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Old 11-07-2005, 11:10 PM   #1
Raveolution
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Installing Fedora 4 on an laptop's external USB2 hard drive?


My Fedora Core 4 installation DVD does not recognize the external USB2 hard drive attached to my Laptop. The laptop has a tiny 20gb NTFS partitioned hard drive and little space for anything else but a grub mbr for dual booting.

I could have sworn I saw OCHI drivers being detected and installed during the booting up of the FC4 dvd, but then during the GUI anaconda process, disk druid (and even fdisk -l ) doesn't

How would I be able to set up FC4 onto an external USB2 hard drive if the install DVD doesn't recognize external USB? Is there another distribution of Linux that would allow me to install Linux to an external USB2 hard drive?

I'd also need to know how to make a boot CD to boot into FC 4 afterwards in case the built-in hard drive fails.
 
Old 11-08-2005, 05:09 AM   #2
fotoguy
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What about you motherboard bios does it support booting from different devices like networks, cdroms and others. I think one of my motherboards supports booting from usb devices it's not a laptop board though but if it's recent laptop it may.
 
Old 11-08-2005, 09:34 AM   #3
saikee
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Distros if installable on a USB hard disk are seldom bootable because the Kernel would panic when the USB device cannot load the program fast enough.

Only small distros specially rigged for say pen drives can be successfully installed.
 
Old 11-08-2005, 06:47 PM   #4
mjmwired
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Just an idea:
Some people have recommended running 'linux expert'
at the boot prompt when you boot your CD/DVD.
 
Old 11-08-2005, 11:46 PM   #5
Izkhandar
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mjmwired said:
Quote:
Just an idea:
Some people have recommended running 'linux expert'
at the boot prompt when you boot your CD/DVD.
That is indeed true. When installing Fedora, enter
expert mode, that will load (amongst other things)
the usb modules that will allow to detect your usb
disk, then install as "usual".

Later, once installation is "done", you will have to
boot the computer with the install CD (or rescue CD
if you have it) in expert rescue mode (that is, you
will give 'expert' and 'rescue' as parameters to the
boot loader). Mount your usb drive and navigate to
your /boot directory/partition. You will have to make
a new initrd file, one including the usb modules. To
do that, run the following:

mkinitrd --with-usb --preload=ehci-hcd --preload=usb-storage --preload=scsi_mod --preload=sd_mod ./usbinitrd-X.X.XX-X.XXXX_LLL X.X.XX-X.XXXX_LLL

where X.X.XX.-X.XXXX_LLL is your kernel's version
(for example 2.6.11-1.1369_FC4). If you don't know
what is your kernel version run:

uname -r

(Both command lines could be combined as follows:

mkinitrd --with-usb --preload=ehci-hcd --preload=usb-storage --preload=scsi_mod --preload=sd_mod ./usbinitrd-`uname -r` `uname -r`
)

I've run Fedora in a makeshift portable usb Hardrive
I assembled a little while ago, with no complications,
just plug the usb cord into a free computer and go :-).

As far as I know, this should work no matter if your
usb drive is an usb hardrive or an usb stick, etc.

In the case of a hardrive, depending on the bios of
the "host" computer you may need to have grub/lilo/??
on a usb stick or in a boot diskette. Thus it will be a
good idea if you made a "boot diskette".

I hope this helps,

Izkhandar
 
Old 11-09-2005, 12:22 AM   #6
fotoguy
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Quote:
Originally posted by Izkhandar
mjmwired said:


That is indeed true. When installing Fedora, enter
expert mode, that will load (amongst other things)
the usb modules that will allow to detect your usb
disk, then install as "usual".

Later, once installation is "done", you will have to
boot the computer with the install CD (or rescue CD
if you have it) in expert rescue mode (that is, you
will give 'expert' and 'rescue' as parameters to the
boot loader). Mount your usb drive and navigate to
your /boot directory/partition. You will have to make
a new initrd file, one including the usb modules. To
do that, run the following:

mkinitrd --with-usb --preload=ehci-hcd --preload=usb-storage --preload=scsi_mod --preload=sd_mod ./usbinitrd-X.X.XX-X.XXXX_LLL X.X.XX-X.XXXX_LLL

where X.X.XX.-X.XXXX_LLL is your kernel's version
(for example 2.6.11-1.1369_FC4). If you don't know
what is your kernel version run:

uname -r

(Both command lines could be combined as follows:

mkinitrd --with-usb --preload=ehci-hcd --preload=usb-storage --preload=scsi_mod --preload=sd_mod ./usbinitrd-`uname -r` `uname -r`
)

I've run Fedora in a makeshift portable usb Hardrive
I assembled a little while ago, with no complications,
just plug the usb cord into a free computer and go :-).

