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This is somewhat a continuation of My machine runs Ubuntu Desktop 15.04 and I want to separately run Ubuntu from an external encrypted hard drive

The objective is to create an isolated (and secure) Ubuntu system (100% separate from the main Ubuntu system, as well as no possible route through wifi or anything else)

The manufacturer does not seem to support removal of the main drive (user Fabby suggested temporary replacement with the external drive, for installation purposes) but said that an eSATA connected external hard drive would be treated as an internal drive. Also, I don't have a DVD/CD drive, but I am under the impression that I can use a USB to do the install.

To create the isolated system, can I first set the boot order to be: 1st the blank eSATA connected external hard drive, and, 2nd the USB port (with the installer on the stick) (and thats it, never going to the internal drive) and go through the installation with the idea that the computer will not know anything about its primary internal hard drive (??) and install on the eSATA connected external hard drive? And then when the install has completed, change the boot order to be: 1st the eSATA connected hard drive and 2nd the internal drive? This would be so when I want the isolated system, I restart with the eSATA drive hooked up and when I don't want the isolated system, I restart without the eSATA hooked up. Will the internal drive be left completely off when running from the eSATA (thus ensuring system isolation)? Again, the isolated system will have its own encryption and password .. I recall Kon Boot can determine the Ubuntu password (and thus decrypt the drive) - will my method avoid that vulnerability?

Thank you!

  • Is system new UEFI or older BIOS? External drive should be installed in same boot mode. You have to use Something Else install option to be able to select which drive grub is installed into. All auto install options install grub to sda. IF UEFI, it will install to sda, and you have to copy to external drive. askubuntu.com/questions/343268/… and: askubuntu.com/questions/274371/… Full drive encryption is always LVM which is a logical partition layer over the physical partitions. – oldfred Jul 9 '15 at 21:46
  • It is Asus UEFI Bios Utiity. I am going to have to do some research before I will know for sure what you mean with the rest of your response. – Spidyplant Jul 10 '15 at 0:10
  • IF UEFI, you want to manually create partitions on external first. A lot of useful research is here: ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295 Is your system an Asus laptop or motherboard. I installed to Asus z97-ar motherboard. – oldfred Jul 10 '15 at 0:51
  • Thank you, oldfred. I think this is too much at the moment and I am going to use Tails on a USB, which I suppose will be slow, but I need to get operational for a bit before I return to this solution you have given. Thanks again! – Spidyplant Jul 13 '15 at 19:20
  • Well, that didn't work since Tails will not install programs permanently, but apparently USB sticks are not appropriate for me due to write life-cycle limitations, anyway. I am not sure if other Live USBs can be made to install software permanently and save data someplace else (not a USB stick), but if I have to have a regular external hard drive in my setup, I might as well go the route I was originally pursuing, which is a lot of work getting up to speed for someone totally new to this! I'll do more research, testing and document my results here for 'the community'. – Spidyplant Jul 15 '15 at 2:34

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