I have a full Ubuntu install in a 160 gb hard drive at my home desktop. I detached it for external use but can't boot it from other computers of my lab or through my laptop running windows.

I need to boot my external hard drive from at least 3 desktops and one laptop running windows. Security is not a issue for me but convenience is. I have 120 gb data in it which I don't want to backup and go for a fresh install as it is cumbersome.

  • If I shrink some space with gparted in the 160 gb hard drive and install a trial mint with persistence, will I be able to use both the boot systems and get the option to boot from any of the chosen install? If yes then please provide a step by step protocol. Thanking you in anticipation.

Edit: Thank you for your reply. I am currently using a mint bootable Usb drive to access my data in my external hard drive which has full linux install . But as I read that these Usb drives do not last because of multiple reads and write cycles. Therefore I want to embed this capacity in my hard drive.

All the windows desktop and laptops are booting from the Mint Usb bootable drive but the install in the hard drive is full install and as it is married with the desktop motherboard, I can't boot this install from other computers (probably because of the proprietary drivers loaded).

  • Therefore, I need to incorporate a bootable partition (Preferably Mint) in my external hard drive. Can it be done?

  • If the dual boot creates complication then can I uninstall the full Ubuntu after installing the bootable Mint keeping the data in home folder intact?

  • Or do I need to Uninstall the full Ubuntu install first? Will then my data be accessible from the Mint bootable partition.

  • does it have an EFI partition and grub installed on it? – ravery Jun 28 '17 at 16:54
  • Editing partitions and Installing operating systems is potentially risky, so I would recommend that you backup all important files to another drive or to an internet cloud service. After that you can continue according to your plans. An alternative is to install the test operating system into a fast USB 3 pendrive. See this link and links from it, ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2230389 – sudodus Jun 28 '17 at 18:56
  • The procedures for getting your now-external Ubuntu installation to boot will be different depending on whether your computers are BIOS-based, EFI-based, or a mixture of both. See here for information on determining your computers' current boot mode(s). Please edit your question with this important detail. Also, the current boot mode of your Ubuntu installation may be important. Posting its partition table (as shown by sudo parted /dev/sdb print, changing /dev/sdb as necessary) should be helpful. – Rod Smith Jun 29 '17 at 0:44

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