debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

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debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby MagicPoulp » 2020-02-28 08:20

Please help me with this. I got good advice one year ago on a similar question.

I wish to buy an external SSD drive and install debian on it, as an efi system with 3 partitions: efi, swap, and root.

But I wonder that maybe the debian installer will tell me that there is missing non-free firmware for the usb drive.
Can I ignore this error during the installer?

Can I erase everying that is pre-installed on the disc or do I need to keep stuff for their factory firmware?

I also want to have a fat32 partition on it so that windows can mount. Is it better if the fat32 partition is at the beginning of the drive so that windows detect it? Or should the efi partition be first?

Unfortunately, in 2020, Windows cannot mount ext4!

As a parenthesis, the debian graphical install in 2020 still has several steps that one has to click every 30 min so that one cannot just run the installer and come back and it is installed. Or maybe I should pick the advanced install?
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Re: debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby MagicPoulp » 2020-02-28 10:29

What do you think about the following?

I can download the non free firmware on a separate usb stick
And during the installation, I can load it.

Maybe the debian installation will make good use of the firmware to optimize.

it is in the doc:
https://www.debian.org/releases/jessie/ ... 04.html.en

It seems to me I should just try to install and if it works I will ignore the firmware issue. Or is the firmware critical for performance? In any case, I can install the firmware after the installation on the booted system.

I guess the firmware is for things like encrypted fat32 disks and such. But I just want storage space and erase all.
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Re: debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby MagicPoulp » 2020-02-28 12:19

So my most important question: can I put the fat32 partition at the end of the disc and will windows be able to mount it automatically?
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Re: debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby PsySc0rpi0n » 2020-02-28 21:36

I don't understand your questions.

You say in your first post you want to install Debian in an external SSD with 3 partitions.
In your last post you say you want to have a fat32 partition in the end of the disk and you ask if Windows can mount it.

In the end, what is your goal?
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Re: debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-02-29 02:57

You're begging someone to post that funny LMGTFY = let me Google that for you link. :) You can set up and partition a new drive w gparted or others in mere minutes, gpt + EFI if that's what you like for this or uefi + mbr, whichever and there's a whole installation section in this forum (and a gazillion other places online) that cover/recover installing Debian.
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Re: debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby MagicPoulp » 2020-02-29 06:27

Well I changed my mind, now I want 4 partitions not 3. Because I remember windows cannot mount ext 4.

Well I cannot find on the internet if window s can mount a fat32 partition at the end of a usb ssd disc. Or I am not sure.
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Re: debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-02-29 10:06

MagicPoulp wrote:Can I erase everying that is pre-installed on the disc

Yes, that's fine. No partitions contain "factory firmware". If you need non-free firmware then use one of the unofficial Debian ISO images that already contain them, ask the interweb where to find them. But you may need to install non-free firmware for your graphics card and non-free µcode for your processor afterwards, see my relevant [FAQ]s for more on this.

If you want a UEFI system then you will need an EFI system partition (as well as root partitions for Debian & Windows), this should be FAT-formatted and have the "boot, esp" flags applied in gparted. Don't use that as the shared partition though, if you accidentally delete the EFI files then your systems will be rendered unbootable.

Ask on a Windows forum about filesystem support, the users there will probably know better than us.

FWIW, there do seem to be Windows drivers for ext4 & btrfs support, ask the interweb for details.

MagicPoulp wrote:the debian graphical install in 2020 still has several steps that one has to click every 30 min so that one cannot just run the installer and come back and it is installed

Read this: https://www.debian.org/releases/buster/ ... pb.en.html
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Re: debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-02-29 10:22

Windows can handle ext4 and btrfs to extent now ?.. Cool to hear. Plenty of freeware partitioning tools available for windows too, who knows may even be a few quality one's that can do ext4-etc formatting. In which case op could partition and format new SSD with windows. Just plug the thing in and go. Always went to a site called snapfiles.com had a fairly extensive freeware section. Was getting freeware, even back on Xp that'd run circles around what M$ included out-of-box. Haven't been keeping up though or been there in many years. So only noting it, not giving any endorsement. Could well still be as kickbutt a site for windows freeware as it was too.

PS, HADES YEAH! M$ starting to move over and make some room, can't just treat gnu/nix like the platform doesn't exist anymore! 2020 ... The year of the gnu/Linux desktop!!! Errrr, though every year is the year of the nix desktop for plenty of people here. Been the year of the nix desktop since 2011 for me. Still ... in yer face m$!!!! :P
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Re: debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby MagicPoulp » 2020-02-29 16:28

OK thanks.
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Re: debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby MagicPoulp » 2020-03-01 06:05

And no need to ridicule me because I start windows. I actually want to prepare debian for a friend. ANd he uses Windows so he needs to move files from ext4 to fat32.

