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squimmy 10-16-2006 01:52 PM

Linux and external hard drives

How does linux support external drives? I'm looking to purchase a new hard drive(mainly to install linux on!) and seeing as my current and only internal hard drive bay is already used up, I have no choice other than an external hard drive.

So, is an external drive suitable for installing an OS? And how is linux's support for them.


AChi 10-16-2006 03:44 PM

Linux should recognize external harddrives just fine. Most of the time if it is connected into a usb port it seems to be recognized as one of the sd* devices.

As for using it to install on I'm not entierly sure how the booting to it would work. You would have to still overwrite the MBR on your main drive and probably have /boot on there as well but I'm not entierly sure.

aikempshall 10-17-2006 01:58 AM

I have slackware installed on an external 20gb USB drive. As long as your machine can boot of an external drive you don't need to touch the mbr of the INTERNAL drive. The Bios on my machine recognises the EXTERNAL drive as just another hard drive. When I boot my machine, from the Bios, I just tell it which hard drive I want to boot from.

There's lots of info on this site as to what to do next. Best bet is to ensure that you produce a CD/DVD boot disk that gets you back into Linux on the EXTERNAL drive. There's a thread raised recently that draws a number o threads together on this subject.

Good luck

squimmy 10-17-2006 11:24 AM

How would this work with a boot loader? Is it somehow possible for me to get a boot loader to give me the option of not only selecting what operating system on the internal hdd to boot, but also giving me the choice of booting from the external drive? Just like grub, but with a boot from external drive option.

Is that at all possible?

aikempshall 10-17-2006 01:43 PM

I have lilo on the external hardrive. It will boot to W2000 on the internal harddrive but I don't bother, if i want to boot into W2000 I boot up with the external harddrive not attached.


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