Removable 160G HD
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Thread: Removable 160G HD

  1. #1
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    Removable 160G HD

    I have just bought a 160G USB HD, and was going to attempt to install linux on it, so when I plugged it in the computer before startup i could boot off of it so my parents could still use windows, but I cannot get the choice to partition it or even to reformat it to put on linux.
    I tried partition logic first to partition it, and it didn't even show the drive. (im assuming that it can't read it because it doesn't have USB drivers)
    Then I just tried using an install CD for linux to install it, but it didn't give me the choice to install it on the removable HD. I have tried everything I can think of, and apparently, I didn't think of everything, unless this is not possible, but I have seen it been done on USB flash, so why not on an HD..i don't know, mabie i'm wrong.
    The drive works fine for storage in every OS I've booted up in (all the linux CD distros i downloaded within the last few days, haha; and windows), I just can't get it to work as a bootable drive. I really would like to have multiple partitions when I put linux on if thats possible. Any help is appreciated!

    edit:
    I just realised that it might be possible to treat it like a Flash drive and put on puppy linux or something, but with 160G, I would want a more 'full' linux (with more apps), like SuSE.

  2. #2
    Have you setup the Bios so that it boots from USB hard drive?

    maybe format it in windows as fat32 or something and then try again..

    Maybe disconnect the internal hard drive on the computer only leaving the USB hard drive and see if that works..

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cemetric's Avatar
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    It's not as straightforward as you think ... Allthough many people succeeded in this ...

    Best way is to google it because there are many sites about this topic ...

    Click here and pick the fruits

    There is a workaround for the boot problem, you install the Linux to the USB drive (this seems to work without problems most of the time), afterwards you're linux won't boot so the workaround is to boot from CD again and use the rescue feature and adapt the grub or lilo or whatever with other settings.

    See this link for info about that ... It worked for this person with Suse 10 ..

    Hope this helps somewhat.

    .C.
    Back when I was a boy, we carved our own IC's out of wood.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    I agree with Fronties~ on this one.

    As you can use it for storage, your system is obviously detecting it, and has the drivers for it.

    You need to go into Set Up and edit your BIOS settings. Make sure that the drive is attached when you do this and set it to boot before the "C" drive.

    With some BIOSes you may not be able to do this as it will offer you the main hard drive, floppy, CD and an option to "search for other bootable media". Obviously this last option will find the "C" drive before your removable USB drive

    To get around this, you need to set the system up to multiple boot from the "C" drive, but install your Linux distros onto the removable drive. Then, when you boot, Grub or whatever will pop up and ask you which OS you want to use, and take you to the appropriate partition.

    You will have to explain this process to your parents, but it isn't rocket science....................my wife has no problem with multiple booting machines, and she is just an average user apart from "office" and other applications.

    I suspect that your problem at the moment is that it runs through the BIOS then goes to the "C" drive and finds Windows lurking there

    You need a boot loader that handles multiple OSes
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  5. #5
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    thanks guys..but I didn't even get to that step yet. I couldn't even get linux installed on the drive (mabie i should try again), but when I tried to re-partition the drive last time, it wouldn't even come up as available to partition (only my C drive came up). I'm probably doing something wrong, but I don't know what. My BIOS gives me the choice to boot from 'removable device'. I am assuming that is what I need to do after I get linux on the drive.

    I don't really want to have to do the multiple boot startup; you said I would only have to if the BIOS only has the search feature, as I am thinking 'removable device' is different, but i may be wrong. Thanks again for your help though!


    Update: I messed around with it on Knoppix and i got it to partition. I was talking to my friend and he said it was good to have a linux swap partition, so I made one that was 1G. The other partitions are a 15G for linux and the rest is a fat32 for storage. I tried to mount the drives and I got errors for all but the 15G linux drive.

    sda:
    Could not mount device.
    The reported error was:
    mount: I could not determine the filesystem type, and none was specified
    sda3:
    Could not mount device.
    The reported error was:
    mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/sda3,
    missing codepage or other error
    In some cases useful info is found in syslog - try
    dmesg | tail or so
    I used qtparted to partition. Now when I go back in qtparted, It shows two partitions (the linux 15G and the 1G linux swap), but the last 133G comes up as unknown. I try to repartition it as fat32 and after the partitioning is done, it still comes up as unknown.

