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How to install Ubuntu 16.10 in external HDD

Installing Ubuntu 16.10 (or other older versions) in an external HDD is a very simple and fast operation. There could be a lot of reasons for doing this and I’m going to show you how can you make it.

You will need these things before starting:

  1. Your favorite Ubuntu release (For example you can download Ubuntu 16.10)
  2. An USB Flash Drive or a CD ROM
  3. An external HDD (connected, for example, by SATA/USB 2.0 or 3.0)


1. Download Ubuntu

Attention: If you have UEFI instead of BIOS, your Ubuntu release has to be 64bit instead of 32bit.

The first step consists in downloading your favorite Ubuntu release, the newest one is the 16.10, but maybe you can be interested in older releases like me. For example I choosed the 14.05 LTS.

LTS means Long Term Support and a release with this name means that it will be supported for 5 years.

Once you have your .iso image, your’re ready to go to step 2!


2. Create a Bootable USB Flash Drive or CD ROM

This step can be done it two ways, choose the way you prefer, they are equal.

Using an USB Flash Drive:

In order to create a Bootable USB Flash Drive, you need a Software that does it. I suggest everytime a tiny and small program named “Rufus“. You can download it here.

Rufus doesn’t need any installation, in fact it is a portable software, so once you have downloaded it, you can simply open it by double clicking on his icon.

Now insert your USB Stick in your computer and you will notice that Rufus recognizes it. You have to do only a simple change, that is, under “Format Options” click on “FreeDOS” and select “ISO image”. Then click on the little icon on the right and select your Ubuntu iso image.

Simple right? You can now click “Start” and Rufus will make your USB Bootable.

P.S: All the files in the USB will be deleted.

Using a CD ROM:

If your computer has a CD or DVD Writer you can create a CD with the Ubuntu .iso image inside. All you have to do is to insert the CD and write the .iso image on it. Done. This is the quickest way 🙂


3. Connect your external HDD

For this operation I used the HDD of my old broken laptot. I extract it and I bought from Amazon a simple kit that allows you to connect a Sata HDD to your Computer by using a USB 3.0 cable. This kind of kits costs around 10$, they are very cheap and useful.

But you can use all the external HDD you wants, I don’t care 😛

If your HDD has only one partition, I suggest to create another smaller one. For example, my HDD E: had 300GB of memory space, so I created another partition and this was the final result:

E: (250GB)

U: (50GB)

In this way you can maintain all the files you want in E and use U: only for the Ubuntu settings. This way of doing this is more reliable and more secure.

Now you’re ready to go to the fourth and last step.

4. Install Ubuntu in your external HDD

Plug your USB Flash Drive or CD ROM, plug your external HDD, and restart your computer.

Go to the BIOS (or UEFI) by clicking the specific key on the keyboard (For HP computers is “ESC” key).

Attention: Maybe if you have UEFI you wil have the Secure Boot enabled. To disable it you have to go to the UEFI and in Boot Options you have to disable the Secure Boot.

In Boot Options select that you want to boot your machine with the USB or CD.

In this way your computer would not start Windows but it wil start the Ubuntu installation.

At a certain point you will have to choose where do you want to install the new OS and these are the options:

  • Delete Windows and install Ubuntu
  • Install Ubuntu near Windows (by using a dual boot)
  • Other

You have to click on Other. Now you will see a Disk Management page, don’t worry, even this operation is simple 🙂

Find your external HDD partition, double click on it, and choose “ext 2” as format type. In this little windows you have also to select “/” for the boot option.

Now you have configured the external HDD partition, you only need to do another little thing, in this main page, below, there is a field for the “Boot location”. Click on this menu and select again your external partition.

Now continue, maybe the installation software will ask you about the Swap Space, don’t worry about it, if you don’t know what is it you can simply skip it and continue with your installation.


Congratulations! 🙂

Now you will Ubuntu in your external HDD and everytime you want to use it, you can simply plug your external Hard Disk and start your computer by using it.

For any comments, question or suggestion, comments below! I hope you found it usefull, see ya 🙂