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Old 08-20-2006, 01:42 AM   #1
montyw
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Installing On USB HDD


I have an empty 200GB USB external drive & I want to install LINUX on it. Most of all the distros don't recognize the drive except WINDOWS has no problem @ boot up & Computer Management services.

What distro recognizes USB external drive on installation?

Montyw
 
Old 08-20-2006, 02:14 AM   #2
J.W.
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Welcome to LQ. The answer to your question is that your ability to boot from a USB device depends on your BIOS, not the distro (or even the operating system). Press F12 (or whatever key is appropriate) during the boot process to get into BIOS, then check the set of devices that are listed as options in the boot sequence. If you see USB listed, move it up to the top of the list, and your system will boot from the USB drive whenever it is connected. If USB is not listed as a boot option, then realistically speaking you are out of luck unfortunately. The newer your mobo is, the better the chances that booting from USB will be supported. Good luck with it
 
Old 08-23-2006, 09:41 PM   #3
montyw
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USB Linux Install REPLY

I have all my USB devices connected. The USB mouse, printer, Palm Pilot sync device, UPS, Digital camera,hard drive(200Gb). I have SCSI Jaz drive & SCSI IBM Ultra2 Low Volt hard drive 9.1GB. The USB hard drive does not show on the LINUX Installation selection list.BIOS start up screen lists USB devices though briefly on the screen. The BIOS lists only drives connected to IDE controllers, and the Adaptec AHA-2940U2W shows the 2 SCSI drives and SCSI scanner. Connecting the hdd directly to usb port or thru a powered Belkin 2.0 hub w 2.0 cables doesn't matter. Linux installs won't show the USB drive in selection process even though the SCSI devices are on the list.
What's next???
 
Old 08-23-2006, 10:13 PM   #4
J.W.
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Maybe I just don't understand your question, but the fact that your computer supports using USB devices is an entirely different thing than whether or not your BIOS supports booting from a USB device. If your main goal is to boot from a USB hard drive, but your BIOS does not offer that option, then practically speaking you unfortunately are out of luck.

Generally speaking, the newer your mobo is, the better the chances that USB devices will be listed as boot choices in BIOS
 
Old 08-26-2006, 03:29 PM   #5
silencestone
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A Linux distro that recognizes an external USB HDD as installable? Slax.
But, since your BIOS doesn't even recognize the USB drive as bootable, you would have to work around it. Possibly with a boot floppy, or boot loader installed to the MBR that chainloads the usb drive.
 
Old 08-26-2006, 03:35 PM   #6
debiant
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http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...d.php?t=471848
 
Old 08-29-2006, 12:52 AM   #7
montyw
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USB Installation

In previous reply I stated that BIOS only showed SCSI and IDE devices.
My mistake was not going thru power cycle to have BIOS recognize USB device in the Boot device order.
BIOS shows on a drill down screen the boot order that you can choose when a Hard drive is chosen, other choices on another screen are:
It shows 5 devices;

#1 CH. 1 M WD800JB-00ETA
#2 CH. 1 S Maxtor 6Y060L0
#3 CH. 2 M Seagate ST3200822A
#4 USB-00 HITACHI HDS72252-5VLAT80
#5 PCI BOOTABLE DEVICE

The devices below are other bootable devices in other boot choices and sequence of search. Floppy, CDROM, LS/ZIP, 2.8 mb HD Floppy.

SO finally, the BIOS DOES recognize the USB drive, the USB mouse!
LINUX does NOT recoginize the drive but does see the BOTH the PS/2 and USB mouses. Something in the install code isn't loading module(s) to access the USB storage device. DMESG doesn't show any USB storage devices on a DVD-LIVE disk. So far I have tried SUSE 10.1 - kernel 2.6.16,Fedora 5 - kernel 2.6.16 Mandriva - kernel 2.6.12 KNOPPIX 5.0.1 - kernel 2.6.15.4.
What's next to try and WHY can't ABIT IC7 MAX2 mb. with 2 512MB SDRAM, 3 IDE hard drives, 1 USB drive and a Plextor PX708a DVD Burner. AC97 realtek sound and Intel Pro/1000CT nic and Nvidia FX-5900 card all work with WINDOWS but not LINUX(the "Windows" desktop replacement).
Its not the BIOS, its LINUX that's the problem here.

montyw47@hotmail.com
 
Old 08-29-2006, 01:16 AM   #8
J.W.
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If your BIOS offers booting from a USB device, which apparently it does, then in order to boot from it you should move it up to the top of the list rather than for it to be in 4th position. As you probably know, your system will attempt to boot from each device listed in the boot sequence in the order specified, and it will boot from the first one on which it finds a bootable system. Assuming you've already got an operating system installed on any one of your other hard drives, the USB drive basically won't come into play if it's specified as the 4th boot option.

