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Old 12-11-2006, 07:36 PM   #16
pegazuz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lymae
Good for you.

But you'll soon find out that there's a trick to these LiveCD-derived USB Distros. I think knoppix was the one that started it all.
As of now, there might be 128M versions around, I haven't heard of larger USB distros except for Mandriva(which is 2GB). They assume that your USB is 128M, so they only compile the packages they can fit to it. A lot of times, you only have konqueror, not Firefox, but there are other examples...

And if you want to install a new app that is not a part of the original package, well.. you can, but when you reboot, you can do it all over, your apps will not be saved to USB, because their system's derived from LiveCD and those assume that the medium is read-only. Stuff like "Persistent home" will only save your desktop themes and wallpapers, but not the apps you install. So if your USB is 2GB, well... tough luck...

You'll know what I'm talking about after installing Flash for the 32nd time...
I don't know enough yet to add another program and Puppy is only one I can get to work from USB flash drive. So far I have used two different 256 MB Flash Drives I am now going to try put in on USB external HD, a 60 gb WD Passport and see if that will work. I tried installing Mepis and Ubuntu to it but neither would boot up. For reasons I don't understand Knoppix, Adios and PC linux Live Linux Cd's won't run on my Acer Laptop. I had similar problems with Darn Small Linux too.
 
Old 12-12-2006, 04:11 AM   #17
lymae
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pegazuz
I am now going to try put in on USB external HD, a 60 gb WD Passport
I'd recommend it too.
Getting an external USB HDD to work is a hundred times easier than a flash drive ("USB RM-FDD") as long as your BIOS supports USB legacy. Don't bother with puppy, just get a real distribution just as if you were about to install it to your hard drive as a sole OS. If the CD installer detects your USB drive, you should be ok.
 
Old 12-12-2006, 05:15 AM   #18
saikee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lymae
I'd recommend it too.
Getting an external USB HDD to work is a hundred times easier than a flash drive ("USB RM-FDD") as long as your BIOS supports USB legacy. Don't bother with puppy, just get a real distribution just as if you were about to install it to your hard drive as a sole OS. If the CD installer detects your USB drive, you should be ok.
I would be more cautious about it.

There has never been a problem for a Linux installer to put the distro in an external hdd or a USB flash drive. The problem has "ALWAYS" been the installed distro won't boot, unless it is specially rigged!

The only boot loader that has been successfully in a USB disk is syslinux but it is a DOS-based software residing in a Fat partition. Linux kernels if there are more than one must be stored inside this partition. This limitation will make it difficult to multi-boot OS residing outside the Fat partition. Also by default DOS cannot access large disks due to its limited addressibility and so OS residing outside the address range are technically unbootable with syslinux.
------------------------
Edited addition

The author of syslinux Peter Anvin has recently produced a parallel boot loader "extlinux" to be used in a Ext2/3 Linux partition. The documentation also suggests it support chain loading. This looks promising but I haven't tried it out myself.

Last edited by saikee; 12-12-2006 at 06:46 AM.
 
Old 12-12-2006, 02:08 PM   #19
pegazuz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saikee
I would be more cautious about it.

There has never been a problem for a Linux installer to put the distro in an external hdd or a USB flash drive. The problem has "ALWAYS" been the installed distro won't boot, unless it is specially rigged!

The only boot loader that has been successfully in a USB disk is syslinux but it is a DOS-based software residing in a Fat partition. Linux kernels if there are more than one must be stored inside this partition. This limitation will make it difficult to multi-boot OS residing outside the Fat partition. Also by default DOS cannot access large disks due to its limited addressibility and so OS residing outside the address range are technically unbootable with syslinux.
.
I couldn't get Puppy to install on my external hard drive. It could see it and read the partitions I set up on it using Mepis. Mepis would install fine on Hard drive and bring up grub loader but then couldn't mount the boot partition to finish booting. Ubuntu wouldn't install on hard drive either. I thought I might be able to use Ubuntu Live CD to boot and then run it from the hard drive. The Live CD has an option to boot up from first available hard drive and I set up external hard drive as third boot choice after CD and USB Flash drive.

Is it possible to get some CD boot disk that will either allow Hard Drive program to boot up or a way to boot up Mepis from a live CD and then run it from the external hard drive.

I read about various programs that claim to do this but many of those won't boot up on my new Acer laptop for reasons I don't understand. Some of the programs that won't boot on it are Addios, Dam Small Linux, Knoppix, PCLinux and Slax.

Puppy, Ubuntu, Kbuntu, and Mepis seem to boot up fine with live CD's and Puppy is only one that works for me from a USB Flash drive. The Flash drive allows me to save bookmarks when browsing but has little room for anything else and Puppy has not allowed me to save anything yet to the external hard drive.

