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Old 01-29-2005, 03:30 PM   #1
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IBM T42 with USB External HDD install question

First post (well second) The first post didn't work because I tried posting a link .. guess you have to have 5 posts before doing so. Anyway here is what I was asking

I am new to Linux but not Unix. The company I work for upgraded my laptop to an IBM T42 and it supports USB Bootable devices including HDD via the BIOS. I need to install Linux on my system but due to the companies load out on the laptop I can't repartition the drive to make the primary drive dual boot.

My question is has anyone tried to do a dual boot with Linux installed on an external USB2.0/firewire HDD? If so has anyone tried the installation on the new Mini USB HDD made by either Apricorn or Iomega 20 or 40 GB drives ? If so what versions (Suse / Fedora /etc... ) have been successful

I just purchased a Maxtor 120GB drive today and the thing is a tank and for carrying everyday or nearly everyday I would rather use the Apricorn or Iomega Mini HDD's


Old 02-01-2005, 06:22 PM   #2
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T42 Options

Your question actually prompted me to register. Figure that!

What you speak of regarding dual booting using a USB/Firewire drive is possible, although I have not done it myself. So long as the USB drive is recognized as a bootable device, should work without a hitch. Be forewarned, if you intend to use a large USB key flash drive...not all of them can be configured as bootable.

A couple of options you may not have considered:

1. Resize your current partition to make room for a Linux partition (or more). Hack #74 in O'Reilly's outstanding title, "Knoppix Hacks" provides insight into how to do this easiily using QTParted or ntfsresize, both of which are installed on the CD included with the book. This is not for the faint at heart, and requires you to defragment your existing partition prior to the resize for optimum results, but it is a viable solution. I've used it myself.

2. There is a hard drive adapter for the new slim Ultrabay port in the T42 line. This allows you to add a second 2.5" hard drive that will be recognized as a second native IDE device for your partitioning (or backup) pleasure. The part can be found here:

If that fails to provide you with a page (as IBM specific addresses sometimes go away), I found it from the main IBM page under Upgrades and accessories -> Thinkpad upgrades -> Drives/storage -> Hard drives. Part number is 62P4554.


Old 02-02-2005, 07:05 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response!! those are all things I have recently looked at and decided against the USB external drive option. After some conversations with our linux guru's at the office I decided to use Knoppix to restructure the hard drive. You are right it is not for the faint hearted especially if you are messing with company property like that... but then again its for work related stuff. Ah company politics. anyway knoppix 3.7 (12/8/2004) worked like a champ. I just used that the other day and now getting ready to install Suse 9.2. probably tomorrow.

I did look at the internal drive bay for IBM with a second drive but it limits your capabilities of installing other softwares from cd /dvd. Plus the costs would initially be incurred by me.

It was a fun learning exercise and again thank you for your response.


Last edited by eshurtle; 02-02-2005 at 07:08 PM.
Old 02-20-2005, 05:41 AM   #4
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Happy to hear things worked out. The Knoppix book CD uses the oldest version of the ntfs resizing tool (ntfsresize what QTParted utilizes too) what indeed needed defragmentation and other tricks sometimes as rt_clik also mentioned previously. However Knoppix 3.7 uses the latest one that doesn't need defragmentetion at all prior NTFS resizing: (see the Knoppix entry in the table)
Old 02-21-2005, 01:18 PM   #5
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On the T42 it is easy to Dual Boot (well I wouldn't consider it dual booting) from an external HDD. At bootup just hit F2 at the IBM Splash screen to go into the BIOS and, then startup, then boot and then use the F6 key to move the USB HDD to the top and when it is plugged in it will default to that instead of the internal HDD.

If that isn't what you are looking for go with the previous advice because that would be the way to go if you dont want to lug around and external HDD.


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