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Old 09-15-2007, 11:18 AM   #1
Daniel_C
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Installing to USB Hard Drive


Hello,

Even though this forum is marked Newbie, I need to emphasis that I'm a newbie not only to Linux, but to every operating system that doesn't just involve clicking on stuff. I had an IBM XT years ago and could move around the dos file structure, and I can use enough UNIX to do the same, but that has been it, until now.

I am trying to install the distro called, Blag, which is Fedora Core 5, on my USB hard Drive as i h ave little or no room left for a partition on my Internal drive on a Dell Inspiron 1150 laptop.

The BIOS has a boot from USB option, although I suspect that it doesn't read all file systems. I have been able to boot a DSL image from the USB HD using syslinux.

After formatting and trying The Blag installation CD, I get a missing operating system error.

The install CD will only install GRUB on the insternal drive, /dev/hdc.

SO, starting from scratch, I made a new boot partion (5MB)at the beginning of he drive in FAT format. On this part., using GRUB I used:

root (hd1,0)
makeactive
chainloader+1

Then, found the GRUB config file from the Blag install. And modified it. Although I have forgotten exactly what I did but it was something like moving all the (hd0,1) stuff to (hd1,1).

Then, I rebooted and got the error message:could not find kernel image.
I think that my boot part. is too big for the chainloader+1 command, I don't understand all the different geometry units.

I very much appreciate your help and time reading this.
Once I've gained some experience with Linux, I will dump Windoz forever.

TIA
daniel

Last edited by Daniel_C; 09-15-2007 at 11:56 AM.
 
Old 09-15-2007, 01:11 PM   #2
Ruttekutte
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Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Tystberga, Sweden
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Hello Daniel,

I did something similar, but with result, on my computer, a HP 6320, with success.

I had to change, in menu.lst, the 'root (hd1,0)' to 'root (hd0,0)' as I installed grub to mbr, and indeed it is the first partitition of the first hard drive when booting from the usb hard drive.

To be able to edit the menu.lst on the usb hard drive i booted my computer with a Slax live cd.

I didn't have to touch my internal hard drive witch contains Windoze XP, and is pure for work.

Hope this can lead to a succes, for you also.

Tia...
 
Old 09-15-2007, 02:58 PM   #3
Daniel_C
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Thanks Ruttekutte,

"I had to change, in menu.lst, the 'root (hd1,0)' to 'root (hd0,0)' as I installed grub to mbr, and indeed it is the first partitition of the first hard drive when booting from the usb hard drive."

I have been using Live Puppy Linux for messing around with stuff.
Ummm....it seems that on my machine, (hd0,0) is the internal drive, even with the BIOS order set to :1)USB drive 2)internal HDD

I need clarification about this...I'm quite confused

thanks
 
Old 09-16-2007, 01:49 PM   #4
Daniel_C
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USB Drive booting = very difficult

SoI found out some not so encouraging news about this topic...

I was visiting an aquiantence who modifies kernels and other heavy stuff for a tech company. He said that booting from a USB drive is a massive headache because of several complicated reasons not just one or two. He has done it himself and said that some drive and chip combinations will work rather easily while others are a nightmare. Something to do with firmware compatibility between all the devices involved.

So if you are lucky and got yours to work, be happy about it but don't expect to get any computer and drive to do it.

So I am giving up the idea...

good luck in all your endeavors
 
Old 09-16-2007, 06:19 PM   #5
saikee
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Took me a weekend to put a few operating systems onto a USB hard disk. Reported here
 
Old 09-19-2007, 05:19 PM   #6
Daniel_C
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Registered: Sep 2007
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Hi Saikee,

your thread is great...although since I am new to all of this, i am not sure what to do for my system...

i tried installing Ubunto with no modifications...didn't work
I am guessing that I need a FAT partition in front of everything with an MBR and then install Ubunto and modify the menu.lst file.

I have been in parted through a Live CD btw. WHen I set a part. to "boot" is that the same is putting an MBR on it ?

TIA

dan
 
Old 09-19-2007, 06:57 PM   #7
saikee
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I think the difficulty of booting from a USB hard disk is just a logistical problem.

Let's say you have an internal hard disk and an external hard disk then in order to boot you must give the 1st bootable disk status to the internal disk which will be called sda while your external hard disk is called sdb.

You can tell the Bios that the external USB disk is to be booted first as sda so that you can install a Linux into it, right? All is well but as soon as you put a Linux CD into the drive then the CD boots up first and the bios has not time to implement your request. The boot up Linux at the same time starts to detect the hardware and nominates the internal disk as sda and the second disk is assigned to the external hard disk sdb. Internal hard disk has a higher priority. After you install Ubuntu to the sdb, remove the CD and try to boot it up then Ubuntu would not boot because it was installed as the second hard disk sdb but is now booting up as the first disk sda.

Therefore the easiest way to get over this problem, if you can do it, is to temporary remove the internal disk, so that the USb hard disk is always sda.

The other alternative is to amend the system configuration.

If you go for the second route you need to post Ubuntu (in the USB external hard disk) the following information here regarding

(1) /boot/grub/menu.lst
(2) /boot/grub/device.map
(3) /etc/fstab
(4) output of "fdisk -l"

If you don't know how to get them, then boot up the Ubuntu CD and type
Code:
sudo su
fdisk -l
and copy and paste screen content here. We can then advise.
 
Old 09-23-2007, 12:13 PM   #8
Daniel_C
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Registered: Sep 2007
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Wow, thanks Saikee for the lesson...

Sorry not to repost sooner...

What's weird is that my USB drive has been sda all along, and internal hdc.
So, I downloaded Ubunto and intalled to the USB drive.

It works with no fuss !!

Although, the grub menu comes up loading stage1_5, BUT if my USB drive is not powered and connected, I get error 21.

So i am guessing that Grub is installed on my internal drive which has a FAT partition at the beginning. Then looks for the rest of the Grub files on the USB drive.

I would like to not have the USB drive connected just to boot windoze.

Thanks again for your help.
Let me know what other info you need and I will post it.
 
Old 09-25-2007, 06:29 PM   #9
saikee
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If you want to move Grub into USB disk exclusively post info 1, 2, 3 & 4 in Post #7

I believe you have not told the Bios to boot USB hard disk first so its installer into the MBR into the hdc even though you managed to install Ubuntu itself into sda.

To get Windows to boot as before Linux installation Task B1 and B2 of the last link in my signature refer.
 
  


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