How to install Linux on an SSD

Types of SSDs

If you remember a few years ago, when they began to be marketed the first SATA hard drives and the operating systems did not include drivers or drivers for this type of interface, installing the operating system on one of these hard drives was even more complicated than on IDE or PATA hard drives. In those cases, when the system was installed, an additional driver needed to be loaded onto a floppy disk or external media for the installation system to recognize the hard disk on which the OS would be installed.

The same was true for SCSI hard drives, although these were somewhat more unpopular in home computers long ago, as they were somewhat more expensive. In that case, the same procedure was followed, adding additional drivers. All of this changed when operating systems began to natively include SATA controllers as they did IDE / PATA and no extra steps had to be done.

But now, we have experienced a similar problem when installing the new solid state hard drives or SSD in operating systems. I am not talking about those SSD hard drives with a SATA interface, in which case there is no problem if we are using current SSOOs. On the other hand, if we use a somewhat more "exotic" interface that is not natively supported at the moment, we will have to add this type of additional drivers when installing the operating system on our computer, or else it will not recognize the storage medium.

Well, if you want to know how to proceed to install your favorite GNU / Linux distro In all these types of solid state hard drives with different interfaces, here we show you everything you need to know, since it is an issue that is beginning to worry and will do so even more when little by little this type of hard drives begin to spread by the market. However, I have to avoid generating an alarm, since these drivers will be implemented natively in the new versions ...

What do I need to know beforehand?

Keep in mind that in this guide, I present the procedure that would be valid for most of the cases when the distribution is somewhat older and don't implement the required driver type for this type of hard drives or memories. But you should know that in the new versions, there should be no major problem with it and you could install without too much trouble ...

I recommend that you first try by the normal procedure, and in case you have problems, then carry out the following procedures as appropriate ... If you have not yet bought the hard drive, here is a selection of the best SSD so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

In the case of Windows installations, it does seem that in some cases the drivers have to be loaded from some removable medium from the installer, when the partitions are going to be made, since in some cases the hard disk might not be detected (bear Note that if you have a Windows 10 installation DVD, it will not be updated ...). But on Linux, as drivers are being implemented with new kernel releases, this is not necessary. Therefore, on Linux I have focused more on the procedure, that is, What are we doing wrong so that it doesn't work if it should work?

Install GNU / Linux on Intel Optane:

intel octane

Intel Optane basically it accelerates your SSD, although it can also be used as a storage medium and this duality is the one that can present a problem, depending on what we want to use in Linux ... That is, in the first case it would be a buffer that is installed on the computer between the main SSD or HDD and the main memory. This allows the necessary data to be loaded into this buffer and can be accessed much faster. With this I make it clear that our distro, in principle, we will not have to install it on Intel Octant, but on the storage medium we have, either SATA, or one of the following that we show in the next sections.

In other words, Optane would be a kind of memory DRAM, like the main one or RAM, only that it is not volatile, allowing information to be saved permanently without being erased in case of stopping supplying said memory as it happens with RAM. But unfortunately it is not transparent when installing the operating system and we may run into problems when trying to install our distro independently or in dualboot with Windows ...

For everything to work properly, you must have the driver for Intel Optane and also a recent kernel that supports Intel Rapid Storage Technology or Intel RST. Therefore, there would be no problem and you would proceed as normal. Now, this is not completely ready yet and the current drivers are not yet too refined and do not reach all distros, since at first it was only compatible with Windows. So if you have a distro that does not support it yet and in case you find yourself preparing a new installation and that for this reason it does not work properly, you can disable Intel Optane in your BIOS / UEFI. For it:

  1. Access BIOS / UEFI (usually by pressing the Delete key at startup, or other keys like F2, F3, ... depending on the brand)
  2. Look in the menu tabs for the AHCI and Intel RST option
  3. Disable Intel RST / Optane and changes to AHCI.
  4. Once you do, press F10 and save the changes before exiting, or scroll to the Save & Exit tab and save and exit the menu from there.
  5. Now the machine restarts again with this configuration, and in case of being one of those primitive distros that did not let you detect hard drive Because of Optane, now it will detect it.

Currently, it can be used with the format ZFSbut I suppose this will change over time… Please note that Intel Optane is not a technology for the masses, but more for business use. So you may not be too concerned about it.

In case you are trying to position any partition Specify as / boot in Intel Octane and it does not work, although in principle your distro supports it, see the manual of your motherboard. There are some that have several slots for this type of SSD but they can only boot from one. Check that it is in the proper slot that your motherboard allows to use as a boot medium. Another option is to position / boot on another hard drive and on the SSD position / home or whatever you want. And even use LVM if you don't have enough space to extend its capabilities beyond ... 

In this way, we should not have problems absolutely. By the way, little by little Optane are reaching beyond Windows, and the distros will be compatible. You already know that SUSE has been one of the first to announce its support for an agreement with Intel for SLES, and you already know that these types of drivers are also part of the kernel, so nothing prevents them from being used in others ...

Install GNU / Linux on M.2 SSD:


Install your Linux distribution on a SSD M.2 It is somewhat less problematic than in an Optane, since in this case it is a memory that has become more popular for PCs of all kinds, including those we use at home. This type of hard drive is identical to a SATA SSD, only the interface or connection technology used varies, and therefore the data transfer speed and performance.

