Is moving qubes to an external drive possible?

I’ve been messing with vm-pools, and so far can’t see how to setup a vm-pool on an external SDD.

Is it even possible?

This page seems relevant.

@adw by the way isn’t that page obsolete?

While the current API is not as clean and beautiful as the R4 API,

I think this is the relevant docs for 4.1:

I couldn’t get it to work.

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secondary storage

I used that guide when I added an extra drive to my storage pool, but it wasn’t an external drive. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with an external drive, but if the drive got removed it would probably be very bad.

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Does this apply to 4.1 also or just 4.0?

I’ve used the guide in both 4.1 and 4.1.1

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Can I assume then, I always have to have the drive connected when booting?

Also, one quick question before giving it a shot:
The drive is going thru sys-usb.

Is this attaching the drive directly now to dom0? And if so, if cryptab doesn’t see the drive, is that going to brick my device?

(from doc ^^^)

sudo nano /etc/crypttab

And adding this line (change both “b209…” for your device’s UUID from blkid) to crypttab:

luks-b20975aa-8318-433d-8508-6c23982c6cde UUID=b20975aa-8318-433d-8508-6c23982c6cde none

I need the flexibility to remove the device.

I don’t think it works with sys-usb, and I don’t know what happens if you physically remove a device added to the storage pool.

I think the device needs to be accessible from /dev in dom0, I don’t think that’s an option if you also want to load the device into sys-usb. All the devices in my storage pool are directly attached to dom0.

If you unplug the drive while the system is running, you should expect some critical error, possibly a system crash. If you unplug the drive and try to boot the system, you are probably going to get some fstab issues, which normally would prevent you from booting the system.

You probably shouldn’t follow that guide if you want the option to remove the drive, I think once it’s added to the storage pool you can’t just remove it.


Thanks for saving me a few hours of testing.

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I haven’t check that guide - should do.
However, I use encrypted drives (internal and external) with additional
storage pools: no special set-up.
If I pull the system drive to a laptop, it boots just fine, and Qubes is
fully functional. If you try to start a qube with storage on a
non-present disk, then the qube errors, but the system is good.
My experience.

I never presume to speak for the Qubes team.
When I comment in the Forum or in the mailing lists I speak for myself.
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Did you have to add the external drive to /etc/cryptab?
And if you did, it still boots just fine with the drive not attached?

yes and yes, use “no fail” for the case where the drive is absent


Ok, that’s good to know, I wasn’t sure what would happen if the drive got removed.

Like so…?

luks-b20975aa-8318-433d-8508-6c23982c6cde UUID=b20975aa-8318-433d-8508-6c23982c6cde none,nofail

(not sure why they add the none tag in this context?)

man crypttab

I have no idea. Is it? I don’t really know anything about storage pools.

It is

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I don’t know if I’m missing something, but following the guide closely, I still get a “device not found” error, when trying to create the logical volumes for the storage pool. For some reason I just can’t get Qubes to recognize the attached drive, no matter what entries I put in crypttab?