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-   -   Can I install Linux on External USB Hard Drive? (https://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-general-1/can-i-install-linux-on-external-usb-hard-drive-532134/)

TigerLinux 02-24-2007 09:43 PM

Can I install Linux on External USB Hard Drive?
 
Can I install Linux on External USB Hard Drive?
Let's say I plug in the USB 2.0 hard drive first and then boot a Suse DVD installation disk, can it detect the external hard drive and install linux onto it?

3rdKey 02-24-2007 09:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TigerLinux
Can I install Linux on External USB Hard Drive?
Let's say I plug in the USB 2.0 hard drive first and then boot a Suse DVD installation disk, can it detect the external hard drive and install linux onto it?

Yes. Actually there's several different ways to do it. If you go into your BIOS and boot from the DVD, it should automatically detect your USB drive. If it does not, then your BIOS does not support USB booting. Should that be the case, you'll need to use a live boot CD (ex: MandrivaOne @ http://www.mandriva.com/community/mandrivaone) and then you can install directly from the CD onto the USB drive.

One cool thing you can do is, depending on the distro, actually boot up from a USB flash drive. See http://www.pendrivelinux.com

Hope that helps out with some of your questions!

J.W. 02-24-2007 10:10 PM

You can definitely install Linux onto a USB device, but whether or not you can boot from that USB device depends on your BIOS

TigerLinux 02-24-2007 10:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 3rdKey
Yes. Actually there's several different ways to do it. If you go into your BIOS and boot from the DVD, it should automatically detect your USB drive. If it does not, then your BIOS does not support USB booting. Should that be the case, you'll need to use a live boot CD (ex: MandrivaOne @ http://www.mandriva.com/community/mandrivaone) and then you can install directly from the CD onto the USB drive.

One cool thing you can do is, depending on the distro, actually boot up from a USB flash drive. See http://www.pendrivelinux.com

Hope that helps out with some of your questions!

Can I install Suse linux on external USB hard drive? I mean the computer will boot from internal hard drive, the boot loader is installed in MBR, but the whole thing of Suse is in external hard drive.

3rdKey 02-25-2007 08:26 AM

Yes. During the installation, have Suse install to that hdd. It will partition it and install automatically.

TigerLinux 02-25-2007 08:31 AM

I installed the whole suse 10.1 on external HDD, and chose to install the bootloader in SDA1, this make my external HDD to be bootable, of course, the BIOS of the PC must be set to boot from USB drive.

TigerLinux 02-25-2007 08:31 AM

in this case, i can carry my Suse linux everywhere! Great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3rdKey 02-26-2007 08:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TigerLinux
I installed the whole suse 10.1 on external HDD, and chose to install the bootloader in SDA1, this make my external HDD to be bootable, of course, the BIOS of the PC must be set to boot from USB drive.

Great! Good to hear you got everything working!

TigerLinux 02-26-2007 10:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 3rdKey
Great! Good to hear you got everything working!

yeah, it is great that I can carry my Suse to everywhere, so long as the PC or notebook can boot from USB drive, my suse can run!:p

Chief_Leavitt 03-01-2007 03:59 PM

I gave it a go and wrote over my MBR.
 
I can't boot without my USB HD plugged in now..... wtf?

TigerLinux 03-01-2007 05:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chief_Leavitt
I can't boot without my USB HD plugged in now..... wtf?

probably due to your bootloader is not installed in /dev/sda1 ?

saikee 03-01-2007 05:14 PM

Remember a USB hard disk is regarded as a SCSI/Sata device with name sda, sdb, sdc etc.

The name assigned to the external disk is also affected by the order it is detected.

If a user has an internal Sata which is detected first and got the sda status the external hard disk would be sdb. Putting the boot loader in the MBR in such a case means the Linux is effectively booted from an internal disk.


I managed to boot Suse 10.3 with with a kernel sourced from Fedora Core 6 in a zero internal disk environment. It is one of the 12 systems I installed into an external hard disk over a weekend.

Some distros can be installed and booted without modification but some need extra work, as indicated by this thread.

Zaphael 10-26-2007 12:03 AM

Hi, I'm quite a newcomer to linux. Haven't used much of it except for some lab exercises in my school.

I was trying to install ubuntu 7.04 onto my Samsung External 2.5 hard disk, plugged via USB2.0. Installation was successful, and even clicked the "advanced" setting to install the bootrecord / grub *I don't know* on the external hard disks' linux root partition.

I set my BIOS to boot in order of CD/DVD -> USB Storage -> internal HDD. Even without so, i can hit f12 to pick which device i want to boot, but I set the boot sequence anyways.

However, I wasn't able to boot up into ubuntu at all. When I select to boot solely from the USB Storage, nothing happens. I read no activity on my external hard disk, and the laptop resets and goes through the boot sequence again if I do not interrupt it.

Strange thing I noticed was that when I selected to boot up through internal HDD, i notice some GRLDR blah blah A20 success.... lots of words, but barely 5 secs to take note. Then Vista's Bootloader takes over, and boots up my Windows Vista.

I've scoured the net looking for ways to make this work, including getting vista's bootloader to select and boot ubuntu, but always ran into a brick wall. Namely, the system would reset, reboot.

I did my installation according to instructions from this site.
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=80811&page=55
Tried to get help from there, but I haven't got any replies.

TigerLinux 04-21-2008 12:54 PM

it is even easier to install ubuntu onto flash drive.

saikee 04-21-2008 05:35 PM

Zaphael,

Your problem is not having the boot loader Grub in the MBR of the external disk.

This you can fix as follow

(1) Boot up Ubuntu CD and use it as a Live CD
(2) Select Application/Accessories/terminal
(3) Become the root user by command
Code:

sudo su
(4) Invoke a Grub shell by command
Code:

grub
(5) Ask Grub to show you the partitions of every disk by command
Code:

geometry (hd0)
geometry (hd1)

(6) Scan the (hd0) and (hd1) to know which one has Vista and which one has Ubuntu. The one with Vista will have a partition ID=7 meaning it is a ntfs partition. Ubuntu always has partition ID=83 and its swap has ID=82.

(7) say if Ubuntu is in (hd1) then Grub will be in the 1st partition known to Grub as (hd1,0), as Grub counts from zero. You can restore Grub to the MBR by commands
Code:

root (hd1,0)
setup (hd1)
quit

In the above change hd1 to hd0 if needed but my guess is your (hd0) should be Vista if you boot up the Ubuntu CD.

(8) Log off Ubuntu CD and reboot and Grub should be there waiting for you to boot Ubuntu.


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