Reinstall Mint 18?

Discussion in 'Linux OS and Software Assistance' started by BikeNut, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. BikeNut


    Sep 21, 2011
    I have a SSD with Mint 18 installed on it and a HDD with with a old version of Mint. My question is does it matter that the SSD is labeled sdb and the HDD is labeled sda? From what I have been reading the SSD should be labeled sda because it is the primary drive and the HDD should be sdb meaning slave. Can I change the label in the disk utility or do I have to reinstall Mint? Also do I need a UEFI partition and should the home partition be NTFS instead ext4? Sorry for all the questions and thanks for the help.
  2. kilgoretrout


    Apr 22, 2003
    It really doesn't matter. The "labeling" , as you refer to it, may be a function of where it is installed on the sata bus, where the main bootloader is installed, the type of bios/uefi you have, the kernel you're running and probably several other things. For example, I had one motherboard where the last installed hard drive would always be given the device file sda in most linux distros. Every time I installed on new hard drive on the board every other drive would be demoted and the new drive would get sda. In the old days with older linux kernels, the device file designation used to be determined by where the drive was on the IDE bus. With the advent of sata, the device file designations became a lot more variable and could change by events occurring after you installed your distro.

    As a result, the configuration files used in linux that need to designate hard drive locations generally stopped using the device file(sda, sdb, etc) which could change after you installed your distro and started using UUID which uniquely identifies each hard drive and its partitions with a 128bit hexadecimal number. That number will be the same even if you move the drive around or if the device file for the drive changes for any other reason. You will see this in your /etc/fstab file which configures how all your hard drives are mounted and also in the grub configuration files. They are generally configured to use UUID instead of the device file in most modern linux distros. As a result, it really doesn't matter how the kernel, interacting with the bios/uefi, doles out the device file names to the hard drives on the system.

    Don' use NTFS on your home partition; use ext4 of any other supported linux file system. If you installed Mint with your UEFI set in compatibility mode, you don't need a UEFI partition. If you installed Mint with UEFI set in UEFI mode, the Mint installer will automatically create the necessary partitions unless you manually override it.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017