As far as I know, this should work no matter if your
usb drive is an usb hardrive or an usb stick, etc.

In the case of a hardrive, depending on the bios of
the "host" computer you may need to have grub/lilo/??
on a usb stick or in a boot diskette. Thus it will be a
good idea if you made a "boot diskette".

I hope this helps,

Izkhandar
This is handy to know, thanks might try this after uni has finished and I have some spare time
 
Old 11-13-2005, 06:00 PM   #7
pacocc
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same problem, boot options not working

Hello, I have the same problem,

I have tried booting with the following commands:

linux expert
linux rescue
linux expert rescue
expert
.
.
.



I cannot make DD nor fdisk to recognize my external USB2.0 drive.
I can seen my USB drive in the BIOS, and I could actually boot from it, but it is just not recognized by any of the fedora installation tools.

Thanks
paco
 
Old 12-09-2005, 10:13 PM   #8
kamesh_khandrika
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by pacocc
Hello, I have the same problem,

I have tried booting with the following commands:

linux expert
linux rescue
linux expert rescue
expert
.
.
.



I cannot make DD nor fdisk to recognize my external USB2.0 drive.
I can seen my USB drive in the BIOS, and I could actually boot from it, but it is just not recognized by any of the fedora installation tools.

Thanks
paco
I guess you have to use modprobe to find the USB drive. Before you say next on the first screen, press CTRL+ALT+F2 to go to another console and use the following command:
#modprobe usb-storage

If the command returns without returning any message, you can go back to the installation console by pressing CTRL+ALT+F7. Continue your installation as usual and you should be able to see the USB drive as /dev/sda or something similar.

Thanks
Seetharam
 
Old 12-09-2005, 10:19 PM   #9
kamesh_khandrika
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saikee
Distros if installable on a USB hard disk are seldom bootable because the Kernel would panic when the USB device cannot load the program fast enough.

Only small distros specially rigged for say pen drives can be successfully installed.
I experienced this even when installing through Expert edition. I have a 160GB hard disk which is connected via USB to my Laptop. I installed Fedore Linux Core 4 using the Linux Expert boot option. It installed perfectly but failed to boot even after modifying the initrd image to load usb drivers while booting. It tries to load the Audio driver and stucks there. Perhaps the hard disk is not being read fast enough.

Is there anyway to overcome this?

Regards,
Seetharam
 
Old 12-10-2005, 04:47 AM   #10
saikee
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Haven't done it myself yet but the common approaches seem to be

(1) Use a distro specially rigged for USB devices. This work well with pen drives or memory sticks but I can't confirm if USB hard disks are applicable or not.

(2) Put the kernel in an internal disk so that it can be loaded normally without a panic and then able to fetch information from the USB hard drive.

One of the area I haven't explored much is the use of a kernel from Linux A to boot Linux B. That is easily accomplished in the kernel statement of /boot/grub/menu.lst.

The "root" statement of Grub specifies the location of root partition so that

root (hd0,1)
kerne /boot/vmlinuz ro root=/dev/hda2

instructed Grub to fetch the kernel from the (hdo,1) partition which is hda2.

However if there is a better or more up to date kernel (say of the same name vmlinuz) in partition (hd1,16) the above can be changed to

root (hd0,1)
kerne (hd1,16)/boot/vmlinuz ro root=/dev/hda2

then the same Linux is booted as usual but using the kernel fetched from (hd1,16).

Therefore one can copy a kernel from a USB partition and place in any of the directory of an internal hard disk and use it to boot the Linux in the USB hard drive.

Let us know the result. My feeling is that it should work and I have booted successfully a few tough distros by not using their own kernels. I am too busy on hanging on the horns of 3 BSDs and one Solaris at the moment but will investigate the USB distro when I have a bit of time.

