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ruh31 05-09-2006 05:59 AM

Booting from cd, linux on external usb hard drive
 
Hi!

I would like to install a linux distribution on my external usb hard drive. The reason is that I want to be able to use the same OS, the same settings, and the same data at various locations (home, school, friend's, ...), without having to change anything at the computers involved. That also means, that I do not want to have to change boot setting (except maybe the boot order) or even installing any kind of program. And one thing that makes it also a bit tricky (?) is, that among the computers I want to use, there are PCs and notebooks, windows and linux machines, and they do not all support booting via usb.

My idea was that I could use some live distribution cd, boot with it so that it recognizes the external hard drive, and then start the operating system from the usb drive.

Is this idea even possible and has someone done something similar yet? Which linux distribution would you recommend me for that issue (right now I use Debian on my laptop, but I need to send that computer in for repair, so that is the reason I want to do this at all)?

And if you have really lots of time (is even one person out there who has lots of time these days ... probably not ;) ), then it would be great if you could give some detailed hints on how to do it. I am not a total newbie, but I do not have any experience with linux live systems.

Thanks a lot!

SweetLou 05-09-2006 06:15 AM

I have never done this, but it is possible. A buddy of mine did it. His work wouldn't allow him some things that he needed, so he went this way, the IT people only looked at the Microsoft things, not what he was doing on his external Linux drive.

I do recall him saying that he used Knoppix to do this. I think he said that he found the information on how to do it at the Knoppix site, but I am not positive about that.

ruh31 05-09-2006 06:28 AM

Well the thing is that I do not want to have a fixed system but want to be able to install programms if needed. So if I just use a normal live cd like knoppix (or gnoppix, since I would want to use gnome), then I could customize it once before burning the cd, but then it would be fixed ... what I am looking for is something like a cd that does the hardware identification and continues booting from the external drive, where most of the packages would be ...

or did I understand you wrong?

One or the other way: thanks for you help in any case!

ethics 05-09-2006 06:46 AM

I believe you can create a persistant Knoppix Livecd that you can write to and modify it as you use. (assuming you have a cd burner i would imagine.

Having a distro that is being used on multiple machines should be possible but there's the fact that the hardware probably isn't the same. I would try it, you may get away with the HW being detected. You'll probably have to reconfiure X on different monitors and cards but that doesn't take long (Arch has a very simple way to configure X
Code:

hwd -x
.

You would need access to the BIOS if it isn't already setup to boot from USB though.

ruh31 05-09-2006 06:49 AM

Unfortunately I do not have a cd burner at every location, that's is also another reason why I want to use that external hard drive (plus the fact that all my data does not fit on one cd).

I thought of something like setting up the x-server for each of the four locations and then giving it a certain boot-option so that it knows which configuration it should take ...

ethics 05-09-2006 07:04 AM

I guess ,or just keep a few copies of your xorg(or xfree86) conf.

Still, you need to be able to boot from the device first...

When i was at school/college (not so many years ago :P) we were lucky to have cd drives, let alone be able to boot from them or other interfaces.

ruh31 05-09-2006 07:12 AM

Well of course ... I have cd drives to boot from but they are not all cd writers. So a solution with booting from a cd would work ... but how?


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