External root on SDD on RPi 3 with uMate 15.10.3

If you are concerned about the fragility of the uSD card (crashing, corrupting, etc.) it is easy to use an external HDD or SDD on the uMate installation by simply following the instructions provided by Adafruit for Raspbian, and the the link to a handy script to perform all the heavy lifting in the console. Of course, the usual caveat about the power supply and using a powered USB hub apply. See https://learn.adafruit.com/external-drive-as-raspberry-pi-root/hooking-up-the-drive-and-copying-slash I loaded the uMate image on a cat 4 8G drive and left the partitions at the install size and then, using the script, put root on a spare OCZ Onyx 30 G SSD I had laying around. Easy and works fast and seamlessly. Not sure it is faster than a cat 10 uSD but at least as good and no worries about corruption. The low SDD power requirements allow direct connection to the RPi USB connector.


Hi! So I noticed that adding a SWAP partition to the SSD improves the performance of ubuntu mate on the pi even more! Here’s how to do that:

Please do this before you rebooted your pi from setting up the root partition as above! Unless you have a Linux computer so that you can modify the partitions on your new root fs drive (hopefully it’s an SSD!)

Here are the steps:

  1. Download gparted
    sudo apt-get install gparted
  2. Run gparted on a terminal with ‘sudo parted’
  3. Make sure your new SSD is not mounted and select that drive using the top right options (usually /dev/sda).
  4. Press the resize button (third from the left).
  5. Resize your partition to however large you want your partition, I chose 2GB and it has worked well!. I did the resizing from the right, i.e shrinking the right side of root partition.
  6. Right click on the grey area that says unallocated and click ‘New’.
  7. Select the filesystem as ‘linux-swap’
  8. Make sure that it occupies all the space you allocated for the partition and press ‘Add’.
  9. Double check everything to make sure you did it correctly, and press the last button ‘Apply All Operations’.
  10. Once it’s done run a new terminal and run this:
    ‘blkid /dev/sdXY’
    Where X is the letter your drive is in, usually it’s ‘a’ and then Y is the number of your partition that your swap lives in. To find out this number look at gparted and your new swa partition may show was /dev/sda2.
  11. Copy the UUID for your swap partition.
  12. In terminal run ‘sudo nano /etc/fstab’
  13. Add a new line that says this:
    ‘UUID=YOUR_COPIED_UUID none swap 0 0’ A quick sanity check is to make sure this UUID doesn’t match the other one there, because that means you copied the UUID of your root partition!
  14. Save and exit!
  15. Reboot!
  16. Run System Monitor or htop and look under Swap, it should show something like 0/2047MB, which means everything worked! :slight_smile:

Hope this helps people :slight_smile: