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Old 11-12-2005, 07:25 AM   #1
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How To Put Linux On Portable Hdd?

Hello All, I am a Linux baby, in fact I havent even been born into the linux world yet, but I do so want to be

All I want to do to start with is put linux onto my portable HDD, but I dont know how So the question is:
How do I put a copy of linux onto my portable HDD + then how do I boot from the linux?

Any help for a not too clever noob linux wannabe would be greatly appreciated.



P.S - I have searched through the forum as best I can but could not find the answer I am looking for.
Old 11-12-2005, 10:05 AM   #2
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if you want to boot from a portable hdd that is possible. IF (!!) your computer supports that! I don't know if you are familiar with terms like motherboard and BIOS, but if you are, here you go:

first off you must hope that your motherboard can:
1) read and use a USB drive during the BIOS startup (you know, at the beginning :P )
2) boot from it

now, my motherboard (ASUS p4p800vm) can do both and he is quite old already (2 years) so if your comp is younger than that chances are that you can boot from external USB hdd. I do not have firewire, so I do not know how that is handled...

ok, on to the next step. I know that Mandriva has some kind of distribution available that you can just download and copy on your portable hdd and it will boot from it automatically and all that stuff, but since I have no portable HDD I never tested it. I only remember seeing it on their (old) site somewhere a long time ago, so if you want more information you should ask about it in the mandriva forum here on

note: be sure to tell your BIOS to try and boot from the external harddrive before trying the internal harddrive or you will never get the chance to boot from your external hdd. I have to plug in my drive (it is a 256 MB memory stick, a complete live distro doesnt fit on it :P , at least not a large one) before I start up the computer or the BIOS will not know it exists and will not display it as a boot option. remember to restore your settings after you plug out the external hdd because your settings can be a little messed up.

ok, good luck with you linux live distro!


ps; if it doesnt work you can always try to boot knoppix: get your copy from (burn the image to cd if you downloaded it) and boot up from the cd! at the prompt where you are asked to press enter remember to type:

knoppix wheemlouse if you have a wheelmouse
knoppix toram if you have 1GB or more of ram
knoppix toram wheelmouse if you have both

if the toram option gives you problems, reset the computer and leave it out. (I had that once on a pc of a friend).

knoppix should give you a reasonable idea of what linux is like.
Old 11-14-2005, 01:38 PM   #3
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Indeed, many computers can boot from USB or FireWire. Provided that you're using the "USB 2.0" protocol, you can indeed boot your system and run your system entirely from a removable device. And that is, in fact, what some network administrators do. Upgrading the machine is simply a matter of swapping from one drive to another: "hot swapping" is specifically supported, and the communications speeds on the bus are quite comparable to that of an on-board disk.


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