As far as your comment that it's "not BIOS, it's Linux", I think you are overlooking the fact that your machine is under the control of BIOS *until* an operating system has been loaded. Linux simply cannot control which devices are available for booting, because Linux will not even be running until the boot-up process has been completed.

In any event, as long as your BIOS lists booting from a USB hard drive as an option in the boot sequence, move it up to the top position and that ought to resolve the issue. In that scenario, if the USB drive is connected (and Linux is installed on it) then your PC will boot from it. If the USB drive is not connected, your machine will simply boot from the next device. Good luck with it
 
Old 08-30-2006, 12:30 AM   #9
montyw
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USB Boot

I moved the USB device to the top of the list. Then saved the BIOS settings. Still doesn't see the USB drive.
You said:
"Linux simply cannot control which devices are available for booting, because Linux will not even be running until the boot-up process has been completed."
I have been taught about computers in 1965 by the USAF and major corp since the 1970s, so I'm no newbie to OS's and booting or IPL(IBM term).The install program running from the DVD can and does control devices i.e. USB mouse, keyboard, video and DVD burner and the drives, etc.. Whatever the program name, It looks like an OS to me! It acts like Linux only it's the Linux portion of the install software.

I have asked this question 3 times on other forums and have gotten the same reply and given the same responses. Yes USB boot is in BIOS. BIOS device is connected and can be seen by other the "OS"
YET, LINUX does NOT see the USB storage device! EVERY time, every LINUX distro does not recognize USB storage devices.

This is a BIG BUG that's been unaddressed. No one wants to know about it.
Next will be a Firewire 1394 drive that can' boot. But right now the developers of the install program needs to FIX the install program(s) for: hard drive device, be it IDE, SCSI, network, USB, IEEE1394 etc. I'm rather angry that no one wants to duplicate the problem and see what I'm talking about. WHY?

montyw47@hotmail.com
 
Old 08-30-2006, 01:22 AM   #10
J.W.
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Let's go back to your first post, where you state
Quote:
I have an empty 200GB USB external drive & I want to install LINUX on it
"Empty" is the operative word here... have you actually installed Linux on it yet?? If the answer is No, then attempting to boot from it just isn't going to work -- no computer can boot from an empty hard drive. You will need to install a working operating system to that disk before you'll be able to boot from it. For more information on a computer's boot process, check out this booting summary. Your comment that the "install program running from the DVD" suggests that I'm not making myself clear. Anything running from the DVD will only be running *after* BIOS has completed, and the set of bootable devices has already been examined In other words, the DVD was the first bootable device that your PC could recognize, which leads me to believe that your USB drive may still be completely empty. That's speculation, of course, but based on your comments, it would match the behavior you've described - if your USB device is listed above the DVD in the boot sequence but it does not contain a working operating system, your PC will move ahead to the next device in the sequence, which presumably is the DVD (which does contain a working operating system)

I am assuming however that you in fact have a bootable Linux installation on your USB drive, and if so, my answer stands: if your BIOS supports booting from a USB device, then as long as it's at the top of the list, I can state with confidence that it will work, because that's how I've got my system set up.

On the other hand, if your USB drive currently does not contain a working Linux installation (or any other operating system), then in order to be able to boot from it you'd need to do the following:

1. Get into BIOS and make the CD or DVD the first boot device
2. Put your Linux installation CD or DVD into that drive
3. Reboot, in order to initiate the installation process
4. Install Linux onto your USB drive
5. Remove the Linux installation CD or DVD
6. Reboot. During the boot process, get back into BIOS
7. Change the boot sequence by advancing the USB drive to the top of the boot sequence. Attach the USB drive (if not connected already) and save your changes.

Good luck with it,

Last edited by J.W.; 08-30-2006 at 01:24 AM.
 
