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Old 08-29-2004, 12:06 PM   #1
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Registered: Aug 2004
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Booting Linux on USB Hard Drive

I want a version of linux that can be booted from a USB Hard Drive. I do not want to play around with MBR or partion table of my notebook hard drive. What i want is if I insert a CDROM and restart my computer it should boot in linux and then my USB drive takes over from there and I should be able to take the CDROM drive out and still continue to work on Linux using only the USB hard drive. In case no cdrom and boot, windows should boot up.
Old 08-29-2004, 03:10 PM   #2
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: New England area, US
Distribution: Mandrake 9.2
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Look into "mandrake move" if you want something like this. Granted you'll be paying $(I don't know) for it, but what I read the other day indicates it'll boot off the CD, take user information (/home and whatnot) off a USB drive, and supposedly allow you to swap the CD out for others. I've never used this, so do some homework. I believe mandrake-move is based on 9.2. Slashdot had an article that their newest gizmo is an external USB hard-drive-with-mandrake on it; to what degree any generic system can boot out of this is beyond my experience; this will also be pricey as you're buying a HD along with the convenience features.

You might also look into a Knoppix (sp?) CD that I believe does a similar thing, but I'm not directly familiar with the capabilities. There's bound to be a few home-brew spin-offs offering similar things now-a-days.
Old 08-29-2004, 05:53 PM   #3
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Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Sydney
Distribution: debian
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Starting from any distro you like...

1. Does your BIOS allow booting from USB devices? If so maybe you can just do a standard installation on the USB drive and set it as first boot device.

2. Do you have a floppy drive? Most installation methods give the option of making a boot floppy.

3. You may be able to install to the USB drive and then reboot using the installation CD by giving the right kernel parameters at the boot prompt.

4. Failing all this, you can install to the USB drive and make your own boot CD using e.g. the isolinux boot loader:

I'm not familiar with this myself - I guess it needs a bit of technical know-how to set up. Isolinux is a variant of syslinux, the standard bootloader for boot floppies.


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