I used to use Ubuntu 12.04 Alternate installer to setup my old RAID1 + encryption system. With the new LTS 14.04 (beta 2) I found the alternate installer missing which complicates installation on a RAID1 a lot. Textbased installation doesn't work because it fails to autmatically setup Wifi.

My question is: How do you install Ubuntu Desktop on a software RAID 1 with encryption?

Here's what I tried:

Idea 1. Install on first hard disk and create RAID afterwards

Didn't work because "Disks" warns about erasing everything.

Idea 2. Use netboot installer

While in principal this would work (tested in a virtualmachine) I can't get my wireless interface to work. (A work around would be to setup a plain wired interface but right now I'd like to avoid setting something like this up.)

Idea 3. Use server installer

I also tested this in a virtualmachine but apparently there is no Desktop package available in the installer (which is available in netboot installer). I assume this can be installed afterwards from console but my fear is that I won't get the original Ubuntu Desktop experience. What are the differences between Desktop and Server+Desktop package? (Thread about server installation)

Idea 4. Create a RAID1 from unformatted disks and install on the RAID1

Installation works except for the last step which shows the error "can't install grub on /dev/md127p1". I also tried to install it on any other partition without success.

I also followed the tutorial mentioned in this thread but got stuck when I had to add the encryption partition.

  1. Format the /dev/md0 as crypto
  2. Wait for /dev/mapper/crypto1 to appear
  3. Format crypto1 with partition table
  4. Create ext4 partition

Btw: There is no option to create LVMs that the simple install option provides o_O

Idea 5: Use "Try Ubuntu" and run text installer

Does anyone know how to start the text installer from within the graphical live system?

  • If the server installer works, use that option. Post-install, reboot and install the generic kernel and ubuntu-desktop. Then re-boot to the generic kernel and remove the server kernel.
    – Panther
    Apr 17, 2014 at 20:05
  • Thanks. Although I haven't tried this I think it also requires to setup Wifi in text based installer. Apr 18, 2014 at 19:24
  • setting up wifi in a text based installer is not so different then a graphical one. You enter the password with the keyboard ;)
    – Panther
    Apr 18, 2014 at 20:40
  • Except the autoconfigurator doesn't work or provide any selection of available wifi networks. Apr 18, 2014 at 20:59
  • Not sure what autoconfigurator you are talking about. See blog.tplus1.com/blog/2008/06/13/…
    – Panther
    Apr 18, 2014 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


I think I figured out a solution. The trick here is to use the textbased installer in a Virtualbox to circumvent setting up wifi. The installation takes a lot of time (+2h) but it's intended to be easy.

Use Virtualbox as a DHCP server and install to rawdisks via the textbased installer

  1. Boot from live Desktop, choose "Try Ubuntu", setup your wifi and download Minimal iso (server should work too and maybe speed up the installation.)
  2. In Software Center select VirtualBox -> more info -> add multiverse as source -> install
  3. Create raw disks via: sudo VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename sda.vmdk -rawdisk /dev/sda sudo VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename sdb.vmdk -rawdisk /dev/sdb
  4. start Virtualbox as root sudo virtualbox, add the newly created raw disks and the netboot iso
  5. Boot and choose expert install, go through the first install steps...
  6. Add parted as installer package
  7. Create the partitions (note that Virtualbox may choose different names for devices!)
    1. sda1: 0.5GB, ext2, use as software RAID
    2. sda2: remaining space, use as software RAID
    3. sdb1: 0.5GB, ext2, use as software RAID
    4. sdb2: remaining space, use as software RAID
    5. create software RAID -> installer should offer an option to write to disk
    6. md0: use as ext2 /boot
    7. md1: use as "LVM"
    8. add a LVM group and add a logical partition
    9. lvm: use as "encrypted"
    10. add encrypted partition -> finish -> installer should ask for passphrase
  8. add user! (I forgot this at the first attempt, OMG)
  9. the following only applies to Minimal iso I think: install base system, in tasksel add "ubuntu-desktop" and as kernel select "linux-generic-lts-trusty"
  10. add the bootloader to /dev/sda
  11. finish it

As of 2014-04-19 I got an error during bootup Error: diskfilter writes are not supported. Press any key to continue... See this post for a solution.

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