Installing Programs to a Different Disk


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Jun 19, 2022
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Hello everyone. I've dipped my toes in Linux occasionally for the past few years, though I've been a Windows power-user for the vast majority of my time working with computers. I'm heavily considering switching to Linux as my daily driver, though I want to get an idea of how to do the things I find particularly easy in Windows on Linux before I switch.

On Windows, it's very simple to install the entire OS to a single drive and reserve the other drive for only specific programs. For example, on almost all of my recent Windows installations, I've had this basic setup:
  • a 1TB NVMe C:\ drive that I install Windows, documents, pictures, videos, and some programs that I want to benefit the most from an NVMe
  • a 2TB SATA SSD D:\ drive that I install almost all other programs and files; music, games, overflow files that I won't be using much, etc.
From my past experience with Linux, I know that the file system compared to Windows is very different, though I'll admit my knowledge isn't that great.

My question is three-fold:
  1. assuming I'm using a Debian/Ubuntu-based distribution, is a system similar to this feasible in Linux?
  2. if so, how difficult would it be?
  3. how would I go about doing so?
If this post belongs in a different category or there's an existing thread, please direct me to it!
I appreciate any and all feedback, whether it's to help or just call me an idiot. :D
Last edited:

yeah you can do that ; basically you choose the drive you want to install to ; some auto install might (probably ) pick up the other drive and ask and ask if you want to have it mounted. You can manually use one drive as your /home

But putting it in a simple context , I have an SSD internal drive and I have a 1TB external drive which because I was tight on money went for the old spinning disk.

So what defines them how they are used ? Well the internal is set up to run the OS with appropriate partitions and a boot loader ; the fstab file holds data eg
[andrew@darkstar:~]$ cat /etc/fstab                                       (06-19 21:29)
# Static information about the filesystems.
# See fstab(5) for details.

# <file system> <dir> <type> <options> <dump> <pass>
# /dev/sda4
UUID=38b6759b-fc65-4606-9414-c1d17bcdc3c4	/         	ext4      	rw,relatime	0 0

# /dev/sda1
UUID=DF65-F6C9      	/boot     	vfat      	rw,relatime,fmask=0022,dmask=0022,codepage=437,iocharset=ascii,shortname=mixed,utf8,errors=remount-ro	0 2

# /dev/sda2
UUID=d66959cd-eb93-4ff2-89d2-90c7ea54a6d8	none      	swap      	defaults  	0 0


The simple succinct answer is that install set things up so after the code that runs on firmware , control is handed over to a bootloader eg grub, lilo etc and the bootloader hands over the main OS . viola

Does that kinda make sense ? With Windows you don't see what happens until the Tele Tubbies Desktop shows, i prefer to see output but you can tweak so that you go straight to a graphical login.

Old style boot first data was held on the master boot record (MBR) now there is UEFI where data can be foind on a partiton efi ,which funny enough is FAT32

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