Are there other distros you recommend I try on either USB Flash drive or external hard drive to see if they will work for me?
 
Old 12-12-2006, 02:49 PM   #20
saikee
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I think Puppy describes the steps in booting with a USB external hdd. You need to follow it.

Each distro may have its own work around scheme and you need to check out their web sites.
 
Old 12-13-2006, 04:48 PM   #21
pegazuz
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Kunbuntu installs and runs from USB external hard drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by saikee
I think Puppy describes the steps in booting with a USB external hdd. You need to follow it.

Each distro may have its own work around scheme and you need to check out their web sites.
On Puppy when I followed the directions it failed at point in the installation where it asked you to plug in USB drive and kept giving message of "action not completed" even though it could see the external hard drive and its partitions.

I decided to try some other Linux Live CD's I had laying around to see what else might boot up on my Acer laptop and Kubuntu booted up so I tried to install it. It installed OK on the partitions Mepis had created earlier and to my great delight and amazement it booted right up when I restarted the computer. I don't know what version it is but I think it is running from my USB external hard drive. It is much slower than Puppy from a USB Flash drive but other wise I think it will let me learn what it is like to run Kubuntu Linux from an internal hard drive. I hope my windows still works on my internal hard drive since I need it for my Legacy genealogy program.
 
Old 02-24-2007, 09:51 PM   #22
mck
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Installing on a WD 120GB Passport external hard drive

Hi, all. I hope that this thread is not dead, as the last post was back in December 2006.

I am trying to install Linux on a brand new 120GB Western Digital Passport hard drive. For some reason, the partition editors (GParted and QTParted) fail and give errors saying that the partition table cannot be written. I have tried this on 2 different computers (desktop and notebook) with two different distributions of Linux (Ubuntu and MEPIS). Eventually, I had to use the Linux fdisk utility to write a blank DOS partition to the drive, and then I used Windows to reformat it.

Anyone know of any reason for this partitioning problem or encounter similar errors? Do you know of a workaround?

Thanks,
MCK
 
Old 02-25-2007, 12:39 AM   #23
pegazuz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mck
Hi, all. I hope that this thread is not dead, as the last post was back in December 2006.

I am trying to install Linux on a brand new 120GB Western Digital Passport hard drive. For some reason, the partition editors (GParted and QTParted) fail and give errors saying that the partition table cannot be written. I have tried this on 2 different computers (desktop and notebook) with two different distributions of Linux (Ubuntu and MEPIS). Eventually, I had to use the Linux fdisk utility to write a blank DOS partition to the drive, and then I used Windows to reformat it.

Anyone know of any reason for this partitioning problem or encounter similar errors? Do you know of a workaround?

Thanks,
MCK
I got a notice about your post but can't offer much help, just my own experiences. As I wrote in an earlier post in this thread, Mepis was only program that seemed able to partition my WD 60 GB Passport Drive but it wouldn't boot up after it installed. Ubuntu would not install for reasons I don't understand but for the heck of it since I was trying everything at the time, I tried an older version of Kubuntu and it installed fine and also booted up right away with no problem. It is version 6.06 and it is still my main (only) version of linux at present that will boot up and get me on the internet through my wireless connection. Since then I bought another WD 60 GB external USB drive to try out some other distros and also got Suse 10.2 to install and boot up fine. However it wouldn't detect any wireless networks which made it rather useless to me. I keep trying out new ones searching for something that works well on my machine.

Thus my work around is to keep trying different distros till one works. The other possibility is you got a defective drive. I wanted a larger hard drive but read about problems and high failure rates with the 120 GB drive so opted for the 60 GB even though it cost more per GB. I also erased all windows programs from the drives and didn't try shrinking any partition. That might be also be significant if you tried shrinking a partition at first.
 
Old 02-25-2007, 05:16 AM   #24
saikee
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I am glad someone brought this thread up again as many things I said before weren't quite correct.

Last week I made a serious attempt to boot 12 systems from an USB hard disk and they all boot in the end. 9 systems boot straight away and the remaining 3 took a bit of persuasion.

The systems were

sda1 : FreeDOS, the only system not installed but ported directly from another disk
sda2 : PcBSD 1.0, the only BSD that works. FreeBSD and Solaris failed.
sda3 : not yet filled
sda4 : extended partition for sda5 to sda15
sda5 : swap partition for all the Linux
sda6 : Slax 4.1.8
sda7 : Mandriva 2007
sda8 : Suse 10.3 alpha1 (booted by FC6 kernel)
sda9 : Fedora Core 6
sda10 : Slackware 11 (booted by FC6 kernel)
sda11 : Ubuntu 7.04
sda12 : PCLinuxOS 2007 test 2
sda13 : Sabayon 3.0
sda14 : Raysx 1.5 (booted by Knoppix kernel)
sda15 : Knoppix 5.1.1.1

Grub, sourced from FC6, controls them in the MBR.

