Download your favorite Linux distribution at LQ ISO.
Go Back > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!


  Search this Thread
Old 05-16-2009, 04:59 AM   #1
Registered: Nov 2006
Posts: 58

Rep: Reputation: 15
setting up USB operating systems under Grub

I have a laptop running Xubuntu linux in dual boot with win XP from the Grub bootloader. I also have a USB flash drive with a live install of Kubuntu on it and a USB hard drive with an old version of win XP and also ubuntu on it. Is is possible to get grub to detect the operating systems on these USB devices so that i can boot them?

Any help would be much apreciated.

Old 05-16-2009, 02:05 PM   #2
Registered: Dec 2008
Distribution: LFS
Posts: 95

Rep: Reputation: 21
It depends on your BIOS. If BIOS can boot from usb, Grub can afaik as well.
Old 05-16-2009, 02:14 PM   #3
Registered: Jun 2005
Location: Kentucky
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 794

Rep: Reputation: 56
I dont' think Grub will auto-detect operating systems though, you should be able to just boot from USB with your BIOS like shpenat mentioned, but since Grub rebuilds itself whenever you make changes to it, I don't believe it will modify itself on the fly to give you a menu option for an OS that wasn't there the last time you modified the Grub config.
Old 05-16-2009, 04:54 PM   #4
Larry Webb
LQ Veteran
Registered: Jul 2006
Location: Crystal Beach, Texas
Distribution: Suse for mail +
Posts: 5,100
Blog Entries: 7

Rep: Reputation: 229Reputation: 229Reputation: 229
The simple way is to have usb boot first in bios and edit your grub menu.lst on usb to boot your linux boot on hda or sda. That way when usb is disconnected your hda should still boot okay.
Old 05-19-2009, 06:47 PM   #5
Registered: Nov 2006
Posts: 58

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thanks for the replies. Have discovered that my laptop doesnt seem to auto detect USB drives at boot. I have another computer that does and you are right Grub automatically sets up the operating systems that exist on these USB devices. There is an option in the laptop bios to detect removeable devices and i have enabled that as first boot proirity but still wont detect the USB devices. Does this imply that i need to upgrade the bios? If this is the case is there an easy way to do this. The laptop is asus and i have looked on the Asus support website but my bios version seems to be up to date. Is there anything else that i should set in the bios settings that i have overlooked in order to enable USB detection at boot?

Your help is much appreciated.

Old 05-19-2009, 06:55 PM   #6
LQ Guru
Registered: Jan 2009
Location: Gordonsville-AKA Mayberry-Virginia
Distribution: PocketWriter/MinimalX
Posts: 5,087

Rep: Reputation: 338Reputation: 338Reputation: 338Reputation: 338
You can try using Plop Bootmanager to boot the USB-does the laptop have a floppy or cd drive?
Old 05-19-2009, 07:25 PM   #7
Senior Member
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Distribution: Any free distro.
Posts: 3,398
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 112Reputation: 112
In some Bios the USB device can only be booted with "Legacy USB support" enabled.

My experience on Grub booting from a USB device is as follow:-

(1) Grub cannot detect a USB device as it has no driver for it.

(2) It the Bios that does the trick by forcing a USB device as the first bootable disk. In such a case Grub sees it as the first disk (hd0)

(3) In the above case (2) all other USB devices are not detected by Grub. This means Grub can only boot "one" USB device and it must be arranged by the Bios as the first boot disk.

(4) Once booted Grub has access to a Linux kernel and all USB devices can be seen.

Hope the above is clear. These are only my obervation and after many trials and tests.

If you don't believe me get a card reader and insert a Compact flash, a memory stick and a SD card in it. Grub only see the first one detected. Remove the first one and Grub sees the second one. Grub can boot all of them but only one device at a time because that is how the Bios arranaged it.

To answer the OP with several USB devices the answer is to unplug them all except the one to be booted. That is the only way.


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Installing GRUB with many operating systems. JoseCuervo Linux - Newbie 7 09-07-2008 10:19 AM
GRUB showing 6 operating systems Controlpanel Linux - Newbie 2 09-21-2007 11:33 AM
order of operating systems in GRUB bootlaoder marvelade Linux - General 2 04-06-2007 02:07 PM
How to boot dual operating systems from grub shahz Linux - Server 5 09-19-2006 02:42 PM
GRUB and Multiple operating systems jughead Linux - Software 2 11-21-2005 03:36 PM > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:11 PM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration