I've been trying to install a few linux distros on a machine with hybrid strorage - /dev/sda is an HDD and /dev/sdb is an SSD , with /boot, /swap and /root on the SSD and /home possibly on the SDD or the HDD or as an LVM spanning both , all encrypted LVM ( except /boot of course) . The problem is the installers that come with the distros fails to install to the SDD and installs to the HDD with various degrees of success. These have failed:

parrotOS-1.4 and -1.6

debian wheezy 7.7 kde amd64

ubuntu 14.04.1 desktop amd64

ParrotOS actually installs to the HDD only plain , no encryption , no LVM , all other options fail.ParrotOS uses debian installer.

debian wheezy 7.7 installs on the SSD but the autoinstall gives bizarre swap sizes every time i try it's different size.The RAM is 4GB and it's supposed to have swap 2x the RAM , which I want expecting loads requiring lotsa memory and it gives me 1GB or less. Manual guided install fails.

Ubuntu fails to install GRUB to /dev/sda... no logs , no other indicators why.

Kubuntu-14.10-desktop-amd64 is the only one that has installed without a problem on the SSD.

Question: can I simply manually partition the SSD, cryptsetup it , setup LVM and then using a distro fully installed (not live ) on a USB drive ( which I'll boot to do all that ) simply copy that install to the SSD, change the entries in the fstab and crypttab and GRUB config, install GRUB to the /dev/sda , all without any use of chroot ? Or is there something else I'm missing?

  • All of those are based on Debian. Try something that isn't. Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 3:00
  • That's the whole point - I'm trying to install debian wheezy. I did the *buntus just for test to see if something is wrong with the SSD/computer or the distros.So, can I simply copy the install to a manually partitioned, crypted and LVM'd SSD?
    – hexedone
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 3:10
  • You can find the logs of why it failed in /var/log/syslog.
    – psusi
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 3:15
  • That's the first place i looked.No mention of anything relevant in there.
    – hexedone
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 3:17

1 Answer 1


There's not enough info in your question to figure out the cause of your strange installation failures, but yes, it's possible to install Debian on one drive and then manually move it over to another drive. I've done it a number of times.

You've already noted the potential pitfalls:

  • /etc/fstab may need to be updated. Using logical names (e.g. NAME=foobar or filesystem UUIDs instead of device file names) can avoid this.
  • Likewise, /etc/crypttab may need to be updated.
  • You'll have to install GRUB on the new drive.

Aside from that, you can basically just create and mount your new filesystems and cp -a everything into them.

You mentioned avoiding chroot, but it's not clear why. You probably won't need to, but it should work fine if you do need to. Just remember to bind-mount the various dynamic filesystems (/proc, /sys, /dev, maybe /run) into the new root filesystem before you chroot into it.)

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