Hot answers tagged system-installation
That should just work, if you tell Arch-Linux not to write the MBR. Linux Mint should see the new partition and write the new boot menu, replacing the Windows XP entry with Arch Linux. You can be more safe by first saving the boot record under Mint dd if=/dev/sda of=/boot/MBR.img bs=512 count=1
Linux Mint 15 (Olivia) is supported until January 2014. So you would want to upgrade some time before then to ensure you continue to receive security updates. If you do not want to upgrade regularly, you should look at the next LTS (long term support) release. The current one, 13 (Maya), is supported until April, 2017. According to Ubuntu's release ...
There are instructions here for installing to a USB stick - but try refering to the ones relating to the use on dd here. Note: Fedora 20 has been released TODAY (17/12/2013)- http://fedoraproject.org/en_GB/get-fedora - so you might want to use that instead.
If I understand correctly, the problem is that when booted, the USB drive may have various devices assigned to it, depending on the configuration of the computer - i.e. sometimes it can become /dev/sdb and sometimes e.g. /dev/sdd. For mounting anything that happens after udev has been started just use the symlinks in /dev/disk/by-* which can be made unique ...
Upgrading your system will make changes to your / and /boot partitions. Your /home will not be touched and your swap is irrelevant. If you want to make backups before upgrading, just backup / and /boot. Sharing the same /home between different versions (or even different distributions) is fine and should not cause any problems.
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