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Re: Booting an old PC to SSD that the BIOS cannot see

From: Robert Furber
Subject: Re: Booting an old PC to SSD that the BIOS cannot see
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2021 10:32:40 -0800
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:78.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/78.5.0

On 2020-12-30 1:48 a.m., Chris Green wrote:
Hmmmmm.. It is an old (2012) PC with BIOS. To my knowledge, it is not aware
of UEFI and the BIOS is not aware of the PCIe NVMe SSD. However, after
booting, Gparted can see the NVMe SSD and I can copy files to it (after
partitioning and formatting).

It's the Linux kernel drivers that allow you to see the nvme disk.

Here's how my system like yours is partitioned:-

     Filesystem     Type 1M-blocks   Used  Avail Use% Mounted on
     /dev/nvme0n1p2 ext4     48174  11681  33978  26% /
     /dev/nvme0n1p3 ext4    896193 313911 536690  37% /home
     /dev/sdb1      ext4     10016    176   9313   2% /boot
     /dev/sdb2      ext4    109596  27675  76313  27% /scratch
     /dev/sda1      ext4    938772 220811 670252  25% /bak

Mine boots pretty fast, /dev/sdb is what *used* to be my system disk
and is a SATA SSD but my first pass at sorting this out had boot on a
spinning hard disk and while it is somewhat faster on the SATA SSD it
doesn't make a huge difference.  There's not much has to be read off
My sense is that a lot of the contortions you went through was to retain your old Xubuntu 19.04 HD so you could copy the contents its /home directory to the /home directory on your NVMe drive.

I took a lazier approach:

 * removed my old HDD and replaced it with a 120GB SATA SSD
 * installed my new 1TB NVMe SSD in the only PCIe slot on my old
 * installed the latest Ubuntu from a CD (the BIOS on my mobo cannot
   boot from USB)
     o partitioned and formatted /dev/sda for /boot
     o partitioned and formatted /dev/nvme0 for [swap], / and /home
     o ignored complaints and "failure to install" messages from
       installation s/w
     o rebooted and failed to instruct the BIOS to boot from the 120GB
       SATA SSD
 * despite this, PC booted as desired ..about 4 times faster than it
   did previously from HDD
 * connected my old HDD to the PC via an external SATA "toaster" drive
   (drive is popped in like bread in a toaster)
 * copied contents (including '.' or hidden folder/files) from its
   /home directory to the /home directory on /dev/nvme0

Now, I have a very fast PC.

By the way, I am curious as to why you put /scratch (swap?) on your SATA SSD and not on your NVMe SSD.


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