lördag 23 november 2013

Install Fedora 20 on your small SSD and get a super-speed Toshiba

Some Toshiba's are equipped with a small SSD device alongside a traditional HDD.
F.ex some U840 and U940 has a 32GB SSD which from factory is used as a fast Hibernation storage.
The storage setup is backed by a software RAID solution which WILL be tricky to get back once deleted (as mentioned further down in this post).

If you want SSD performance running Fedora (or any other Linux distro) on this kind of notebook, following the guide you will have a lot of speed for no additional money and still have access to a big storage for your personal files.

By following this guide you are assuming responsibility of the consequences.
This guide will not allow dual-boot with Windows or any other OS.
It may be possible to tweak my steps to allow for this, but that is not my intention in this post. 
If you have any data on your PC which you want to keep, back it up and then come back when data is backed up safely.
If you want to be able to come back to Windows later on, please create recovery media using the preinstalled Toshiba Recovery media creator.

The way I set my unit up is that I use the 32GB SSD for the OS and swap and the HDD for my personal files.
Why this combination? Well, I figure that most storage intensive actions are system related and less storage access is done among personal files.
In such a case, a small but sufficient SSD will provide more than enough space for the OS + swap and still boost the performance of the unit considerably.

The steps are these:

1) Boot the unit on a live media and remove the RAID setup. This is necessary to be able to access the storage devices as separate units.
2) Partition the storages so that the OS gets installed on the SSD and the HDD is used as my home space containing all my personal data-files.
3) Install the OS
4) Change boot order of the devices in UEFI (BIOS).

What you need:

- a PC with 1 SSD and 1 HDD installed.
- a Fedora 20 (or other Linux distro) live media.
- know how to make your PC boot from the USB stick
- general  knowledge of using / installing Fedora since I won't go into detail on things outside the scope of the setup on SSD / HDD.

So let's get started.
Insert the USB stick in the PC and boot it up from it.

Once booted, you should be greeted with the below screen.

Close the welcome window and click on activities (up in the left corner) or press the Super key (normally the one with the Windows flag on it).
This will bring up the search field as seen below.

Type disks and wait for the disks application to be found.
Then click on it.

Now we're going to remove the RAID configuration.
Please be warned - once the RAID is removed, it will be very difficult to get it back if you would want that. It may possibly end up in a need for help from an ASP which will cost money.

Below is the disks application showing my disk setup.
There is a bug in this app which make my live USB stick show up as one additional 32GB SSD. Don't mind that.

My unit has 2 storage devices - 1 pcs 320GB HDD and 1 pcs 32 GB SSD.
Just below those 2, you'll see the RAID array's that we need to remove.

Click on one of the RAID array's and then the cogwheel-faced button on the right side as my picture shows. Click on RAID disks...

Now click the minus button highlighted below to remove the RAID array.

Confirm the action...

Repeat the steps above for the other RAID array too.

 Now we're done here. Close the disks application and press the Super-key again (or click the Activities area in the upper left corner).
The quick-launch panel on the left side below holds a link to the Fedora-installer.
Click it.

You are now in the installer. Select any language you like and click Continue.

Since this is a pre-release of Fedora, we'll get the usual warning here.
If you want to go on, click I accept my fate.

I won't go into the sections Date & time, Keyboard and Network configuration since they're out of the scope of this post.
Instead, I'll look at the Installation destination.
Go ahead and click on that section and we'll set up Fedora on the SSD.

Ok, so we're in the place where we tell the installer which storage devices we want to install to. Make sure to mark both the HDD and the SSD as shown in the picture below.

Once both devices are checked, click the little link in the bottom of the above screen: "Full disk summary and bootloader... "

The below popup will appear. This step is a bit important.
We're telling the installer which device we want to boot from.
Since we are looking to boot from SSD, make sure to mark it.
A hint here is to check the size (if the names do not help).
One more thing which is also important, look at and make a note of the device-names that the kernel has given them. In the picture, the HDD is called "sda" and the SSD is called "sdb".
This will be important information later on.
When done, click close.

When done with the above, the popup below appears.
You need to tell the partitioner that you want to set up the partitions manually...

...so mark that option.

I like to use standard partitioning. You may choose what you like here.

Now we're going to set up the partitions.
Below is the partitioning interface and it tells us the total available storage to be used on the low left-hand side. As you can see, it's the sum of the internal HDD and the SSD.
Click on the + sign to add a new mountpoint (create a partition)

I want one partition for the /boot mount point....

...allocate 500MB for it. That should be enough....

....verify that it gets created on sdb. Remember a few pictures up, I checked which storage device have which name. In my example, the SSD has the name sdb.
The first partition get the name sdb1.

Add a second mount point: swap....

I use to give ut 4GB space. I realize that this is subject for endless discussions....

Verify that the swap space is on the SSD too. In this example, it gets partition name sdb2.

The final partition I will make on the SSD is the root partition /
It is a bit tricky to calculate how much storage space to give the root partition.
If I give it too much, it will automatically be moved to the next storage which provides enough space - that's the HDD. And we do not want that.
So it may need some trial-and-error before you find your perfect fit. I gave it 25.9GB of space which seems to fill the SSD up almost completely and it is a huge amount of space for a Linux distro.

Ok. We're almost there. All necessary partitons on the SSD set up.

Finally, we need to add a /home partition which is the place for your personal files.
Look at the amount of space available (magenta square lower left corner).

Give the /home mount point that space (or just almost) to allocate the whole HDD to your home partition.

Partitions set up! Great! Verify that the /home is located on sda1 and the others on sdb1, sdb2 and sdb3. If ready, click Done

Final confirmation shown. Press Accept changes.

We're back to the main install screen. Locate and click the Begin installation button in the lower right corner.

Installation begins and you'll need to set a root password and setup a user.

 When done with the above and the installation is finished, press Quit.

Your now done with the partitioning and installation.
One task remains - change the boot priority to have the SSD as the primary boot device.

Reboot the unit and press F2 a few times when you see the Toshiba logo to enter the UEFI (BIOS).
 In the UEFI - navigate to the Boot section by using the right arrow key.
A picture similar to the one below will be shown.

What is seen here are the devices the unit will walk through when booting up.
The HDD is normally set as number 1.
We want to change this to have the SSD to be number 1.

Use the Down arrow key to highlight the SSD and then use F6 to promote it (move it up in priority).

The SSD is the primary boot device and we can now exit by pressing F10 and accepting to exit and save.

Your Toshiba PC should now boot up on the SSD and you'll have a PC on steriods!

1 kommentar:

  1. Great guide men!! really thank you! Greets from Costa Rica!


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