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Old 02-17-2009, 07:08 AM   #1
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Registered: Feb 2009
Location: Nashua, NH
Distribution: considering Ubuntu
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very very new

I've been considering installing linux for a long time. Now I have some time and ready to jump in.
I do not have a spare second system; however, I NOW do have a spare external USB 2.0 Iomega drive. BUT it is FAT and not NTFS. It is an 80 GB drive with 76.6 free. Nothing on it. I used to use it for a back-up drive for all of my data and music.
Now, I have a 160 GB (139 useable) FreeAgent external USB 2.0 NTFS drive as my data and image back-up that which holds all of my files, music and an Acronis True Image - image back up of my Windows XP Pro.
Can I install Ubuntu onto this external Iomega FAT USB 2.0 80 GB drive? (I decided to jump in with this most popular version, after reading Distro Watch as suggested by a colleague (Linux guru). The colleague is not local, he is in Austin, TX and I am in Nashua, NH. So, it is not like I have day-to-day contact at the office with him, and I work from home.
No7Spam-General 'at'

P.S. This morning, now that the 4 year old IOmega FAT drive is empty, I converted it to NTFS.

Last edited by jaydpiii; 02-17-2009 at 08:00 AM. Reason: Added additional info
Old 02-17-2009, 07:37 AM   #2
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Depends on a few things, but I'd say the answer is 'probably'. Ubuntu shouldn't have any problem booting from USB, but your motherboard will have to be able to boot from a USB drive and the drive will have to be bootable (some memory sticks/drives have slightly weird configurations that makes them non-bootable. I'm looking at you, Sony).

There's really only one way to find out...


Last edited by ilikejam; 02-17-2009 at 07:38 AM.
Old 02-17-2009, 08:20 AM   #3
Registered: Jan 2009
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Linux is installed on it's own partition, and not on a FAT filesystem or NTFS. So, the answer to your question is: YES, YOU CAN!

Back up your data from the internal hard-disk just in case you goof up. Then boot Ubuntu's live CD, and start installing. One of the steps in the installation will be the partitioning step - there you will need to delete the FAT partition on the USB drive and create the Linux partition (of type ext3) and install on it. Remember also that Linux needs a SWAP partition as well (a small partition big enough to swap your RAM in to and out from - so make it just twice the size of your RAM).
Old 02-17-2009, 08:22 AM   #4
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very very new - continued

P.S.> I converted the 4 year old Iomega USB to NTFS thinking hat would be more efficient.

However, I read: The installer cannot boot from files on an NTFS file system.

Should I stick with a CD run of Ubuntu once I burn the iso image to a CD?
Old 02-17-2009, 08:50 AM   #5
Registered: Feb 2005
Location: London, UK
Distribution: Gentoo
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You need to boot from the Ubuntu CD/DVD.

Then run the ubuntu installer program from the CD/DVD. Check that it recognize the correct IOMega drive you want to install to. It will probably suggest a default partitioning scheme for you, so you might as well just accept that.

Linux has its own file system, so it doesn't matter what you format it to before you start. The ubuntu installer will re-format it to the default Linux file system (called ext3). You will be able to access NTFS and FAT partitions on your machine, but the main Linux partition (root partition) should be ext3.

You might want to backup your user files from your Windows partitions before you start in case you mess up (e.g. if you choose the wrong partition during installation).


Last edited by monsm; 02-17-2009 at 08:52 AM.


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