"hd" stands for "hard drive" in case anyone didn't realize that already
On Tue, Nov 28, 2017 at 6:00 AM, Michael Paoli <Michael.Paoli@cal.berkeley.edu
> Yes, I'd considered possibly creating and *using* swap on
> the target install drive *while* doing the installation.
> That does have some key advantages, notably there's generally ample
> space there, and generally faster and more reliable than USB flash,
> less write wear on the USB flash, etc.
In addition to using a liveUSB flashdisk a) to initially check a hard-drive for surface integrity before full hd-installation and b) to test-out that good hd's swap partition for speedier full hd-installation, I consider at least these three real-life cases for initially using a liveUSB flashdisk:
1. You want/need to backup the pre-existing *data only* on the hd on any and/or all given partitions before Linux hd-installation, whether that's from a pre-existing Windows installation or from a pre-existing Linux installation.
The extra required steps here are performing the mounting of hd partitions where the data resides, selecting all folders and files that are to be saved, and then performing the actual backup onto external media (DVD, USB, tape, ...etc.)
2. You want/need to keep around and test the actual pre-existing installed OS('s) before Linux hd-installation/hd-reinstallation, whether of Windows or of another Linux distro.
This case comes up fairly frequently, and is usually the most complicated case.
It requires that you a) test each OS to see if that OS boots correctly (or at all), b) backup data and possibly re-adjust configuration-type files for that OS-to-be-saved, c) sometimes perform a badblocks-equivalent within that booted-up OS itself (e.g.,running Windows' "scandisk" and "filesystem check" utilities), and then d) perform some sort of partitioning utility to resize the partitions of pre-existing installed OS('s). In prepping a hd that has a pre-existing OS-to-be-saved before a Linux hd-install, I usually and effectively use the liveUSB flashdisk's 'gparted' utility for such repartitioning.
3. You want/need *neither* the data *nor* the pre-existing OS on that hd before performing the full Linux hd-install.
This is usually the simplest case, because fewer extra steps are required using the USB flashdisk to prep that hd for a full hd-Linux install. A simple wipe/shred/zeroing-whatever, then repartitioning (fdisk, gedit, ...) and then badblocks-checking may be all that's really necessary.
On Tue, Nov 28, 2017 at 6:00 AM, Michael Paoli <Michael.Paoli@cal.berkeley.edu> wrote:
> ... badblocks. If one is going to use badblocks or equivalent, I'd
> generally recommend using it *before* formatting (e.g. before mkswap).
> Actually, what I often like to do - particularly on larger drives,
> and when not in any great rush (probably more on this later, but ...):
That's one of the major drawbacks with performing disk integrity checks using badblocks on each individual online, non-RAIDed/non-md'd hd .
Even for Windows' "scandisk" and "filesystem check" utilities, it takes an awful-long time to finish a complete scan of each 1 TB+ hd.
It really comes down to an assessment of whether you can trust that the hd is and will be sufficiently around for awhile after hd-Linux installation as well as around for storing your data, without undergoing eventual disk read errors/hd-crash and/or showing up in BIOS S.M.A.R.T. utilities as the scary-sounding "impending disk failure".
If you use that liveUSB flashdisk to perform a badblocks surface integrity check on the first several GBs of that hd +and+ badblocks shows bad sectors near the start of that hd, then you can replace that defective hd *ASAP* rather than later.
Considering this and the rest of what I've written above, I think it's best to perform most if not all prep steps for that Linux hd-install *specifically* using a rescue-type liveUSB flashdisk *beforehand* (ahem ahem KNOPPIX!), rather than relying upon the Linux distro-of-choice installation USB to "assist" you with these prepping steps :-)