Downgrading from SSD to HD

Ubuntu beginner; have 18.04 installed. Is it possible to just turn off the pc, unplug the SSD, replace with HD, and install from a live usb. I plan on using my SSD in a newer build.

Yep that pretty much sums it up on how to go about.
Just backup your important files first, or copy over them from the SSD afterwards.


Could you copy the SSD partitions to the HDD using dd? Then you’d have everything on the HDD without starting over. Or Clonezilla or some other tool?

If you didn’t have anything to keep, you can definitely do that. If you want to keep he drive exactly like you had it ( copy ssd to hdd ) there are steps to do that as well. If you need help please post.

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Of course! Not disputing. Just offering alternate approaches.

What are your concerns?

Throw the HDD in along with the SSD and boot up the system.

Then lsblk to list block devices and figure out which is which. Likely /dev/sda is the SSD and /dev/sdb will be the HDD.

Now use dd to copy the entire SSD to the HDD.
dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb status=progress

When it’s done turn off the system, take out the SSD and boot up the system again. Voila! Everything is as before except the OS is now on the HDD and there’s no SSD in the system.

OP Might want to expand the partition afterwards, presuming the HDD is a larger capacity?

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Good point. I forgot about that last detail. Most likely the HDD is larger.
I guess for that load up Gparted or a similar utility, get rid of the swap partition, expand the other one, then re-create swap.

If it was lazy me, I’d install the HD, install Ubuntu on it, boot into the new installation and make sure it’s OK, then copy the files I want to keep from the SSD, and then remove the SSD.

Probably need to do a bit more initial configuration than going the dd’ing route. If your SSD is an NVME then the device designation will be something like /dev/nvmeXXX instead of /dev/sdX, and any config files using that would need to be manually edited.