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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 06-22-2007, 12:21 AM   #1
rakeshj
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Question Installing & using Red Hat Linux on Laptop on external Hard Disk connected on USB?




Hello All!

I have a Fujitsu/Siemens laptop with Windows XP.

I want to install Red Hat Linux on its external hard disk connected through USB port as I do not want to repartition my current internal hard disk. Is it possible & do I need some specific drivers to do this?
Is it possible to install & use Linux on current Hard Disk with out repartioning it? How?

I first want to boot Windows & then switch to Linux. How to do this? I can as well first boot Linux & then
boot to Windows. Is it possible?

I plan to use Apache Web Server, PHP & MySql for some
simple personal applications. Kindly suggest which version of Red Hat Linux must be installed (preferably from downloads) & how much minimum should
be the capacity of external hard disk.

Thanking you. Best regards, RAKESH
 
Old 06-22-2007, 03:52 AM   #2
vangelis
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Hello rakeshj,

First check in your laptop's bios (after connecting your usb hard drive) if it's configurable in the boot sequence. All modern distros include this kind of drivers and you don't have to do something yourself.

Second, I have to inform you that Red Hat is out of support for updates and it's quite an old distro right now with old software and probably will not recognize most of your laptop's hardware.

Don't be discouraged though as all modern distros can be a LAMP server (LinuxApacheMysqlPhp) just take a look at the first ones in the list of distrowatch.com. Or browse the LQ forum

Red Hat right now is a commercial distribution and not recommended at all for a laptop, there is it's alternative of CentOS but again you have to make a lot of tweaking for your laptop.
I personally recommend you OpenSuSE, Ubuntu, Fedora Core.

When saying that you don't want to repartition your current drive you mean not to loose any space from windows?because you can allocate (easy on every install on all three above distros I mentioned) the free space to create a new partition. If you don't wan't though to mess up with your system then do use an external drive, since your are new to linux.

On the boot sequence side now, when installing a linux distribution(since windows are meant to live alone in a disk, your distribution will install a program on your disk named boot loader, this enables a system to boot on multi operating systems on a start up. This is done automatically and it's one click away on the install process and will 99% will not have any problem.

After you finish each time you boot your system you will be presented by a menu screen asking you to boot either windows or linux.

That's in a few lines, now you have to visit http://iso.linuxquestions.org/ and start downloading!

cheers
 
Old 07-01-2007, 03:51 PM   #3
rakeshj
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Dear Vangelis,

Thanks for your very informative reply.

I have a 100GB USB drive which I devided into 2 partitions. First partition was not formatted & under windows it shows 0 size but second partition was formatted as NTFS & I am using it as a normal Windows
disk. First partition is also shown as separate 0 size disk.

My friend had downloaded Ubuntu & made a CD for me containing Ubuntu.

I connect the USB disk & boot the CD containing Ubuntu.
On Desktop it shows me C: drive & second partition on USB disk which was partitioned as NTFS. It does not show first partition which was created on USB disk.

When I click on Installation icon & when I reach to
disk submenu where I want to install Linux, under Manual installation menu it shows me 2 partitions on
USB hard disk. First is the one which I had not formatted & second which was formatted as NTFS & I had
copied some files/folders to this partition. If I want
to install Linux on the first (not formatted) partition what are the steps? When I click on this partition I get three options:

edit partion
delete partition
Undo

So now what will be the steps?

I guess (from some experiments on this partition)

1.Delete partition to make it free.
2. Now there must be some initialization to be done on
this partion & format it with type of file system
(possible choices are many ext3, ext2, fat32, fat16
swap etc). Which type must be chosen? Will this
partition be again devided in 2 partion ie one for
system & user files & directories & second for
swap? What size for swap should be allocated?

Sorry for so many questions.

Thanking you again.

Best regards, RAKESH
 
Old 07-02-2007, 11:44 AM   #4
reiki33
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I have installed Ubuntu, Fedora 7 (and Core 6), and SuSE on an external USB drives. I first removed my laptop drive to avoid accidents.

In addition to the partitions needed, swap, /boot, and /, I made /home a separate partition to facilitate future upgrades.

