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Robert.Thompson 12-07-2009 09:28 AM

Best USB external hard drive for linux
Lenovo x61 Laptop
SUSE 11.2


Does it matter which external hard drive I buy?

Is there anything special that I must consider?



TB0ne 12-07-2009 11:03 AM


Originally Posted by Robert.Thompson (Post 3782724)
Lenovo x61 Laptop
SUSE 11.2

Does it matter which external hard drive I buy?
Is there anything special that I must consider?

There have been reported difficulties with some of the Western Digital drives, the ones with their own built-in software (forget the model now, though), but aside from that, you should have no worries.

I've got several Firewire and USB hard drive enclosures with my old laptop drives in them, and have never had an issue. I've also used lots of others from different manufacturers, and all have worked without a problem, and that goes for flash drives too.

If you're using Lancelot (under KDE4 in've got the same distro I'm using...), you can click Computer, and on the right hand pane, you should see the drives you've got available. Plug in your new drive, and it should 'appear'...right click, then click MOUNT. You're ready to go.

On a related topic...that may work with your Novatel on your other thread. :)

jefro 12-07-2009 05:26 PM

Look for one that states it is for Linux.

Robert.Thompson 12-08-2009 07:59 PM


I purchased a WD 'My Passport Essential' USB 2.0 320GB external hard drive as recommended by the sales person at Best Buy when I asked for a drive to put linux on.

Now I have 2 questions:

1) Can I install more than 1 linux distribution, say SUSE 11.2 & Simply Mepis 8.0, on the same disk or is that too difficult for an absolute 'linux know-nothing'?

2) Where do I get instructions to have linux boot from this drive when it is connected?

If there is anything else I must know, do or read before I attempt this, I would appreciate any advice.



Wifi-Fanatux 12-09-2009 07:13 AM

USB Linux
Here's a review on an installed OpenSUSE 11.1 to a Maxtor external hard drive You can go to a link to download a GRUB iso to burn to CD to load your distro from the USB drive When you do install OpenSUSE to the external drive, do not switch the disk order. The installer gets them in the right order.
You can also change the BIOS order to boot from the USB. If you leave a flash drive in the USB drive, it will also be included as one of the drives detected by the BIOS, and could change the drive number (as well as detecting them in a different order each time you boot). OpenSUSE uses UUID numbers to assign, but GRUB will use the sda/hda labelling.
Google "gparted partitioning multiple operating systems", and you will find tons of tutorials in just about every configuration you could dream of. Your simply Mepis CD should have Gparted (drive partitioner), and the tutorials will show you how.

BTW, the WD drive mentioned is the Darkstar (aka. "Deathstar")

Robert.Thompson 12-09-2009 06:42 PM


Before I proceed with this external hard drive installation, I would like the linux installation on my laptop to be gone - how do I accomplish this?



Wifi-Fanatux 12-09-2009 07:13 PM

New Post
That's an unrelated post.

Robert.Thompson 12-09-2009 08:59 PM

I don't understand what you mean...

Wifi-Fanatux 12-10-2009 06:29 AM

Best USB external hard drive for linux
Your post "Best USB external hard drive for linux"
will generate interest from forum members trying to help you with finding the best USB hard drive for Linux.

Your next to last post asks "I would like the linux installation on my laptop to be gone - how do I accomplish this?"
would be best served by creating a new post so that forum members can try to assist you in achieving this goal. It is also helpful for other linux users interested in removing a linux from their internal hard drives to be able to browse posts related to this so as to not be burdoned with reading every post on this thread when performing a search for this particular task.

Robert.Thompson 12-10-2009 06:50 AM

Thank you.

Wifi-Fanatux 12-11-2009 07:45 AM

Just reply back to this post if you need more help on the install to USB. I keep the post subscribed in my LQ, so I usually read those posts first. Just remember to read the bootloader section in the OpenSUSE review and don't load GRUB to the MBR, load it to the root partition that you are installing to.

I like the USB installs so that I can plug the distro into any computer that it can detect the video card for. That's why I created the GRUB CD.... I don't have to change the BIOS order on a friend's computer. There's also a neat hack to run sax2 with OpenSUSE during boot if I need to write over the xorg config file when booting into another computer. But not sure if that's what you're interested in. Remember that it runs a bit slower than on your internal drive and will be determined by the transfer speed of the external drive. But of course it's much faster than a live dvd/cd.

Robert.Thompson 12-11-2009 08:02 PM


I have not been able to remove SUSE 11.2 from my hard disk, I hope this will not be a problem as I move forward...

I have a Gparted iso CD but do not know what I am suppose to do with it. I booted my PC with it 'to have a look see' and I saw: Linux - USB Drive
Windows/Linux (sda1 - Internal drive)
Linux (sda2 Internal drive)
I 'selected' the USB drive and got the error msg 21. I ALT CTRL DELETED and got the hell out of there!

I printed and read the review you did - a lot of it is over my head, for now.

I printed and read the SUSE 11.1 installation guide from OpenSuse.

I feel like just shoving the SUSE 11.2 Gnome CD into the drive and 'going for it'!

I won't do it because I find that 'getting rid' of linux after it is installed is almost impossible.

So, what should I try to do with Gparted?



Robert.Thompson 12-12-2009 07:51 PM


Update on the Western Digital 'My Passport Essential' 320GB USB external drive.

I was unable to get SUSE 11.2 or Mepis 8.0 to partition and install until I formatted it from XP. Once I did that, the Mepis install program worked perfectly - like I would know :) By install I mean that it created all the folders etc on the external disk. I could not get it to launch Mepis but, that's another story.(and thread).

For some reason, the SUSE 11.2 would no longer function, ie, it would not boot. (into the 'use / install' mode)

That's is my experience, so far, with this external drive.

Wifi-Fanatux 12-13-2009 09:20 AM

You can use the Mepis live CD and open Gparted from the menu.
You then click the button at the top right of the Gparted GUI to access the external USB drive.
If you want to use the entire USB drive for the SUSE install, you need to highlight each partition and click the garbage can icon to delete that partition. Then apply.
With a clean hard drive, you add new partitions, again a google search as recommended above will more than likely show screenshots of the process as well as recomendations for sizes and types of partitions to create.
With a drive the size of 320 GB, you can use it all, or save a portion for othe distros you might try later....perhaps:
sdb1 25GB (25000 mb) filetype: ext3 (to use as /)
sdb2 25GB (25000 mb) filetype: ntsb (to use to share files with widows)
sdb3 External Partition
sdb5 50GB (50000 mb) filetype: ext3 (to use as /home)
sdb6 50GB (50000 mb) filetype: ext3 (to use as backup storage)

I like having a separate home in case I want to upgrade, and like it pretty large for using virtual box which needs a large amount of space if you want to test distros in a virtual machine.

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