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How To Install Ubuntu on MicroSD

Ubuntu 8

In this guide, we will walk you through the process of installing Ubuntu on a MicroSD card. This can be particularly useful for running a portable version of Ubuntu on any compatible device. However, please note that running an operating system from a MicroSD card may be slower compared to running it from an internal drive.

Quick Answer

It is possible to install Ubuntu on a MicroSD card by formatting the card to FAT32, creating a bootable Ubuntu MicroSD using a tool like Rufus, and then installing Ubuntu on the MicroSD card. However, please note that running an operating system from a MicroSD card may be slower compared to running it from an internal drive.

Prerequisites

Before we start, ensure you have the following:

  • A MicroSD card (at least 8GB)
  • A computer with an internet connection
  • A MicroSD card reader
  • A copy of the Ubuntu ISO file. You can download it from the official Ubuntu website

Formatting the MicroSD Card

The first step is to format your MicroSD card. If you are using Windows, you can use a tool like guiformat or SD Card Formatter to format the card to FAT32. This file system is recommended for Ubuntu.

Creating a Bootable Ubuntu MicroSD

After formatting the MicroSD card, the next step is to create a bootable Ubuntu MicroSD. You can use a tool like Rufus for this.

  1. Open Rufus and select your MicroSD card in the Device dropdown.
  2. In the Boot selection dropdown, select Disk or ISO image and click on the SELECT button to browse and select your downloaded Ubuntu ISO file.
  3. In the Partition scheme section, select MBR, and in the File system dropdown, select FAT32.
  4. Finally, click on the START button to create your bootable Ubuntu MicroSD.

Installing Ubuntu on the MicroSD Card

Now that you have a bootable Ubuntu MicroSD, the next step is to install Ubuntu on it.

  1. Insert the MicroSD card into the device on which you want to install Ubuntu.
  2. Restart the device and enter the BIOS/UEFI. The key to enter this varies by device, but it’s usually F2, F12, DEL, or ESC.
  3. In the BIOS/UEFI, set the boot order to boot from the MicroSD card first.
  4. Save the changes and exit. The device should now boot from the MicroSD card.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to install Ubuntu. When asked for the installation type, select Something else.
  6. Find your MicroSD card in the list of devices (it’s usually /dev/sdb), select it, and click on New Partition Table.
  7. Create a new partition on the MicroSD card for Ubuntu. The size of the partition depends on the size of your MicroSD card, but it should be at least 8GB.
  8. Select the newly created partition, click on Change, select Ext4 journaling file system as the file system, and set the mount point to /.
  9. Click on Install Now to start the installation.

Conclusion

Congratulations, you have successfully installed Ubuntu on your MicroSD card! Now, you can run a portable version of Ubuntu on any compatible device. Remember, performance might be slower compared to running Ubuntu from an internal drive. Also, MicroSD cards are not designed for frequent read/write operations, so there is a possibility of faster wear and tear.

Can I install Ubuntu on any MicroSD card?

Yes, you can install Ubuntu on any compatible MicroSD card. However, it is recommended to use a MicroSD card with at least 8GB of storage capacity for optimal performance.

Can I use a different tool to format the MicroSD card?

Yes, you can use alternative tools to format the MicroSD card, such as Disk Management on Windows or Disk Utility on macOS. Just make sure to format it to the FAT32 file system.

Can I use a different tool to create a bootable Ubuntu MicroSD?

Yes, there are other tools available to create a bootable Ubuntu MicroSD, such as Etcher or UNetbootin. The steps may vary slightly, but the overall process is similar.

Can I install Ubuntu on the MicroSD card without restarting the device?

No, you need to restart the device and access the BIOS/UEFI to set the boot order. This is necessary to boot from the MicroSD card and initiate the Ubuntu installation process.

Can I dual-boot Ubuntu with another operating system on the MicroSD card?

Yes, it is possible to dual-boot Ubuntu with another operating system on the MicroSD card. During the installation process, you can choose the "Something else" option and manually create partitions for both operating systems.

Can I remove the MicroSD card after installing Ubuntu on it?

Yes, you can remove the MicroSD card after installing Ubuntu on it. However, keep in mind that you will not be able to boot into Ubuntu without the MicroSD card inserted.

Can I use the MicroSD card to transfer files between different devices?

Yes, you can use the MicroSD card to transfer files between different devices. It acts as a portable storage device, allowing you to access and transfer files on any device with a MicroSD card reader.

Can I update Ubuntu on the MicroSD card like a regular installation?

Yes, you can update Ubuntu on the MicroSD card just like you would with a regular installation. The process involves connecting the MicroSD card to a device with internet access and using the update manager or terminal commands to update the system.

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