Home Away From Home: Portable M.2 SSD and more storage

I’ve always been fascinated with the portable OS’s and Linux.

I started out with Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn, fascinated by something that wasn’t Windows or Mac. I had gotten a free Live CD from Free Geek, a local IT recycler/thrift store. Shortly afterwards, I scrounged an old Quantum Bigfoot drive, a whopping 8GB, to have a permanent install.

But I digress. I’ve been playing with Linux for a while, and always wished I could take it with me, and use it on any machine I came by. Since I didn’t have my own machine till later in life, this was a big deal for me. Thus my foray into Bootable Linux.

Many years later, Im lucky enough to work at a place where I can casually have a 250GB M.2 SSD hanging around to use as my portable playpen. I’ve always struggled with how best to set up my flash drive for the best compatibility and usability. My current configuration seems to work the best:

UEFI Ubuntu Budgie 17.04: installed directly to SSD, total size of Linux under 50GB
Storage Partition: 140GB NTFS for my day-to-day work activities
Vault partition: Bitlocker’ed 40GB vault for sensitive work files and personal info.

all this is encased in a Startech m.2 enclosure. It’s not the smallest, but its a sturdy unit that fits in your hand.


We have a GPO write lock on all unencrypted flash drives at work, so the Vault helps me move things around when I need to work on a users machine as well. Thankfully and my machines and I are exempt from that policy (IT privilege yay), so I can access my bulk storage with impunity.

Either way, I’ve found this is the best balance between functionality and ease of maintenance. Installing Ubuntu directly to the flash drive really simplifies things, since you don’t have to deal with any of the Multiboot software. The only issue you will run into are machines that dont have “UEFI Hybrid with CSM” enabled in the BIOS. This is a simple change, and I believe most consumer laptops shouldnt have an issue booting the flash drive.

Also, speaking of free storage, look what I nabbed:


A project (or ant hill at this point) I kicked off the other week landed me with a bunch of Drobo units and about 20TB of HDDs to sort through. I’ve taken this unit and am using it as a VERY slow backup storage unit. More details in another post later.

A sneak peek of said project:


P.S: Make sure to check out Budgie desktop and Solus. Budgie is the desktop manager for Solus, and it’s incredibly slick. I’ve fallen in love with it. Until Solus gets their feet under them, I’ll be using Ubuntu Budgie for now. Its based off of GNOME GTK+, so it integrates great with Ubuntu.

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