I am trying to install Ubuntu 13.04 on my 24Gb MSATA SSD. In my laptop, I've also got a 500Gb SATA HDD. I realize that in order for this to work I need to put my /home directory on the 500Gb HDD.

I've tried installing it by creating a ext4 partition on the SSD and a 8Gb swap partition on my HDD. This resulted in an error saying something similar to Cannot install bootloader, please select an other location for the bootloader.

Now before I waste any more time trying to get it to work I'm going to ask a bunch of questions:

  • Where should I put the swap partition?
  • How big should I make the swap partition? (I've got 12Gb RAM)
  • My 500Gb HDD is currently in Raid mode. Should I change that (to AHCI or IDE)?
  • Where should I put the bootloader if the error message occurs again?
  • How do I make the home directory point to the HDD instead of the SSD?
  • Can I configure Ubuntu to install software/packages on the HDD instead of the SSD?

Swap should be on hard drive. With 12GB of RAM you may never use swap. The only time you might use swap would be if you hibernate, but if booting from SSD hibernation does not save much if anything. I still suggest a little swap just to have some or maybe 2GB. Others have had no swap with that much RAM and said it works.

You need to change to AHCI and removed RAID meta-data on drives. That is probably why grub will not install as it sees the RAID and wants to install to RAID.

sudo dmraid -E -r /dev/sda
sudo dmraid -E -r /dev/sdb

Is system UEFI or BIOS? That makes a difference on where to install grub. If BIOS you install grub to the MBR of either drive, but preferred to install to SSD. If UEFI you install to efi partition.

If you use manual install and have already created partitions with gparted, you just need to select partition for / (root), choose format and what format (ext4 usually), likewise for /home but if /home already exists with data you DO NOT format. If swap already exists it will find it automatically.

I have a 28GB /(root) partition and use about 9GB including /home which has .wine with Picasa. I have lots of programs installed. I think you can installs games to /home so those would be on HDD. You can split system folders and add to HDD like you do with /home but that should not be required.

All system folders in / can be partitions. Usually only done for servers with specific requirements.

Explanation of file structure






  • Thank you, this worked. My system is BIOS and I have installed the bootloader on the SSD like you said. But now every time i start my computer, the Intel boot manager screen shows for about 5-10 seconds and then boots Ubuntu just fine. How do I skip the Intel boot manager screen? – Joren Sep 1 '13 at 23:23
  • There may be a setting it BIOS to reduce or hide it. But you do not want settings to eliminate it totally. What if you have to get back into BIOS? Usually you have to hit a key while that screen shows and if it never shows you cannot ever change BIOS settings or may end up with a brick. – oldfred Sep 1 '13 at 23:33
  • The way to get into the bios on my computer is to press a key when the HP screen appears. But this happens before the intel screen, so I guess it would be safe to eliminate it completely. Only problem is that I can't seem to find an option for that in the BIOS. – Joren Sep 1 '13 at 23:45

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