Only been in Linux 1.5 year but it seems I am still in honeymoon with it.

Last edited by saikee; 12-10-2005 at 05:04 AM.
 
Old 12-10-2005, 07:58 AM   #11
saikee
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Just tried Slax 5.0.6, Damn Small Linux 2.1 and Puppy 1.0.6

Slax installed but failed to boot with a kernel residing in an internal disk.

Damn Small Linux can't see the external USB hard disk and no installation.

Puppy sniffed out the external USB disk and installed. I am replying from the installed Puppy in the external USB hard drive. No need to use another kernel. This doggy needs to be installed in a Fat partition and seems to use syslinux as its boot loader. I believe Syslinux is a light weight boot loader for booting floppies so that may be it is slow enough to boot up the system up in a USB hard drive.
 
Old 12-12-2005, 01:25 PM   #12
Fireball7
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Quote:
Syslinux is a light weight boot loader for booting floppies so that may be it is slow enough to boot up the system up in a USB hard drive.
Actually, it should be more than slow enough. USB2.0 data throughput is vastly greater than the throughput of a 3.5in floppy reader. Also, are you sure speed is the problem? I built my 120GB 7200RPM external hdd and I have little or no problems running high-end games off of it.

If all else fails (which it shouldnt...the member's (and maybe my) suggestions should work) you could always ditch FC4 (as much as I hate to say it) and use a bootable version, or make linux a partition of your lappy's hdd (~6 gigs should be sufficient; you can use the external for linux too if you make a specific partition).
 
Old 12-22-2005, 07:47 PM   #13
Haloony
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hey saikee its Hal again I spoke to this to you about this before, and ive been doing a lot of research on this. it seems that you are the only that has actually tested this and revealed results, if anybody else actually tested please reveal results if you did im sorry that i missed them. Ok saikee lets say i have a tecra 8200 laptop with 512 ram pentium 3 processor, and a 20 gig hd inside. The laptop is running windows 2000. If any of these specs are a problem just answer the question like the problem wasnt there. So which external hd should, what's a reasonable price, and please explain in sorta a guide what i would do after i burned the puppy iso to a cd.Thnx again saikee
 
Old 12-23-2005, 02:55 AM   #14
saikee
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I don't think you have a problem with your hardware. This is based on my experienece of having installed 100+ systems into a PC over last 1.5 years. Many systems I have now were in "two" computers before. That means I have moved some of them from computer to computer. Linux are pretty good in adapting the new environment but XP usually requires a re-activation with MS.

The second information that may of interest to you is there are really full of choices and free distros that you are bound to get a few ones that fit in with your machine.

The only distros having problem I couldn't loaded into my current PC, with a socket 939 cheap Asrock mobo with a AMD64 3200 CPU, is the free version of Linespire and its earier version Lindowns which have no problem with my other computers in the house.

The only software I can't make it to work is Darwin x86 which supports a avery limited range of hardware. A Pentium may do better with this distro because it couldn't be installed in my other 3 PCs. I managed to installed in my current PC but on booting it the kernel panic due the no CPU driver for the platform! I run only AMD CPUs because they are cheaper than the Intel versions.

On the choice of external hard disk I am a bit different to the other guys in that I use mobile racks permanently fixed to the desktop PCs and all my hard disks are in caddies. This allows me to pull any of the disks out and swap their positions in seconds. A mobile rack is just a plastic frame and a plastic caddy box that cost 5 or US$ 10 each. The frame has an IDE cable connected to the mobo. The caddy is inserted like a drawer with an end socket and retained in position by a lever.

Therefore I just bought a couple of 5.25" external enclosures (size same as the standard 5.25" bay in a PC) and screwed mobile racks onto them. In this arrangement I could pull out any interenal disk and inserted into the external enclosure in seconds and the same hard disk becomes an external hard disk connected to the PC by firewire or USB. The external enclosure cost about 20-25 in UK.

THus my solution is possibly the cheapest but also the most versatile. In operation all hard disks can run as internal unit at the 33 to 133 ATA speed but the transmission has to drop to the USB limit when used externally to the PC. I have also a couple of 3.5" to 2.5" adaptors that I can put a small 2.5" from a laptop, drop it into a caddy and use it either internal or externally in all of my desktop PCs.
 
  


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