Here is the write-up.

----------------------------------------------

I may be able to advise on partitioning problems if the output of "fdisk -l" is post.

Generally I have no preference of hard disk sizes but have been moving towards 300 to 500 Gb disks as they now become affordable. I often have the maximum limit of 63 and 15 partitions on Pata and SCSI/Sata/USB disk respectively.

The basic rules on hard disk partitioning in PC standard are

(1) 4 primary parition maximum.
(2) If one wants more one primary must be given up to change into an extended partition.
(3) Inside an extended partition one can have 59 and 11 logical partitions for Pata and Sata/SCSI/USB disk respectively.

I think the maximum devices for Pata and SCSI/Sata/USB are both 256.

Pata achieves it with 4 drives of hda, hdb, hdc and hdd from the 2 IDE channels. Each drive therefore has 64 devices. Discounting the whole of disk say hda then the maximum partition number is hda63.

SCSI/Sata/USB group achieves the 256 devices by 16 disks as SCSI when first introduced could be daisy-chained. Each disk can therefore have 16 devices. Discounting the whole of disk say sda then the maximum partition number is sda15.

The best tools for partitioning are terminal programs cfdisk and fdisk as they do not do formatting and therefore able to support 100+ partition types. My knowledge in partitioning were taught by these two programs, especially with logical partitions.

Red Hat distros may have a difficulty to see partitions beyond 16, as their version of fdisk can display a maximum of 15 partitions. All terminal partitioning tools, including cfdisk and fdisk, apparently stop showing partitions beyond the 60th. Only QTParted and Gparted display and create partitions above the 60th position.

Modern Linux can be booted without problem all the way and up to the 63th partition. If a distro can't do it then its kernel may be too old to support hard disk beyond the 137Gb barrier. Some distros may also been assembled to expect no more than 20 or 24 devices from a hard disk but that can be overcome by the mknod command.

Last edited by saikee; 02-25-2007 at 05:43 AM.
 
Old 02-25-2007, 05:43 AM   #25
AwesomeMachine
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You can try making an initrd file with usb_storage in it. USB drives are detected differently than IDE drives so you need an extra module in the initrd file that the system uses to get to the kernel.
 
Old 02-26-2007, 01:24 PM   #26
mck
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Thanks for the replies...

Okay, thank all of you for replying. The 120 GB WD Passport hard drive works fine under Windows. I was able to partition it and format it under Windows using SwissKnife (once I messed up the partition table under Linux).

The problem that I am having is that Linux simply won't partition the drive (using any partition manager that I have tried so far -- GParted, QTParted, fdisk). Near the end of the process, it fails to correctly write to the drive's MBR on /dev/sda. When I simply told Ubuntu to install by using the whole USB drive, it partitioned the drive (or attempted to) and then failed to install.

Is there some firmware in the WD Passports that prevents Linux from partitioning the MRB on these devices?

Thanks,
MCK
 
Old 02-27-2007, 09:15 PM   #27
mck
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Thumbs up Got Kubuntu 6.06LTS working from WD 120GB Passport Hard Drive

Hi, again! Well, as in one of the prior posts, I got Linux working off of an external HDD. The Kubuntu 6.06LTS CD installed to the WD 120 GB Passport HD without any issues. Ubuntu 6.06LTS and SimplyMEPIS 6.0 failed miserably. It appears to be a problem w/ when the USB drive is mounted by the file system during the install process. I didn't try to manually unmount the USB drive prior to running the Ubuntu or SimplyMEPIS install scripts. Kubuntu queued me to do this, so I checked to make sure that the drive was unmounted prior to the partitioning operation.

In any case, I split the HDD: 58GB for /, 2GB swap space, and 60 GB for FAT32. This way, I can "carry" my Linux box with me and easily transfer files between Linux and Windows using the FAT32 partition. Everything works beautifully. Now, I've got to get my notebook (Dell Latitude 610) wireless card working under it (probably have to mess around with ndiswrapper or bcm43xx drivers) .

Thanks for all of your help.

