How to move Ubuntu to an SSD

My current situation is:

  • One hard disk
  • Dual boot Ubuntu 11.04 and Windows 7. Partitions:
    • 100MB Windows System thingy
    • 144GB Main Windows
    • 160GB Ubuntu
    • 4GB Swap
    • 12GB System Restore stuff

Now I want to install an 80GB SSD and move Ubuntu to it. AFAIK I need to:

  • Shrink the 160GB Ubuntu partition to 80GB
  • Copy it over to the SSD
  • Change fstab to mount the SSD as /

How do I do the second? And what do I need to do about Grub?

Answers 4

  • 1) Copying files

    You want to copy the FILES, not the whole partition ( including its free space ), so you don't need to resize the partition first. Boot from the livecd and mount both the HD and SSD ( after formatting a partition on the SSD of course ), then copy all of the files over:

    sudo cp -Tax /media/hd /media/ssd

    Use the correct names for the hd and ssd mount points of course. Then you just need to edit the /etc/fstab on the ssd to point to the new fs UUID ( you can look it up with blkid ). Finally you need to install grub on the ssd.

    2) Dealing with GRUB

    a) Command line:

    sudo -s
    for f in sys dev proc ; do mount --bind /$f /media/ssd/$f ; done
    chroot /media/ssd
    grub-install /dev/ssd

    Of course, use the correct device for /dev/ssd. The whole disk, not a partition number.

    b) "Recommended repair" magic button in Boot-Repair:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && boot-repair

    enter image description here

    Finally reboot and make sure your bios is set to boot from the SSD.

  • I was able to do this migration successfully thanks to @psusi's instructions, however I observed one "gotcha."

    After installing Grub on the new SSD, it still wouldn't boot - it was looking for the ramdisk image using the UUID of my old OS drive, which I had removed. Using the --recheck option fixed this:

    $ grub-install --recheck /dev/ssd

    This encourages grub to re-scan the BIOS, identify the new drive, and presumably use its UUID when passing the "root=" parameter to the kernel.

  • Here is as good (for 2018) as easy how-to from 2013: by Markus Sesser.

    It describes migration without booting from live CD. It also respects system dirs and uses rsync, noatime, nodiratime. Just do not forget to omit discard option - it is implemented via cron since Ubuntu 14.04.

    Short plan from article:

    1. partition and mount the SSD. I recommend single ext4 on gpt

    2. cleanup source HDD

    3. sync data (rsync)

    4. tune fstab. Also if you will keep HDD in system then I recommend move /home onto SSD while keep user data (~/Video, ~/Audio, etc.) on HDD

    5. install grub

  • Considering your HDD is /dev/sda and SSD is /dev/sdb and partitions are properly sized, you may use simple cp:

    cp /dev/sdaX /dev/sdbY

    Where X and Y are corresponding partition numbers.

    However this method will copy 80GB of data and all sectors on your SSD will be marked as "occupied" initially.

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