The oddity on the IBM (Lenovo) ThinkPad, both T41p and T60p that I have used, is that the Western Digital 120 gig passport drives seem to not be ready upon boot. The F12 brings up a boot list, but the USB drives are not there. However, if I go into setup, and just escape out without changing anything, the drive is on the list the second time around with the F12 drive list options. Then it just boots normally off the USB drive.

Mark
 
Old 07-02-2007, 01:30 PM   #5
rakeshj
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Dear Reiki,

Thanks for your reply.

I managed to install Ubuntu by first deleting the partition in which I want to install Ubuntu & then created 2 partion there (by New Partition under Ubuntu) one / & other swap. I was not aware that I must also make /home partition. Possibly I can make a directory /home & use it. What do you suggest? Will this scheme have any drawbacks?

After installing Ubuntu on USB drive on one PC, I wanted
to use Ubuntu on this drive on a laptop (also running Windows XP at home). But as installation procedure created some boot file or modified ROM setup at office
I was able to boot Ubuntu at office (though there were
some error messages by fsck & boot was not successful though recovery boot was successful) but was not able to
boot at home even though ROM has boot from USB as first
choice. I think some file must be copied from PC to the
laptop (& may be modified) to make boot successful at home? Any suggestions?

By the way you tried Uuntu, Fedora & SuSe. Which one you find the best?

Thanking you again. Best regards, RAKESH
 
Old 07-02-2007, 01:44 PM   #6
michaelk
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Your fine, it is not necessary to have a seperate /home partition.

Are you trying to boot from at home using the same USB drive from work?

Last edited by michaelk; 07-03-2007 at 07:32 AM.
 
Old 07-03-2007, 12:38 AM   #7
reiki33
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Correct. It is *not* necessary to make a separate /home partition. However, with care and always backing up first, you can upgrade or install again and specify to omit making the /home partition clean. This leaves your personal files intact.

I like both Ubuntu and Fedora and have done most of my C and C++ work on Fedora up to this point. After trying the SuSE 10.2 for a short while, it feels too much like Windows. I could not find how to activate the multiple window sets on SuSE, so it feels like one screen with a big Start button. That may be a SuSE preparation for the Beryl interface, so you do not need that aspect.

I will say that I enjoyed the earlier SuSE 10.0 very much. All a matter of taste. Make you own choices.

Mark
 
Old 07-03-2007, 08:01 AM   #8
vangelis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rakeshj
Dear Reiki,

Thanks for your reply.

I managed to install Ubuntu by first deleting the partition in which I want to install Ubuntu & then created 2 partion there (by New Partition under Ubuntu) one / & other swap. I was not aware that I must also make /home partition. Possibly I can make a directory /home & use it. What do you suggest? Will this scheme have any drawbacks?

After installing Ubuntu on USB drive on one PC, I wanted
to use Ubuntu on this drive on a laptop (also running Windows XP at home). But as installation procedure created some boot file or modified ROM setup at office
I was able to boot Ubuntu at office (though there were
some error messages by fsck & boot was not successful though recovery boot was successful) but was not able to
boot at home even though ROM has boot from USB as first
choice. I think some file must be copied from PC to the
laptop (& may be modified) to make boot successful at home? Any suggestions?

By the way you tried Uuntu, Fedora & SuSe. Which one you find the best?

Thanking you again. Best regards, RAKESH
Rakesh my friend,

You can boot linux on usb from your work and not from home because when the installer asked you where to install GRUB (grub is the bootloader) you checked the MBR(master boot record) of your internal drive.
There you must say no and on the next screen and type the device path of your usb stick.

If you don't have any other external usb device, just disconnect everything except the stick at install, then the path that you should type is
/dev/sda

If you still haven't saved anything critical in your linux partition, put the ubuntu disk inside and do the installation again following the step I mentioned above.

If it works(and it should be) then we have to clean your MBR on your internal disk(it's just a command I don't remember right now).


As for the distro, I recommend you having a separate /home partition so that you can try ubuntu, fedora, suse and every other distro without losing your personal data and settings.

