Running Install Ubuntu using Ubuntu 16.04 Live USB results in reformatting all swap drives. In addition swap is using existing swap partitions on found hard drives instead of just the swap partition on the live usb disk.

I have an existing ubuntu 12.04 system with four hard drives. One of which is a Win 7 drive. I've created an ubuntu 16.04 live usb flash drive. I'm trying to install ubuntu 16.04 onto another usb flash drive. Then we would use it such that we may add software, updates, and not overwrite the existing system.

So I booted ubuntu 16.04 from the live USB. Then selected install ubuntu, something else. Created a /dev/sde ext4 partition mounted at / and selected /dev/sde for booting. When we select next we get a message stating that partion #5 of sda will be formatted as swap. Partition #3 of sdd will be formatted as swap. We do not want these drives repartitioned... Any suggestions as to what to try without unplugging the four existing sata drives?

We tried numerous partition schemes on sde, such as adding a swap partition, or a user partition, etc. But always get a message that the original hard disks are going to be modified / formatted.

Sometimes all four drives show up and then more drives and partitions are selected for "formatting". Do we need multiple swap partitions across multiple drives?

Also note that we did accidentally create a usb with ubuntu 12.04 and the install process did not tell us it was overwriting the other disks. However the next time we booted from hard drives it took two boots to work. So we're suspicious that we might have formatted swap space or other space on the existing hard drives without telling.

Also note that "sudo swapon -s" shows that the live usb disk on sdd is using swap partitions on sda and sdd. Trying "sudo swapoff -a" then running "sudo swapon -s" does disable using swap on this instance of the live usb disk. However then running install still insists on formatting the swap partitions on sda and sdd.

I've gone ahead and did install to sde, requiring the formatting of swap partitions on sda and sdd, with no apparent side affects. Other than a nagging concern in the back of the brain. Maybe I should have removed the existing hard drives just to be safe.

  • Just go into fstab on your install in sde and comment out all the swap partitions that you do not want.
    – oldfred
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 22:08

1 Answer 1


The installer does reformat the swap partition; but then it resets the uuid back to the original uuid, which is why you don't notice a problem later.

The message that the installer gives you, however, does not mention that the uuid is preserved. I filed a bug on this a while back.

Systemd automatically mounts all of the swap drives that it finds.

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