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Need more info to give you accurate instructions. Incidentally, what happened (installing Grub to mbr of primary disk) is default behavior and if you don't want that you need to manually make changes. Assuming you can log into your system, run this command:
sudo fdisk -l (Lower case Letter L, not a one)
Post the output here.
Post the output of the file /boot/grub/menu.lst
Number and type of operating systems would be helpful also, particularly what you have on the internal drive and how you boot it. If you place Grub for Ubuntu only on the mbr of the external drive, you will need to change BIOS boot order whenever you want to boot it.
And then to restore a Windows equivalent MBR to your sda drive so you can boot directly into Windows if you boot the sda drive:
sudo lilo -M /dev/sda mbr
Then reboot, set your BIOS to boot the external sdb drive, and you should at least get the Grub menu on start up. If you are using Intrepid, the Ubuntu entries in the Grub menu should work, but if you are using a previous Ubuntu version, most likely the Ubuntu entries will give you a Grub error and require a small fix. How about seeing if you can get this far, or let us know if you run into problems.
Thanks CJS, i`m not using Intrepid, i`m using 8.04.1.
I have followed your hints and could get the Grub menu, but as you said, i got this error message :
Error 17: Cannot load the selected partition.
OK, go ahead and reboot again, and when you get the Grub menu on start up, select the first Ubuntu entry, press "e" to edit it, select the line that says "root (hd1,0)", press "e" to edit it, change it to "root (hd0,0)", press return to save the change, then press "b" to boot. As long as your Grub's current menu.lst isn't too far off (which I woudn't expect), that should be all it takes to boot Ubuntu. Note that the above change is not permanent, so you'll need to modify your menu.lst to make it permanent.
So if it works, when you get into Ubuntu, just do:
gksudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
And change the line that says "#groot=(hd1,0)" to use (hd0,0):
Save, quit gedit, then run:
And you should be all set. Let me know how it goes or if you run into problems.