Regards,
MCK
 
Old 02-28-2007, 07:49 PM   #28
pegazuz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mck
Hi, again! Well, as in one of the prior posts, I got Linux working off of an external HDD. The Kubuntu 6.06LTS CD installed to the WD 120 GB Passport HD without any issues. Ubuntu 6.06LTS and SimplyMEPIS 6.0 failed miserably. It appears to be a problem w/ when the USB drive is mounted by the file system during the install process. I didn't try to manually unmount the USB drive prior to running the Ubuntu or SimplyMEPIS install scripts. Kubuntu queued me to do this, so I checked to make sure that the drive was unmounted prior to the partitioning operation.
MCK
OK we both got Kubuntu 6.06 running fine off our WD USB external Passport drives and they install and boot up with no problem. I also had suse 10.2 doing it before i tried to replace it with Mepis beta 6.5.

Saikee got 12 systems to boot up after some tweaking from one USB external drive but Mepis wasn't one of those. In searching for help I read something about Mepis having a kernel that only read h drives and not sda drives but i am not sure if that is true or if that would make it impossible for an external hard drive to boot up Mepis. I really want to get Mepis 64 bit 6.5 beta to run off my external so what else can I try.

After many install attempts I have a Mepis boot option screen coming up. So I think I have GRUB installed on my external ok. The screen lists several options of different kernels to try at sda1. This seems right where the Mepis OS is installed. However when I select one I get "Error 17 message Cannot mount selected partition. Choosing command option gives something like following:

root (hd1,0)
Kernel/boot/vmlinuz-2.612.27.desktop64-smp root=/dev/sda1/ nomce quiet vga=791
boot

Now I compare this with root menu lst on kubuntu which boots up fine and they look very similar. both refer to an intrid image which is located in the boot section So what is creating the error 17 problem. My guess at this time is maybe the hard drive partitions are NOT lined up perfect so i will try delete them and recreate them with cfdisk and then reinstall Mepis again.
Any other ideas. It seems their must be a way to get Mepis to boot up from these externals since it appears most flavors of linux can. I read about someone exchanging kernels to do this but then are you running Mepis or the other brand where you borrowed the kernel. And would it runs as well then?

Anyway that is way beyond my skill at this point but I can try edit boot options or make some simple editing changes if people have other ideas to try.

Last edited by pegazuz; 02-28-2007 at 10:27 PM.
 
Old 03-01-2007, 07:07 AM   #29
saikee
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A Pata or IDE or ATA disk is called hda to hdd in Linux when working as internal hard disks. They would be physically connected to the two IDE primary and secondary ports with a master and slave so that a total of 4 disks are recognised from the mobo-related information.

The same disk if hooked as an external har disk is detected via a USB port. Such device is grouped under the allocation of SCSI/Sata allocation of devices and would be call sda, sdb, sdc, sdd ect depending on the order of devices being detected. For example if you put a USB memory stick into the PC it can "rob" the sda statutus leaving you with a sdb drive for the same external hard disk. The SCSI/Sata/USB devices may not necessarily be constant fixtures, may be hot-plugged and can be withdrawn when the OS is operatinal, therefore it is subject to a different detection protocol than the IDE disks like hda.

The safest defence for a Linux user is therefore to ask Linux to report to him/her how the disks and partitions are seen by it with the terminal command
Code:
fdisk -l
I always recommend a user to create the partition first so that he/she would knows the names of the partitions he/she are bout to give the installer for the Linux installation. If the system doesn't boot he/she would know where to find it.

Grub error 17 : cannot mount such partition
It menas a wrong partition has been specified and Grub can not mount it, say a data only partition or one unrelated to Linux.



Thus if a user has any booting problem he/she should post here the output of "fdisk -l" plus the relevant menu.lst that fail to fire it up.
 
Old 03-02-2007, 10:10 AM   #30
pegazuz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saikee

The safest defence for a Linux user is therefore to ask Linux to report to him/her how the disks and partitions are seen by it with the terminal command
Code:
fdisk -l
I always recommend a user to create the partition first so that he/she would knows the names of the partitions he/she are bout to give the installer for the Linux installation. If the system doesn't boot he/she would know where to find it.

Grub error 17 : cannot mount such partition
It menas a wrong partition has been specified and Grub can not mount it, say a data only partition or one unrelated to Linux.

Thus if a user has any booting problem he/she should post here the output of "fdisk -l" plus the relevant menu.lst that fail to fire it up.
I did this with my external hard drive that boots up Kubuntu with no problem.

How can I do it on other external hard drive with Mepis since it won't boot. Will it run from command line in the options when it is trying to boot up. Or can I plug it in and mount it under Kubuntu or another live CD linux and then run the command to see how it differs from the one that works.

Thanks for your helpful info and advice.

Last edited by pegazuz; 03-02-2007 at 07:07 PM.
 
  


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