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Old 07-10-2009, 09:25 PM   #1
mf93
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Registered: Jun 2009
Distribution: Debian Squeeze, centOS
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problem with installing debian onto external hard drive/grub bootloader error "21"


I've been running Debian Lenny kernel 2.6.26 w/ desktop kde3.5 on my laptop for a while, and im going to take a trip in which i will be unable to take wmy laptop with me. However, where i am going contains computers and i figured if i could install debian onto my external harddrive, i could just boot onto the other computers. I install it using the debianlenny-i386 dvd image. However whenever I try to boot it from a computer. Grub returns
Code:
Grub Loading...
Error 21
and then the blinkng cursor. On one site i found something saying "you may need to activat the drive" and some command-line instructions on how to do it. However the commands have faded from memory and i am now unable to find that site again. Could anyone offer insight on how to fix this "grub error 21" or how to activate it. I run primarily debian but i have a windows partition on one of my relative's computers.
Thank you in advance for the help!!!
btw I'm installing on a western digital 500gb "passport" external hard drive with ext3 and swap partitions.

Last edited by mf93; 07-10-2009 at 09:28 PM. Reason: left something out...
 
Old 07-12-2009, 06:38 AM   #2
syg00
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Looks like your BIOS doesn't support booting from the external.
 
Old 07-12-2009, 10:12 AM   #3
mf93
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lol yes i have 2 monthly backup disks
 
Old 07-12-2009, 10:15 AM   #4
mf93
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Also when i check my bios it lists booting from external drive as an option however when i install using the debian dvd i install the bootloader to the master boot record which was what the guide instructed me to do...is there anywhere else to load the MBR and if so how do i specify it?
 
Old 07-14-2009, 05:16 PM   #5
DaneM
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Try this at a command prompt, as root (using a bootable CD or whatever):

Code:
#comments look like this; don't type them.

grub

find /boot/grub/stage1   #This will tell you which HD should be root.  This should be on hd1 or greater, NOT on hd0 (assuming that you have an internal hard drive).  If it doesn't tell you, you can guess for the next step.
root (hdx,y)   #Assuming that the partition where /boot/grub/stage1 resides is on hard drive x (1, 2, ...), partition y (1, 2, ...).
setup (hdx)   # Using the value of x from the previous command.
Now, it should give you a menu when you try to boot from the external drive (by telling your computer to do so via BIOS). Next, you need to make sure that your /boot/grub/menu.lst is set-up right. The entry for your external should look something like this:

Code:
title		Debian
uuid		ed55900d-b90b-46a6-be23-3a2c5b48c040
kernel		/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.28-11-generic root=UUID=ed55900d-b90b-46a6-be23-3a2c5b48c040 ro quiet splash 
initrd		/boot/initrd.img-2.6.28-11-generic
quiet
(Assuming that you know the uuid of your external Debian partition; you can obtain this using the vol_id or blkid commands.) This is the preferred method, because different computers might see your external as hd1, or hd3, or whatever, depending on the computer's setup and number of hard drives. The quiet and splash options on the kernel line are completely optional.


...or like this:

Code:
title		Debian
root            (hdx,y)  #using the values of x and y above.
kernel		/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.28-11-generic root=UUID=ed55900d-b90b-46a6-be23-3a2c5b48c040 ro quiet splash 
initrd		/boot/initrd.img-2.6.28-11-generic
quiet
Don't forget to change the kernel and initrd lines to point to the correct files (kernel/vmlinuz image, and initrd image, respectively) in /boot/.

If you get a menu, but can't boot your installation, try highlighting Debian and pressing "e" to edit the options. Then press "b" to boot when you're done.

Hope that helps!

--Dane
 
Old 07-22-2009, 07:10 PM   #6
mf93
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wow thats really precise...anyway ill try it when i get back to my debian laptop in the meantime your answer was extremely thorough and youve helped me solve a problem thats been bothering me 4evr. Thank you!
 
  


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