put it back in the Lenovo. Much safer to backup important data and do a proper installation on the Dell.

  • 1
    +1 for the backup and clean installation part, but could you explain why it may cause file system corruption in more detail? – danzel Jan 17 at 1:33
  • It shouldn't cause FS errors, but anything goes when you swap hardware in computers. I've seen incidents where the file table was nuked, albeit that was Windows, and I have no idea why. YMMV – Compatico Jan 19 at 0:57

The system booted fine on the second attempt, but then would randomly corrupt the display like this:

Corrupted display

This reddit thread suggests I should uninstall the video drivers. How do I do that? Or how do I uninstall all drivers?

  • To check proprietary drivers go to Software & Updates / Additional Drivers. – C.S.Cameron Jan 17 at 6:23
  • @C.S.Cameron: "No proprietary drivers are in use" (and "No additional drivers available") – Dan Dascalescu Jan 17 at 6:28
  • Very strange, I see that both machines use the same graphics chip. Did the drive come with Ubuntu? Are there a lot of programs installed? You could do a fresh install and then copy the old home directory? – C.S.Cameron Jan 17 at 7:00
  • @C.S.Cameron: no, I installed Ubuntu 18.04.1 from scratch, then wine, LibreOffice, WebStorm, Chromium, SMPlayer, Pinta, Geany, Double Commander, and some other smaller utilities. – Dan Dascalescu Jan 17 at 7:33
  • I'm thinking that it must be something mechanical, like a loose connection if it intermittently works. – C.S.Cameron Jan 17 at 7:54

Like a Bootable Flash Drive

People have been successfully using Full install flash drives in multiple machines for a long time.

Swapping bootable SSD drives, either external or internal, should also work as long as there are no proprietary drivers running and UEFI requirements are met.

To check proprietary drivers go to Software & Updates/Additional Drivers.

Have never heard of anyone bricking a bootable flash drive due to incorrect computer UEFI requirements.

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