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I have a machine from the company I am working in. I don't have the permission to change anything on it. It's on Windows and it sucks.

I am thinking of installing Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on a brand new external SDD. I want to be able to boot from this SSD if it's plugged in and from windows if not.

What could go wrong? If the Windows OS is damaged, I may be fired !

An help? I would appreciate a link on how to do it the most safer way. There is tons of tutorials with different approaches. I am lost.

PS: the machine is Dell 3351 and the OS is windows 10 PRO.

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    Advice: Don't experiment with somebody else's property unless you have permission to do so. I am not comfortable telling you how to hack hardware that does not belong to you.
    – user535733
    Feb 17 at 19:51
  • I understand. But I don't like using windows Feb 17 at 19:59
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    To boot an external drive you have to have access to the UEFI boot menu. Many corporations lock that down for security reasons. And Ubuntu installer will default to installing grub2 UEFI boot loader to ESP on the internal drive. Dell also requires multiple settings In UEFI changed & Windows update to use AHCI.
    – oldfred
    Feb 17 at 20:40
  • Have you considered using VirtualBox. That's what I did when working on my company's computer. For most tasks performance is acceptable. HOw much memory does the Dell have? Feb 17 at 23:53
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Legacy or UEFI SSD boot

You may want to create a SSD that boots on both Legacy and UEFI computers. The instructions at this link will help you do that:

Easy Full Install USB that Boots both BIOS and UEFI

Otherwise follow the advice on Paddy's answer.

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  • I tried to remove my actual ssd drive from my personal comuper (not the brand new one) and plugged it in into the company's computer. It didn't work ( It doesn't show in the boot sequence.) Is it because the SSD doesn't have a GPT partition on it? Feb 18 at 18:04
  • @Approximations, your question was about an external SSD. If I'd known that you were going to plug an internal SSD into your boss's computer, I'd have said, "Don't!" It's not worth the risk. Go for the VirtualBox option instead; it's hugely safer. Feb 18 at 20:13
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It's generally a safe process, but obviously you don't want to run the risk of being fired.

So…

Install Ubuntu onto your external SSD using your own machine, not your company's one.

Once installed successfully, it will probably run fine on the company's machine. Linux is pretty cool like that. Take special care to avoid changing the machine's internal drive.

As @oldfred warned, you might not succeed anyway because of UEFI lockdown.

But if you want to avoid any risk, don't even try unless your boss gives permission. It's not worth being fired over it.

As a final option, if you're allowed to install VirtualBox on the Windows machine, you can create a virtual machine to run Ubuntu, which is safe.

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    Good advice, I see lots of cases here where people have messed up computers installing bootloader to wrong drive or overwriting the Windows partition. Feb 18 at 4:06
  • I tried to remove my actual ssd drive from my personal comuper (not the brand new one) and plugged it in into the company's computer. It didn't work ( It doesn't show in the boot sequence.) Is it because the SSD doesn't have a GPT partition on it? Feb 18 at 18:04
  • Approximations, see my comment on the answer by @C.S.Cameron. This has rapidly become more complicated than your original query. Feb 28 at 21:23

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