I hope this helps

Vangelis
 
Old 07-05-2007, 03:31 AM   #9
rakeshj
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Dear Mr. Vangelis,

Yes, I installed Bootloader on MBR at office & therefore not able to use the USB Disk at home to boot
Ubuntu at home.

I searched & google & found many articles regarding MBR
issue & how to restore it to original by using Rescue CD for Windows XP. Prior to doing this I wanted to create a file (say linux.bin) on floppy (to be copied later to C:\ of Windows). Then boot Windows & modify Windows boot.ini file to include C:\linux.bin="Linux"
as last line. After this I can restore MBR using Windows Rescue CD. This should allow me to create a Dual-Boot (with Menu asking for selection at Boot time).

But while creating linux.bin file on floppy I could not
write on it & it was simply hanging. I could copy the file linux.bin to another Windows partition on USB drive which is shown by Ubuntu but does not allow to create a file there though /etc/fstab shows that this partition should be mounted RW. So, now I am stuck.
Why Ubuntu does not allow me to create a file on this partition?

For floppy also is there a procedure to force Ubuntu to
allow me to write on it?

Kindly help.

Thanking you. Best regards, RAKESH

PS: To create linux.bin it is suggested to use the
following command:
dd if=/dev/hdxy of=/mnt/floppy/linux.bin bs=512
count=1
Here, /dev/hdxy is Ubuntu boot device as shown by
which is mounted on /boot.
 
Old 07-05-2007, 04:22 AM   #10
vangelis
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If your windows partition is NTFS it will not be able to write to it, for this you must use ntfs-3g but don't for now.

What you are trying to do with the instructions you wrote above is to mess up with the windows boot loader. Re-install ubuntu and put Grub on USB disk. In that way you will only get a boot message with options for windows and linux ONLY if you have plugged your usb disk and if not, then windows will be booted on both pc's.

Don't try the dd command yet as it can mess with your disk pretty badly and lose data.

The device /dev/hdxy you wrote doesn't exist. X represents the disk label (as 'a' or 'b') and Y the partition(like '1' '2' etc).

Read this article as it will help you understand everything about device naming in linux and will help you at the very first steps with installation and boot loaders.
 
Old 07-05-2007, 10:36 AM   #11
rakeshj
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Dear Vangelis,

Thanks for your E-mail & the warning about dd etc.

I apologize for omitting sentence about /dev/hdxy. Here, I wanted to say that /dev/hdxy must be replaced by the actual boot device applicable to the installation.

Just one quick question to reconfirm what I understood. The reinstallation, as you suggested, will repair MSB of C: partition & will recreate MSB to allow me booting directly into Windows if disk is not connected on USB. THIS IS GREAT & the way I want it to be.

As you pointed out, I can create a small partition with ntsf-3g file system type to allow me partition writable under Ubuntu to share files
between Ubuntu & Windows. This will be very useful. I hope Windows is able to read/modify files in this type of partition. I will read link
on it provided by you.

Lastly, any comments on correct usage of Floppy disk between Ubuntu &
Windows.

Thanking you once again. Best regards, RAKESH
 
Old 07-05-2007, 10:41 AM   #12
rakeshj
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Dear Vangelis,

Sorry for mistake again.Kindly read MBR instead of MSB in my previous post.

Thanks & best regards, RAKESH
 
Old 07-05-2007, 11:52 AM   #13
rakeshj
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Dear Vangelis,

I read your E-mail again & it seems that once I have installed Grub
on USB drive at office , it is ready to use Linux at home too without doing any installation etc at home. Kindly confirm.

Thanking you once again. Best regards, RAKESH
 
Old 07-14-2007, 12:30 PM   #14
rakeshj
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Dear Vangelis,

Thanks for your replies.

I was on leave for last 10 days & will be going to office tomorrow & re-install Ubuntu (actually, Xubuntu)
as suggested by you. I have a question. Will reinstalling Ubuntu repair MBR automatically or I must
repair it by XP Recovery CD prior to installing Ubuntu.
Kindly suggest.


Thanking you. Best regards, RAKESH
 
Old 07-14-2007, 05:04 PM   #15
vangelis
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use first the windows recovery cd and then install ubuntu and the grub boot loader on your usb disk.
 
  


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