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Old 09-28-2004, 01:12 AM   #1
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Installing and booting Linux on an external HD...can it be done and how?

I have a Dell Inspiron 5000e w/ 700MHz processor, 10G internal HD and 384Mb of memory. I am looking to purchase an external HD (either USB case and internal HD or stand alone external HD) for USB 1.1 (assuming I'll buy it for 2.0 that is backwords compatible) and install Linux.

I haven't decided on which version of Linux yet, nor which Hard drive.

My questions are the following:

1) Can I install Linux on an external usb hard drive and boot directly from the external HD?

2) Will this jeopardize the Win 2000 Pro system I have running currently on the machine?

3) Do I have to look for a particular external HD or particular feature on the external HD to insure that Linux can boot from the HD?

4) I would like to split the external HD and run Linux off of it and use the other partition for storage space to be used with the Win 2000 Pro OS. Is this possible?

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Old 09-28-2004, 08:20 AM   #2
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1, uncertain but I a think it would work
2, no
3, uncertain maybe the bios has to support it?

4. Yes, just do exactly as you said. you could always use samba to use the linux partition as storage also..

Not much help here, but hopefully someone else can fill in the blanks, or correct me
Old 09-28-2004, 08:21 AM   #3
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saa115; loaded ?. ok that 10gb is just adequate for W,s; advice: ext 40gb 4 linux,
it needs space for working, including 2x ram
4 swapspace. as long as hd is compatible with linux installing linux no problem. with that much space post install of either os advice try to keep separate & avoid problems with incompatible issues between os`es. my install W on short space rest is linux. no problems. leave lptp install with w alone, just use external hd (40gb) 4 rest & all of ur needs
Old 09-28-2004, 08:46 AM   #4
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About a week ago I installed Slackware 10.0 on a 40 GB 2.5 inch while it was in my computer. I then put the hard drive into an external enclosure and tried to boot it up and run it via usb. No beans. It gets to a certain point and *BLAM* egg all over your face. Well not that bad but not great. The install was working prior to the HD swap; so I'm not sure if I didn't configure it right or you really can't run from an external USB enclosure. I know for a fact that you can't run Windows XP via USB (wouldn't want to be able to use the OS on more than one computer now would we? No no we wouldn't).

Try it out anyway. Post the results. It's always a reason to stay up late.
Old 09-28-2004, 09:03 AM   #5
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1. Yes, if the motherboard supports booting from USB. However, there is a caveat

2. No.

3. No.

4. Shouldn't be a problem.

Now comes the caveat part. Unless the USB and SCSI modules are compiled into the kernel or part of the initial RAM disk the kernel will fail while trying to mount the root partition.
Old 09-28-2004, 04:10 PM   #6
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giddyupman; pay heed to michaelk he,s on Q. advice please try stop comparing L with W , not the same
operate quite differently. acquire more
knowledge about linux at any level it will
pay off in long run. yes i,will acknowledge its a pain to stop & read anything (need to get it going NOW) maybe greater but rewards R at end of last page.
Old 09-28-2004, 04:25 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the input, gang. I have a copy of Mandrake 10.0 and will plan to install this once I pick up an external hard drive. I will post as I go along...any further enlightening comments are most assuredly welcome!
Old 09-30-2004, 04:55 AM   #8
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hello all
is anyone out there doing this? my external hard drive seems to be unsupported in linux. what drive enclosures are working well with linux?
Old 09-30-2004, 06:12 PM   #9
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rogerdean; this may help even in future. hardware compatibility list search for all device u need.
there are 9 sections covering howto on entire system just open(expand) for complete detailed information on howto anything.


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