Remember that M.2 is a form factor, and these hard drives can be both SATA and NVMe. In the case of being SATA, there should be no greater problem than a normal HDD or SSD, but if they are NVMe they could present some problems.

However, some users have encountered black screens or problems when booting from an M.2 SSD when they have hosted the / boot partition or the bootloader on this type of storage device. To solve them, you can read these steps:

1-Assuming you are doing it in UEFI mode:

In case you are installing the system in UEFI MODE, and not with a primitive or Legacy BIOS, you can try the following:

  1. Check that you are partitioning properly, like those 100 MiB for UEFI partition in FAT format and that you have a proper mount point. You can use the installer's own partitioning system or GParted for this. Remember that the UEFI partition it must be the first one.
  2. Si tu kernel is current and step one is OK, you should have no problem operating an M.2.

2-Assuming you are doing it in BIOS or Legacy (CSM):

In the case that you have a BIOS or a UEFI but you are in Legacy Mode or CSM, then you must:
  1. Create a partition of about 1024 KiB at the beginning of your hard drive and mark it as BIOS Boot Partition. You can use different tools for this, as I have already mentioned, such as cgdisk, or those mentioned above.
  2. Proceed normally with all other operations and should work properly if the kernel has the proper support drivers. By the way, if it is a new device that you add to the system or you already had GRUB installed, you will need to reinstall it.

If none of that worked and you still have problems, go to the section on NVMe...

Install GNU / Linux on PCI Express SSD:


WD PCI-Express SSD

You should be able to boot or install the system on a hard drive PCIe SSD No problem. But in case you run into any inconvenience, you can try this:

  • Make sure that you BIOS / UEFI (firmware) accepts booting for these types of drives. Unfortunately not all of them do, although if they are modern they must bear it.
  • Check if the system is booting (or trying) directly from another SATA hard disk present in the system instead of with the PCIe disk. In such a case, it may be just a matter of moving the priority boot in the BOOT menu of your BIOS / UEFI so that it takes the PCIe first ...
  • Update GRUB also with the command sudo group-update.
  • Try using another FS or file system, as some SSD firmware does not usually support ext4 properly. Try another or read your SSD manual to find out what formats it supports.

Install GNU / Linux on NVMe SSD:

Samsung 970 EVO NMVE

In the case of NVMe, It would be something very similar to what I said in section M.2, but if none of that worked for you and you still have problems, although we should not if they are modern distros, you can also follow these other additional steps. To solve those problems:

  1. Check that your BIOS / UEFI is using the RAID configuration instead of AHCI with the option of Secure Boot disabled. Some options like Quick Boot may also conflict… Exit and save changes.
  2. With the installation media ready, start the installation normal. I repeat, this assuming that your kernel supports this type of technology and it is not an older distro ...
  3. In other cases, it also appears that certain users have had to activate an option in GRUB. Within the configuration of this one, in the line where this appears they have added the option nvme_load = YES and nvd_load = YES, and then they have updated GRUB. As for the configuration line, it should look similar to:
    GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT = »quiet splash nvme_load = YES nvd_load = YES»

With these small adjustments it should work and not cause problems. If you use any SSD of this type, you can install the EFI partition, / boot, / SWAP, and / on the SSD and / home on a storage medium such as an HDD or other SSD of lower speed that you have in the computer ... By the way , you know that this type of disc appears as / dev / nvme (nvme0n1, nvme0n1p1, ...) on the system, and not like the typical / dev / sda or / dev / sdb, etc.

Generic solution:

Linux Kernel 4.19

I insist again that if we use a popular distribution, with a fairly updated kernel and we have the appropriate drivers, an SSD of whatever type should not be a problem for Linux. So, the best option to fight with these types of problems is to try to install the most current version of your favorite distro. If your computer has an SSD it means that it should be a fairly current computer, so there is not much reason to use an older distro ...

I hope it has been helpful for you. Do not forget to leave your comments...

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  1.   Gregory edmond said

    Good article.

    Only instead of "sudo grup updade" it is "sudo update-grub".

  2.   eee said

    There are no "SSD hard drives". If it is an SSD then it is NOT a disk, it does not have a disk inside as "hard disks" do.

  3.   RADEL said

    Greetings to all the users, internet users and linuxers of this great website, I hereby urge you to please kindly help me how to configure the BIOS of a 4 GHZ Lenovo Pentium 3.2 PC with 2 GB of RAM, to a 500GB Kingston UV480 SSD.

    Thank you in advance for your kind attention, help and prompt response.

  4.   RADEL said

    Greetings to all users, Internet users and Linux users again, please repeat my request to configure the bios of my PC Lenovo Penitum IV 3.0 Ghz with 2GB RAM to which I want to install a 480GB SSD Disk and Install Window 10 of 32 Bits and Fedora LXDE x86 x64.

    I thank you again for your kind attention, help and prompt responses.

  5.   joe said

    I without knowing or dad about RST install fedora without any problem. As Fedora did not work for me for the sound things that I wanted to do, I tried to install Linux Mint, and at the beginning of the installation I got a screen telling me that it could not be installed
    The solutions of the "connoisseurs" that I have read are to disable the RST and reinstall windows, which amounts to something like "you have infected a nail, cut your finger"
    If Linux is already a huge factory of problems, now another is added
    LOL, thanks