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Old 09-09-2004, 02:52 AM   #1
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unable to boot from my external usb HD

After having read several articles on the web on how to install linux on a external removable usb hard drive, I did.

I installed successfuly the last fedora distro. From what I read, the only thing to be careful of was to make sure my BIOS boots from external drives (which it does - I have a laptop), and not to install the boot loader on the MBR of my internal drive, but rather on the boot partition of my usb hard drive. Which I did. And then normally it should boot linux automatically whenever I have my drive plugged into my PC, otherwise it starts Windows (which I have installed of course in my internal drive, and there's no issue changing anything into it).

From what I read in several posts in this forum and in others, some guys did that with absolutely no problem. But as far as I am concerned, I just can't boot linux in any way. If I plug my disk it's absolutely the same as if I don't.

Is it a installation problem, or a bios problem ? Can anyone help me ?Is there anyway for fixing this problem ? I didn't try it on another computer. And also, I don't think I see at startup the little led on my external drive twikling, meaning it's being accessed...

Thank you in advance.


PS ; There's also another issue I just remembered : the linux partitions on my external drive start from the second. The first is an ntfs partition which I use for backup, which existed before installing linux. Maybe is it a problem ?

Last edited by alxp; 09-09-2004 at 02:56 AM.
Old 09-09-2004, 03:16 AM   #2
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welcome to LQ alxp!!!


yeah, it sounds like your board is trying to boot the first (ntfs) partition, which i'm assuming isn't bootable...

if that's the case, you need to adjust whatever bootloader you're using, or you can boot the linux partition from a linux boot cd until you re-arrange the partition scheme you're using...

Last edited by win32sux; 09-09-2004 at 03:24 AM.
Old 09-09-2004, 12:11 PM   #3
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Fedora among other distros use an initrd i.e. initial RAM disk to boot. initrd is mainly designed to allow system startup to occur in two phases, where the kernel comes up with a minimum set of compiled-in drivers, and where additional modules are loaded from initrd. The initrd does not contain the USB modules so the kernel can not mount the filesystem on the drive. To boot from a USB drive you will need to add the USB modules to the initrd.

You didn't post any error messages so I am assuming this to be the case.
Old 09-10-2004, 02:29 AM   #4
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Thank you for your answers, and for welcoming me !

I already read what michaelk says in his post, but also heard that it should not be necessary with the last distro of Fedora, as it now loads by default usb and scsi modules (not firewire). Otherwise I could not install Fedora could I ?

The fact is that I resolved this problem, and it was a stupid thing from me : I just didn't put the external hard drive to boot before the internal one in the bios boot sequence (they're both recognized just as hard disks, while I thought the external was recognized under removable devices...)

So now my laptop boots the external drive, but I come with a new problem now. Booting hangs on a black screen with this tiny message displayed : GRUB Geom Error. Never seen it before...
Old 09-10-2004, 06:25 AM   #5
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before you go any further, i'd suggest booting the linux partition from your rescue cd, so at least you'll know it's working (and won't pointlessly try to fix grub)...

then you can focus on the bootloader issue...

Geom Error
The location of the stage2 or stage1.5 is not in the portion of the disk supported directly by the BIOS read calls. This could occur because the BIOS translated geometry has been changed by the user or the disk is moved to another machine or controller after installation, or GRUB was not installed using itself (if it was, the Stage 2 version of this error would have been seen during that process and it would not have completed the install).

Last edited by win32sux; 09-10-2004 at 06:26 AM.


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