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Old 10-01-2003, 08:19 AM   #1
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Distribution: Mandrake, Redhat, Gentoo
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Booting up with a USB hard drive?

Is there someone that knows how to setup a hard drive to boot up Mandrake 9.1 using a USB connected hard drive? I have a disk that has Mandrake installed and runs just fine as IDE number one (or zero as the case may be). I transferred it to an external USB drive, made the appropriate changes to the BIOS and tried to boot up Mandrake from the disk. It starts out all right but then the kernal "panics" because it can't find a proper file system on the IDE disk.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Old 10-17-2003, 05:27 PM   #2
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Heidelberg, Germany
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I know it has been a while since you posted, so you may have already solved this problem.

What are you using as your bootloader? Did you adjust its configuration file to look for your boot partition on the USB drive?

What exactly does the error message say? Did you install another drive on the IDE controller?
Old 10-17-2003, 07:17 PM   #3
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It has been such a long time since I posted this problem I had nearly forgotton about it. I went to the Gentoo distribution and after finally getting that installed successfully I think I might be able to "fix" the Mandrake USB harddrive. I don't know what bootloader is used but I will use Grub and make the necessary changes to have it look at /dev/sda instead of /dev/hda. From the message I had been getting it is quite obvious that I didn't know much about configuring the bootloader. One of the disadvantages of Mandrake; too much is done for the user.

Thanks for the input even if it is a tad tardy. It is interesting to see that old questions never die and eventually get a response.

Old 10-17-2003, 07:31 PM   #4
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I don't think you'll be able to boot Linux from an external usb drive unless it's supported in the bios. If it isn't, then the Linux kernel & initrd have to be loaded from a regular hard disk. If the usb disk works in Linux, then you can put the rest of the Mandrake/Gentoo stuff on there. The Mandrake initrd may have been causing the problem. I think it somehow overrides the root=/dev/<device> that's given to the kernel.
Old 10-17-2003, 11:15 PM   #5
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I am quite sure that in order to boot linux from a USB drive that it must be supported by the BIOS. In my case, it is. As to the problem you mentioned with initrd in Mandrake, it always looks for an IDE drive. I suppose that if I had built the system using the USB drive it would have inserted the proper addressing. In any case, I have decided to go with Gentoo which works very well for this type of installation and has plenty of information available to me a relative newcomer.

Thanks for the assist.


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