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GustavTheMushroom 09-03-2007 09:18 AM

Multiple bootable (live) distros on one portable hdd?
I want to be able to use multiple linux distros from one portable hdd (not all at once). But they're live distros. Just download, burn onto CD and boot from CD.

I want to be able to use these from my portable HDD but how can I do that?

the main 3 i want to use are PLAC, HELIX and knoppix-std.

Is there a program that does something similar to daemon tools but but bootable?

Hope I've been clear enough with my question.

pixellany 09-03-2007 09:35 AM

You can certainly do this. The issue will be how to boot into each OS on the portable drive. Options include:
  1. Install bootloader (eg GRUB) on the MBR of the portable, and then set the BIOS to boot from the portable.
  2. Install bootloader on a floppy.
  3. Install bootloader on the internal drive. This requires setting up another partition for the GRUB files---or you can let them be on the portable, but then it would have to be hooked up to boot anything.
I recommend the floppy approach.

GustavTheMushroom 09-03-2007 09:39 AM

I think my main issue is:
How do i get the live cd's on the hd? And so that they are bootable?

Im not sure, but arent they filesystem dependant? So for instance, they wont work properly on an NTFS of FAT32 filesystem?

My approach was to make the partitions and then just copy the content of the iso's onto the HD. would/should that work?

pixellany 09-03-2007 09:45 AM

For any of the liveCD distros, there is an installer. boot up from the LiveCD and then run the installer. The installer will handle most partitioning tasks.

Linux uses filesystems such as EXT2, EXT3, Reiser, and others. This also will be handled by the installer for each distro.


My approach was to make the partitions and then just copy the content of the iso's onto the HD. would/should that work? .iso file is an "image" of the contents of a CD. It is used to make a CD, which is then booted.

GustavTheMushroom 09-03-2007 09:48 AM

Yes, but im not using a classic LiveCD im using distro's such as PLAC (Portable Linux Auditing CD) which are specifically designed to be burnt onto cds. Distros like these dont have installers.

pixellany 09-03-2007 09:57 AM

You just went past the limits of my feeble brain.

If the distro authors did not provide a way to install to hard disk, then an obvious question might be Why? And also, why do you need that particular distro on a hard disk?

Once you have the CD, then--in principle--it is possible to manually copy things to the harddrive. I've never done this and can't offer any useful advice..

Perhaps tell us your end goal, and we'll have an easier way to get there.

GustavTheMushroom 09-03-2007 10:02 AM

Sorry, My english can be confusing at times. My Mistake.

I want to be able to boot at least 3 different "live" linux distributions: PLAC, HELIX and knoppix-std (looking to see whether the std version of knoppix can be installed).

The idea is that I can carry around diagnostic tools etc on my hd instead of having to carry around 5 diff cds etc.

stress_junkie 09-03-2007 10:03 AM

This URL might be interesting to you.

You can always put the hard disk into an enclosure designed to make internal hard drives into external USB hard drives. I use those all the time.

GustavTheMushroom 09-03-2007 10:06 AM

The hd i want the distro's on is portable. But thanks for the link!

Its an IBM 18GB. Used to be a laptop HD but now its got a case with a USB to IDE interface.

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