  6. #6
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    Can someone please help me with this? I would let ithe thread go, but 133G of my drive isn't working, and I can't just leave it how it is. I have tried doing this a lot of times now, and I still can't get it to work. I tried formatting the last partition in windows, but I could only partition it in NTFS and that would redo the whole drive to NTFS.

  7. #7
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    You can't just set up linux on the usb HDD and then set the mbr to load that partition. The master boot record would be on the c drive and it would tell the computer to divert to the partition on the usb hard drive. And you say "like SuSE" but what distros do you have and which would you prefer to use?

    If you tell me what distro and version, and what bios and version you have I'll try to help you.
    When death sleeps it dreams of you...

  8. #8
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    i will be setting up SuSE on the drive. I just downloaded it like two weeks ago.
    I have a Dell, so this is the BIOS
    http://support.dell.com/support/down...l=en&cs=&s=gen
    I will check what it is later today when i have time, sorry.

    You can't just set up linux on the usb HDD and then set the mbr to load that partition.
    Are you saying 'boot from removable device' won't work?

  9. #9
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    Here are step by step instructions I found on another forum:
    http://forums.devarticles.com/showpo...79&postcount=4
    Let me start by saying that not only is it possible to install and run linux from an external USB drive, I am doing it right now. To date I have successfully installed Suse, Fedora and Ubuntu on an external drive, as well as having Frugalware and PCLinuxOS on my internal HDD, all available through boot options in GRUB.

    You would be right in assuming that if your BIOS has USB boot support, there shouldnt be a problem at all. The thing with Linux is that most distributions don't have USB support loaded into the kernel during the boot phase, so you will generally come across such errors as the root drive not being found, etc etc etc.

    You can easily overcome this by creating an INITRD Ramdisk that will force the kernel to preload USB support during boot.

    In the case of suse, you do this by:

    1. Install Suse to the USB device (/sda, or sdb etc) - make sure you select to have the grub bootloader installed on the USB drive too, and not the Master drive.
    2. Boot from the CD into Rescue mode
    3. Issue the following commands:

    'mkdir /mnt/sysimage'
    'mount /dev/sdaX /mnt/sysimage'
    'chroot /mnt/sysimage'
    NOTE: sdaX refers to the partition u installed Suse on and the mapping of the USB drive (could be /sdb or similar too).

    4. Use VI to edit the following file - /etc/sysconfig/kernel'
    5. Add the following into the quotes at the line that has: INITRD_MODULES=" "
    ehci-hcd
    ohci-hcd
    uhci-hcd
    sd_mod
    usb-storage


    THIS LINE SHOULD NOW LOOK LIKE THIS:

    INITRD_MODULES="reiserfs ehci-hcd ohci-hcd uhci-hcd usb-storage sd_mod"

    6. Issue the following commands:

    'mount -tproc none /proc'
    'mkinitrd'

    7. Add the kernel and initrd image to the boot grub loader on the master boot record (NOTE: for the initrd line, just add initrd (hd1,6)/boot/initrd - where hd1,6 is relevant to your partition setup)

    A typical default Suse 9.2 install grub line for this setup would look like below (be sure to substitute according to your configuration):

    title Suse 9.2 (USB)
    kernel (hd1,1)/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.8-24-smp ro root=/dev/sda2
    initrd (hd1,1)/boot/initrd

    8. REBOOT!!!

    The steps for other distros are a bit different, but the purpose of the exercise is the same. If u need help with another distro, I can provide individual steps for that too.
    Try this and let me know if you get it.
    When death sleeps it dreams of you...

  10. #10
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    thanks, but I am still trying to correctly format the drive. I can't get linux to partition the fat32 on the drive. I have the swap partition and the linux partition (i forget what its called) working, but When i reformat the whole thing with those settings, the fat32 drive comes up as unknown.

    I will be needing that info you gave me after I get this done, so thanks again!

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