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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 12-08-2009, 11:53 AM   #1
battro
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How can I boot from a USB hard drive without BIOS support and no HDD?


I have a laptop going on 9 years old that I'm trying to rescue. Its IDE controller is broken and its bios doesn't support booting from USB devices.

I was able to install Debian on an old Western Digital HDD and put it in an enclosure to connect to the laptop via USB. When I use a livecd such as debian's or ubuntu's, it can see the drive and I can mount it/access its files/etc. But what I want to do is boot from it and have it run as a normal install rather than it being installed as a livecd.

I tried the PLoP boot manager but it freezes when trying to access the boot sector.
I tried a Slax boot cd but it wants to boot a Slax install on a usb drive and doesn't seem to be able to work with other distros.

Is there anything out there which will load up usb drivers and then boot from a usb drive as if it's a regular drive?

I have access to the following:
Windows 7 system (with burner)
Debian system (with burner)
debian live cd (cli only)
ubuntu livedvd
slax boot cd
PLoP boot cd

Thanks
 
Old 12-08-2009, 12:36 PM   #2
colorpurple21859
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with plop boot try "ctrl enter" sometimes that helps when selecting drives
 
Old 12-08-2009, 03:25 PM   #3
battro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colorpurple21859 View Post
with plop boot try "ctrl enter" sometimes that helps when selecting drives
No change. It sees the drive (WDC WD80), shows what appears to be a device number, goes to "Loading Boot Sector..." and then freezes.
 
Old 12-08-2009, 03:41 PM   #4
linus72
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you using plop off hard drive or cd?

try putting the plpbt.bin on a partition and it might work better

or download the one I use LINK> plpbt

it doesn't install, its just the booter part

heres sample grrub menu.lst entry for plop

Code:
title plop
root (hdx,x)
kernel /plpbt
 
Old 12-08-2009, 04:00 PM   #5
battro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linus72 View Post
you using plop off hard drive or cd?

try putting the plpbt.bin on a partition and it might work better

or download the one I use LINK> plpbt

it doesn't install, its just the booter part

heres sample grrub menu.lst entry for plop

Code:
title plop
root (hdx,x)
kernel /plpbt
PLOP is running from a CD because I don't have a working hard drive.
 
Old 12-08-2009, 04:18 PM   #6
linus72
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oh
sorry

um...
can you instal plop to MBR without drive?
if so I would do that
 
Old 12-08-2009, 06:51 PM   #7
exvor
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I don't think this is going to be possible without having the boot cd in there at all times. Reason is your bios does not have support to boot from usb so you have to boot from some type of media that it can boot from. You can of course load linux onto a usb key and boot from a cd and have it load the linux on the usb drive that would be possible. Just use some live distro that lets you modify the grub menu or you can make a custom boot cd with grub on it.

Remember when loading linux on a usb key there are some options that you may wanna use such as rootdelay and usb-storage.delay_use=1. The first option will delay root to allow the usb drivers to pop on and the second will allow the drivers to come up faster.
 
Old 12-09-2009, 03:45 PM   #8
battro
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Originally Posted by exvor View Post
I don't think this is going to be possible without having the boot cd in there at all times. Reason is your bios does not have support to boot from usb so you have to boot from some type of media that it can boot from. You can of course load linux onto a usb key and boot from a cd and have it load the linux on the usb drive that would be possible. Just use some live distro that lets you modify the grub menu or you can make a custom boot cd with grub on it.

Remember when loading linux on a usb key there are some options that you may wanna use such as rootdelay and usb-storage.delay_use=1. The first option will delay root to allow the usb drivers to pop on and the second will allow the drivers to come up faster.
That's fine, I just want the OS to be running from the hard drive. And it's not a USB key/flash drive, it's a hard disk drive connected through a USB enclosure.
 
Old 12-09-2009, 07:41 PM   #9
exvor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by battro View Post
That's fine, I just want the OS to be running from the hard drive. And it's not a USB key/flash drive, it's a hard disk drive connected through a USB enclosure.
Ehh same issues arise since its using USB to connect to the laptop. Also reading my previous post and having a better idea of what your trying to do I am not sure if grub has the necessary drivers to access usb media. Grub2 probably does but that requires more tinkering.

Last edited by exvor; 12-09-2009 at 07:43 PM.
 
  


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