Can't install GNU/Linux after connecting external USB harddrive.
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You seems to be moving the goal posts while we are trying to understand your original problem.
Your propblem reported in Post #12 could be due not rebooting the machine after you had changed the partition table, especially when a foreign system (to Linux) is involved.
If you want to install Ubuntu in sdb , or any distro, just boot up the Ubuntu and use it as a Live CD. Use its cfdisk program, by command "sudo cfdisk /dev/sdb", to make two partition of sdb1 (10Gb) and sdb2 (1Gb), alter the partition type from 83 to 82 for sdb2, highlight "write", press retuen, exit cfdisk and type at terminal "sudo reboot".
After a reboot click hard disk installation and tell the installer you want Ubuntu installed in sdb1. This may require you highlight sdb1, edit it as the mounting pont for "/", select a filing system like Ext3, click "format" and the "OK".
I never had any problem if I had a partition arranged for installing any distro. Every installer will just get on with it and know what to do with the swap.
You should meet no resistance if you install Slackware.
No I'm just showing the results I get when I try different stuff. The problem, which has been the same from the start, is that I can't install Linux on my IDE harddrive (hdb) which was probably caused by connecting an external usb harddrive earlier.
The Windows XP cd can change partitions and installs fine, the linux cd's can't change partitions and won't install.
It's not sda or sdb that I want to install to so forget those, both disks are full with stuff that I want to keep.
I want to install Linux into hbd because that's the harddrive I've been using for the operating system and my other two harddrives are comletely full. Post #6 clearly shows that I *do* have hdb.
Disk /dev/hdb: 40.0 GB 40020664320 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4865 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hdb1 * 1 4864 39070048+ 7 HPFS/NTFS
The problem isn't that I have to use the hdb name but that hdb is the harddrive I want to use. I've tried to install Ubuntu Dapper Drake, Ubuntu Feisty Fawn, Slackware 10, Debian Etch, nothing works. I can only install Windows XP on the harddrive. The Linux cd's can't even reformat the harddrive, something the Windows XP cd can.
Are you missing something here by saying you can't format the drive?
Your hard disk has a ntfs partition occupying the the entire 40Gb. Therefore to install a Linux you need boot up a Linux Live CD to
(1) Delete the hdb1, just use terminal command "su", then "cfdisk /dev/hdb", highlight the partition and click "delete".
(2) Create two partitions, one 10Gb and another 1Gb, which will be hda1 and hda2 if primaries or hd6 and hda7 if they are logicals. Either way or in any combination. When you create a partition in a Linux Live CD it will automatically be Type 83 which is suitable for Linux. (NTFS is Type 7 and is NOT suitable for Linux installation) You highlight hda2 and select "type" to make it Type No. 82 for being a swap.
(3) highlight "write" and confirmed again with "yes". When done highlight "quit" and press return to leave cfdisk.
(4) Go for a reboot and you will find every Linux can be installed in hda1.
You don't format the partition. You leave it to the installer. The idea is you select hda1, ask it to be formatted in ext3 and mounted as "/" and the installer will put everything inside.
Nope, I've installed Linux several times on that harddrive, probably about 50 times, it's just that I can't do it anymore and it seems like connecting an external usb harddrive once is the cause. I can't think of anything else because that's when it started acting weird. And I don't understand where the problem actually is considering that I've changed both the MBR and partitions several times since then using the Windows XP disc so nothing that was on it before that could have messed things up should be there now.
That's exactly what I've been trying, in post #12 I write about using cfdisk which managed to change the partitions but when I get to the installer I still get the same problem.
Hi! Did you ever get this problem solved? I'm having very similar trouble installing Ubuntu 7.10 to a USB flash drive. It has worked with one 1 GB flash drive, but I'm having trouble installing it to a new 4 GB drive. I've seen the same kind of I/O error messages, and the "The attempt to mount a file system failed" message from Ubuntu's GUI installer on the live CD.