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Old 09-16-2010, 12:40 PM   #1
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Install linux on external HDD (WD myPassport)?

Can I install linux on external HDD (WD myPassport) 300GB? I want to install either Ultimate or lucid lynx Ubuntu, Redhat, openSuse, Slackware or KNOPPIX.

Would it be the 32 bit download if even possible?

Would the external get to hot?

Thanks in advance!
Old 09-16-2010, 12:51 PM   #2
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Double post.
Old 09-16-2010, 12:53 PM   #3
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I think you should be able to install all of these on separate partitions on your USB drive if you want! (If I'm wrong, someone will correct me ) Note that the boot loader will be installed on the USB drive so that if you try to operate your system with it disconnected, it'll hang as the boot file on the system's internal disk's mbr will be pointing to the usb drive.

32bit, 64 bit? Depends on your processor, not the disk.

"Will it get hot?" Does it get hot at present? There shouldn't be any noticeable difference, they usually keep spinning once they're plugged in.

Play Bonny!
Old 09-16-2010, 01:50 PM   #4
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It is possible, however AFAIK most systems cannot boot from USB hard disks, that depends on your BIOS. If its not supported you can still do it, but you'd need to use a boot disk.
Old 09-16-2010, 02:11 PM   #5
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@msarro: many laptops should be able to bo0t from a usb harddisk. My laptop Compaq 6910p offers in the boot menu (accessed by pressing F9) among other options 'USB Hard Disk'.

This said: I try to install Linux (Ubuntu Lucid) on a 500 GB external harddisk (brand: LaCie rikiki); no success. I start with a Ubuntu Lucid Live CD and end up with an error message 'error: out of disk' or 'error: hd0,1 out of disk', followed by 'grub rescue>' prompt. I tried to install with the internal harddisk in place and I tried with the internal harddisk physically removed. The external harddisk seems ok as I can mount it on another computer running Ubuntu Lucid; installed files are there.

Can anybody recommend a tutorial?
Or how I can pinpoint the problem?

Any suggestion is appreciated.


Problem solved!
- installed Ubuntu from Live CD to the 500 GB USB harddisk
- installed GRUB on a USB memory stick, and include linux kernel and initrd.img
- boot from USB memory stick to GRUB prompt, then manually loaded kernel with parameter root=<USB harddisk> and initrd.img

Later I simplified the process by using a grub menu, but the concept remains.

Last edited by Al_; 11-14-2010 at 03:44 PM. Reason: Problem solved


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