There are many commercial qualtity software and games on windows. It is still usable.
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Re: debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby MagicPoulp » 2020-03-01 19:26

Hi Head on a stick and others,

thanks again for the previous help.

I installed Debian on a usb 3 external ssd disk. Now I cannot boot on it.

You said after the installation, I should run grub-install -- removable. But I cannot boot my system. I do not want to make a live USb. I could start a basic shell using the advanced debian installer, by just booting on the installer not by resintalling. But there, I cannot mount the content of sdb1, sdb2, etc. The shell is very limited. tehre is not the fdisk command avaiable. But I can see /dev/

I tried mkdir usb1, mount /dev/sdc1 /usb1
and it says error no such file or directory

Should I reinstall debian using the advanced installer and then afterwards maybe the installer shell will have mounted things?
What can I do?

I found some doc, but it is a little too much:
https://wiki.debian.org/GrubEFIReinstall
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Re: debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-03-01 19:40

MagicPoulp wrote:I tried mkdir usb1, mount /dev/sdc1 /usb1
and it says error no such file or directory

Use the full path for the directory in the mkdir command, just as you have done for the mount command afterwards.

Or use /mnt instead, that's what it's for.
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Re: debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby MagicPoulp » 2020-03-01 21:34

Well I am stuck. No idea what I can do. I just says no such file.

The sdc partitions show up when I connect the ssd disk. If I do cat /dev/sdc6, it shows swap and binary coded stuff. WIth sdc5, it show fat32. There is no sdc4 and ther are 2 fat32.
So I can guess efi is on sdc1, and the debian is installed on sdc2.

There is nothing in this shell it is only in the RAM. There is no grub-install, there is no apt, nothing.

tab completion shows all the sdc drives /dev/sd


mkdir /mnt/usbc1
mkdir /mnt/usbc2
mkdir /mnt/usbc3
mkdir /mnt/usbc4

mount/dev/sdc1 /mnt/usbc1
mount/dev/sdc2 /mnt/usbcc2
mount/dev/sdc3 /mnt/usbc3
mount/dev/sdc4 /mnt/usbc4
Every mount command just says something like "no such file"


SO how to mount? And after I mount, can I run grub-installer --removable in short or do I need to add the different paths to boot, etc like thje doc says.

I will try rescue mode it says it can find a disk https://www.debian.org/releases/jessie/ ... 07.html.en
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Re: debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby MagicPoulp » 2020-03-01 22:03

with debian rescue mode in the installer, I could pick my disk and mount it and it asked if i want to moutn the efi too.

then I ran the command grub-install --removable.

But I still cannot boot. The startup has some system logging errors failed to start system logging daemon.
Then it will timout waiting for device with the name of my usb ssd drive.
I also have some firmware errors.

So:
do I need more options for the grub-isntall command?
do I need the prorpietary firmware to boot?

or maybe I should follow more the doc?
# grub-install --efi-directory=/mnt/usb --boot-directory=/mnt/usb/boot --removable
https://wiki.debian.org/GrubEFIReinstall

I have tried again
Since the debian rescue mode mounts /dev/sda1 on /boot/efi,
it does not seem to be important to add --efi-directory --boot-directory
I tried to add those and it only moved the grub folder on the efi partition into a boot folder.


And I still cannot boot. So perhaps I have another problem.
The list of errors goes so fast that I cannot read the first error.

What do you suggest? To install the non-free firmware in the rescue mode?

I don't know which firmware I miss the errors go too fast.

During the installation it mentioned missing ath10k drivers. But this is for wireless chips and I dont have a mac. Ok family of chip could apply to my PC.
https://wireless.wiki.kernel.org/en/use ... ers/ath10k
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Re: debian on external SSD drive - can I erase all the disc?

Postby MagicPoulp » 2020-03-02 05:27

Here is more precision.

The bios is updated. Secure boot is disabled. The debian installer is very recent (recent kernel).

When I boot on my usb on ssd drive, I get:

First a few errors beforeanthing shows up. several errors mentions ath10k, and some mention QCA9377. I searched on the internet, it says certain wirless usb adpaters need this firmware.

So far there is no journalctl redness.
Then after 40s the screen suddenly shows many journalctl red errors.
At the end, it says:

Code: Select all
usb 4-1 unable to read config index 0 descriptor/start -61
can't read configurations, error -61
usb 4-1 unable to read config index 0 descriptor/start -61
can't read configurations, error -61
timeout waiting for device Samsung_Portable_SSD_T5 6
[depend] dependency failed [...]



In rescue moode, I have a complete shell with internet and apt. So I can do many things.

What can I do?



for example, here, the QCA9377 is mentioned:
https://packages.debian.org/buster/firmware-atheros

Is it this firmware I should isntall or are there other ones like special firmwares for usb?

I found this one that does not hartm to install
firmware-linux-nonfree
firmware-atheros
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