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I am a complete newbie to Linux. I am in the process of attempting to install my first distribution. Currently I have a Dell Inspiron 600m with WindowsXP on it. I am trying to install a Linux distro to my external disk drive. I have tried to install both Debian and Fedora Core 4 to the seperate partition, but am receiving the same error messages. When I am done with the installation process, and go to reboot, I receive one of three error messages, depending on the mood of my PC. They all have the same heading:
GRUB Loading stage1.5
After this I receive either Error 15,19, or 21. The strange thing though is that sometimes it does enter the boot loader screen and I have my OS options. However, the Linux distro never opens(I get a totally seperate error that I hope is related to the above mentioned), but the XP still does. I must reiterate that I am a complete newbie to Linux, and even the whole UNIX environment. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Where are you installing the Linux bootloader? Typical choices would be the MBR of the main (internal) drive, the MBR of the external, A specific partition, or maybe a floppy. At least some of the errors you are getting could be the result of the bootloader not finding its files.
I've never put an OS on an external drive, but I can imagine issues arising from the device name not coming up the same on every boot--eg if there are multiple USB devices on the system.
See my article on booting below--which includes a link to the GRUB manual. The specific errors are:
15 : File not found
This error is returned if the specified file name cannot be found, but everything else (like the disk/partition info) is OK.
19 : Linux kernel must be loaded before initrd
This error is returned if the initrd command is used before loading a Linux kernel.
21 : Selected disk does not exist
This error is returned if the device part of a device- or full file name refers to a disk or BIOS device that is not present or not recognized by the BIOS in the system.
Distribution: Laptops: Linux Mint 18 XFCE, Debian Jessie XFCE, NAS: OpenMediaVault 3.0
Only time I've ever had success installing to an external drive like that(now I'm not saying this is the only way, but it worked for me).
It was on a company laptop, and I didn't want to mess with the MBR. Disconnected the main hard drive, and booted the Ubuntu alternate install Disk. I then installed Ubuntu, grub, etc, to the USB drive. When all was done, I set my BIOS to boot from a USB device, which would load grub, and allow me to boot Ubuntu. If I wanted to boot Windows, I changed the bios to boot the hard drive, which would load Windows w/o loading Grub. It was kinda slow. I'm figuring because of USB limitations, but it did work.
I just looked at a couple of links for that laptop, and most seem to have anywhere from a 30-80gig hard drive. How big is your hard drive, do you have space to partition say, 10gigs for a Linux distro? That would make life a lot easier on you. Fedora 4 is a little old. The Fedora Project is at version 7 now. Debian Etch is a solid distro.
I beleive I was installing the boot loader to the MBR of the internal hard drive which contains WinXP. If you think its easier to install to the internal
drive maybe I'll try that. Thing is that I only have about 8 Gigs of space. I'm not quite at the point where I can totally give up Windows yet, i think.
Is there anyway I can install a MBR onto the external hard drive and then just change my BIOS so as to boot from the USB storage device???
This way if I want to run WinXP, I could just change my boot sequence.
I beleive I was installing the boot loader to the MBR of the internal hard drive which contains WinXP. If you think its easier to install to the internal drive maybe I'll try that.
Not having tried installing to external, I am not objective. My BIAS is to always put the OS on internal drives. If you are short on space, why not just add another drive?
Originally Posted by The Mad Scientist
Is there anyway I can install a MBR onto the external hard drive and then just change my BIOS so as to boot from the USB storage device??? This way if I want to run WinXP, I could just change my boot sequence.
Absolutely--as long as the machine will boot from USB, this will work fine. You could also put GRUB on a floppy.