2

So, the main drive on my Acer Aspire R3-131T (model no. N15W5) laptop is only 32 GB, on which I want to install Ubuntu. That's not enough space to also install the programs I want to run as well, so I ordered a 256 GB SD card to put them on, but I'm not sure how to set it up.

Is it possible to install programs on a separate drive from the one running Ubuntu, and if so, how would I go about doing it? It was simple on Windows 7 (I'm on Linux since it died and I don't like 10 one bit), you could just tell the installer to install to a folder on the separate drive, but Linux seems to have a different way of structuring it's files.

Thank you!

  • @K7AAY The eMMC drive is soldered to the board, so there is no replacing it, but thank you for the suggestion. – VVill Jan 27 at 23:15
  • No other drive ports unfortunately. It's an Acer Aspire r3 131t model no. N15W5, and it looks like they just made it as cheap as they could. Picked it up for $15 at a second hand store so I'm not complaining. – VVill Jan 27 at 23:31
  • @K7AAY Nope, that's the r11, not the r3 N15W5. it is not listed on the acer website – VVill Jan 28 at 0:09
  • ebay.com/c/1364838787 Here is an ebay listing I found on it, that's about as good as I could find. This is the right model. – VVill Jan 28 at 0:14
2

Yes, Linux marches to the beat of a different... kazoo.

When you install Ubuntu, and most other Linux OS, you are given the choice of where multiple directories go. What goes in them is defined in the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, including (but not limited to) locations such as

/
/boot
/boot/efi (for UEFI installs only)
/dev
/etc
/home
/lib
/mnt
/opt
/sbin
/srv
/sys
/tmp
/usr
/var

Each can be assigned to a different physical device, and https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/5489/how-to-safely-move-tmp-to-a-different-volume illustrates how to do it post-install for /tmp . It's far, far better to do it during the install process; thank you for thinking ahead.

I welcome commentary from those more experienced on the subject of which directories should go in the 32 GB drive and which should not, especially with the changes made by Snaps and other packaging methods. I think this would be a reasonable division:

The soldered-in 32 GB eMMC drive:

/
/bin
/boot
/dev
/dev
/media
/root
/run
/sbin

The externally mounted SD card

/etc
/home
/lib
/opt
/tmp
/usr
/var

HOWEVER.

It's too darned easy to eject an SD card by accident on most laptops. Do that, and likely you have a system crash.

Either put some kind of Molly-Guard over the SD card and its ejection mechanism, and/or consider supplementing the 32 GB internal drive with something larger that doesn't use the SD slot.

I did that in one of my laptops, and use the SD card slot for backup. It had a removable eMMC card slot, so I got a 512GB eMMC card, which works very well. Without knowing your laptop make and model, can't see if that would work for you.

Also, SD card file access is generally slower than a eMMC drive would be, another reason why I advocate replacing your internal drive. Make sure not to order an M.2 or M2 drive if you choose that solution, for those drives will not work in an eMMC slot.

Lastly, with any solid state device, performance will decline if you come close to filling it. A credible technical website found that “minimum performance improves substantially once you hit 25% spare area for these (consumer) drives.” Their final recommendation was that you should “plan on using only about 75% of (your drive’s) capacity if you want a good balance between performance consistency and capacity.”

| improve this answer | |
  • For context, my laptop is an Acer Aspire r3 131T (NOT r11) model number N15W5. and the eMMC is soldered in. The SD card slot is centered in the back of the base of the laptop (in between the hinges that hold up the screen) so I'm not too worried about it ejecting. In the case that it does though, it would just crash the session, right? Like I could plug it back it, reboot the computer, and it would boot fine? So when I'm installing Ubuntu and deciding where the locations go, which ones do I want to put on the SD card that will hold the programs, and which ones stay on the laptop? Thank you! – VVill Jan 27 at 23:28
  • @K That's what I meant by NOT r11. The more expensive r11 has a 500 gb hdd, but the cheaper r3 that I have does not. – VVill Jan 28 at 0:05
  • Aha. acer.com/ac/en/US/content/support-product/6074?b=1 is also remarkably vague. TY for the eBay link. There's a bare motherboard for the same model which shows no connection for a SATA drive. Ah, well. – K7AAY Jan 28 at 0:56
  • Oooh Thank you very much for that link, the drivers and bios updates might come in handy. And thank you for dividing up the directories, we'll have to see how it goes next week when my parts come in and I can install it. For now, I'll select your answer as accepted and see how it rolls. Thank you! – VVill Jan 28 at 1:12
  • You might also consider as secondary storage an itsy-bitsy USB flash drive like amazon.com/SanDisk-256GB-Ultra-Flash-Drive/dp/B07857Y17V . The smaller they are, the less likely they are to get pulled off. – K7AAY Jan 28 at 17:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.