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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?


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Old 11-30-2006, 08:35 PM   #1
Registered: Nov 2006
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running linux from USB HD

This is just a general question really. I have a laptop and wish to run linux as well as windows but i want to run linux from a USB hard drive. IS this possible or would it be better to do a convnetional dual boot setup? Any help would be much appreciated.

Old 11-30-2006, 09:20 PM   #2
Registered: Jul 2005
Distribution: Debian, Ubuntu
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Your BIOS must have the option to boot from USB.

If you already have Windows installed, you could install Linux on a USB drive and save your Windows partition. Otherwise, you'll have to back up your Windows partition and reformat the drive.
Old 12-01-2006, 05:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by king111
Your BIOS must have the option to boot from USB.

If you already have Windows installed, you could install Linux on a USB drive and save your Windows partition. Otherwise, you'll have to back up your Windows partition and reformat the drive.
If you want to install on the same hard drive as Windows there is an easier way. Download the "System Rescue CD" (, boot from it and use gparted to resize your Windows partition. Although it's a console based live distro, you can still run gparted in graphical mode by entering the command "run_gparted". Then you can install Linux in the space you freed up. Of course, before resizing your partition you should backup your data. Actually, you should always have your data backed up anyway, but there's nothing like loosing all of your data once to teach you that lesson.
Old 12-01-2006, 06:43 AM   #4
Registered: Mar 2006
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you could fo course also use a live cd ,err live usb stick. damn small linux comes to mind but there are others
Old 12-01-2006, 06:54 AM   #5
Registered: Dec 2005
Location: Espaņa
Distribution: Fedora Core 8 + Debian 4.0 + Vista
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I'm on my way of doing the same as you for a standard debian/etch, but've encountered some problems (due to my ignorance, I see...)

AFAIK, what we need to accomplish this task is to make a initial ram disk (initrd) with usb support, that loads all the needed drivers at startup, wait until they are correctly active and then mounts the usbHD partition.

When you accomplish this, you have only to tweak your boot loader configuration and add some new lines to boot this new partition (this second one is the easy part).

I'm trying to make the initrd but have little time and experience, should be easy with a baby step guide . The man page of initrd is Chinese to me...

Let me know your advances, please. I'll keep you informed if I get something.

PS: I leave you some links that help me realizing what the tasks were:
Old 12-02-2006, 10:42 AM   #6
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Registered: Aug 2005
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I am not partial to any distro yet, but, I have prepared some bootable linux USB "sticks" with Puppy Linux. They have a good tutorial at their site, and the software comes with an installer that does the installation to USB.
Just my 2 cents, or maybe 1 1/2.
Old 12-04-2006, 02:54 AM   #7
Registered: Nov 2006
Posts: 58

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thanks guys for all the help, its much appreciated.



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