Old 08-30-2006, 02:30 AM   #11
slantoflight
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montyw
I have been taught about computers in 1965 by the USAF and major corp since the 1970s, so I'm no newbie to OS's and booting or IPL(IBM term).
Its apparently not helping your case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by montyw
YET, LINUX does NOT see the USB storage device! EVERY time, every LINUX distro does not recognize USB storage devices.
This is a BIG BUG that's been unaddressed. No one wants to know about it.
Correction. Linux has no problem with usb devices, storage or otherwise. Just because your harddrive is'nt listed as an install option doesn't mean its not there. A simple dmesg | grep "usb" would reveal this, if you boot into the recovery mode of your install disk(which you fail to mention).



Quote:
Originally Posted by montyw
I'm rather angry that no one wants to duplicate the problem and see what I'm talking about. WHY?

montyw47@hotmail.com
Why? Because for one thing few people want to boot off usb devices. They are generally slower and impractical except for personal amusement. They fail and crash easier than their internal cousins and are much more susceptible to damage .Perhaps a technician would carry one, to diagnose computers.(maybe)

Suffice to say a minority of people here or anywhere for that manner carry around spare usb drives for the purpose of installing an OS on.

And the effort/time it takes install an OS(of any kind) to any device is not worth it just because 'you're angry'.

But since I do have the time(or did), I can tell you. It works. I've the run Fedora Core 5 install myself, and put it on a 70gb usb harddrive using instructions much like these.

http://www.simonf.com/usb/#fc3


You'll just have to take my word for it. And that would be the reason #3 noone has bothered to duplicate the 'problem'. Because theirs no problem to duplicate. You want a esoteric feature thats not commonly considered or available to users. Atleast not to the ones expecting to be handfed. So you have to invest some actual effort in installing. Surely someone whos experienced the punch card days should have no problem in entering a few relatively short commands.
(or maybe even a google search for "linux boot off of usb")

Try installing XP to a USB drive.

http://www.ngine.de/index.jsp?pageid=4176

Even hardder.

However in defense of the Mac, their installer does make it easy to install to FIREWIRE harddrives. Yet another external hard disk,but much faster/reliable interface(firewire 2 800mbit/s).
 
Old 09-03-2006, 06:01 PM   #12
silencestone
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Not alone

from slantoflight
Quote:
Why? Because for one thing few people want to boot off usb devices. They are generally slower and impractical except for personal amusement. They fail and crash easier than their internal cousins and are much more susceptible to damage .Perhaps a technician would carry one, to diagnose computers.(maybe)
Not just technicians. Not just for personal amusement. I've tried installing and booting USB drives. Why? Because it seemed like an ideal way to run/install a Linux system on a laptop that lacks CD/floppy/network, but has a convenient USB port.

Problems? Not all the distros could recognize the USB drive during installation (although running distros, such as live-cds) had no trouble identifying and mounting the drive. That's how I was able to install an operating system to it--manually copying all the operating system files and structure to the hard drive. However, the USB drive failed to boot. Failed despite BIOS listing USB HDD as 1st boot device. Failed again when trying to access USB drive from various boot managers.

from montyw
Quote:
SO finally, the BIOS DOES recognize the USB drive, the USB mouse!
LINUX does NOT recoginize the drive but does see the BOTH the PS/2 and USB mouses. Something in the install code isn't loading module(s) to access the USB storage device. DMESG doesn't show any USB storage devices on a DVD-LIVE disk. So far I have tried SUSE 10.1 - kernel 2.6.16,Fedora 5 - kernel 2.6.16 Mandriva - kernel 2.6.12 KNOPPIX 5.0.1 - kernel 2.6.15.4.
An installation program failing to recognize the drive is one thing. But to have the drive not show up at all in a fully loaded live distro sounds like, well as you've said, a problem with your USB drive(s?) or USB controller and Linux. I'm sure the next thing someone will suggest is that you boot up a Live-CD known for its diagnostic tools and/or hardware recognition (Knoppix/Kanotix, Mepis, System Rescue CD, Ultimate Boot CD--the ones I know offhand), plug-in the USB drive and run dmesg | tail on a command-line, and post the results. That'll tell everyone exactly how the Linux system handles the USB drive.

And, you know, make sure the drive is powered on.
 
  


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