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Toshiba Satellite C55D-A5333
8gb DDR3 RAM
AMD Quad Core A6-2600M Accelerated Processor
AMD Radeon HD 8400
My external hard drive is a Western Digital 320gb from a few years ago, plugged into a USB 3.0 drive, but I don't think the drive is the issue.
My USB drive is a Sandisk Cruzer Micro 8gb, plugged into a normal USB 2.0 drive.
When I tried to install Elementary OS Luna on my external hard drive last night using my laptop, the installation went fine, and then it prompted me to reboot. After rebooting, instead of opening grub and asking me whether I wanted to boot to Windows 8.1 or Elementary OS, it booted straight to Elementary, showing the big E for a minute, and then going to the terminal. The terminal, if I recall correctly, prompted me for my username and password, and then said something like "Welcome to Elementary OS Luna!"
I could type in commands, just like it were the normal terminal, but I couldn't get to the GUI.
Upon googling the issue, I took some suggestions like updating the kernel, and trying to install AMD Catalyst drivers (I don't remember what the errors were, but that didn't work for whatever reason).
After coaxing my computer to ignore Elementary and boot to Windows 8.1 - and uninstalling Elementary OS from the external hard drive as well as unplugging the drive - I booted back into the LiveUSB, this time choosing the option "Try Elementary OS Luna without installing." Again, it brought me straight to the terminal, exactly like it did before (except obviously without prompting me for any username or password).
Thanks for any advice; let me know if there's any more information I need to include.
Sorry, I'm not exactly sure what you're asking. Haha, I'm completely new to this kind of stuff.
Do you mean am I booting from the USB, and selecting "Try Elementary without installing?" I've tried that, and it just goes to terminal.